Thursday, February 4th, 2016

TORONTO – The highly acclaimed pianist/bandleader/composer and Torontonian RON DAVIS is set to launch his new collection of one-of-a-kind original music with POCKET SYMPHRONICA. The innovative, eclectic album is being released on the brand new label, Really Records, and the concert – which includes exceptional musicians Aline Homzy, Kevin Barrett, Mike Downes and Roger Travassos – takes place on Thursday, February 4th at 7:30 pm at Toronto’s Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street West.

Ron Davis literally does it all when it comes to musical genres. Like his beloved multicultural home Toronto, his music is beautifully diverse, and covers an extensive musical range – from Lady Gaga to Glenn Gould – and a rich range of collaborating artists, from rock guitarist Jason Nett and Japanese drum group Nagata Shachu to Argentinian dance sensation The Lombard Twins.

Following on the heels of Davis’ great success with his brainchild, the jazz-symphony fusion album Symphronica – a movement that combines jazz, world, classical, and pretty much anything stimulating and fascinating – fans can now enjoy the pocket-sized, chamber version with POCKET SYMPHRONICA. Recorded in 2015 at Imagine Sound Studios in Toronto, Pocket Symphronica has already been honoured, with the City of Toronto choosing “Jeanamora” for its Music311 program celebrating Toronto music and musicians. It features Ron Davis on piano, as well as a driving bass solo by the incomparable Mike Downes and a stellar drum solo from Roger Travassos.

The more compact Symphronica has all of the same passion and innovation as the full orchestral format, but consists of Ron’s electric/acoustic jazz/pop quartet, plus an energetic string quartet, playing his own tunes. Davis incorporates an amazing mélange of sounds and rhythms in his works, while still managing to create a thoroughly cohesive album.

His massive skill in the use of strings is outstanding, especially in songs like D’Hora – almost a samba groove with melodic Middle Eastern lines. As Ron says, “I didn’t conceive of it as a hora dance, but unconsciously I stuck the word in the title. So it must be a hora. Except it isn’t a hora.” Or the song Presto, based on one of Beethoven’s string quartets, and appropriately titled, as the energetic, sprinting violins match Davis’ piano at breakneck speed. Or the intense violin-and-cello standoff on Fugue & Variations on Gaga and Poker Face, where Lady Gaga is baked right into the mix when the middle-section strings play only the notes G – A – G – A!

Davis is in fact very methodical with his creations and likes to “play” with the notes as in the Gaga tune. He does the same in Blues 54 (his token blues piece), which gets its name from the fact that the melody scales the keyboard playing every fifth note, and then similarly, playing every fourth note. His playfulness also turns up in Pentuptism, a nod to gospel music reddit best place to buy ambien overseas including Davis’ essential Hammond B3, it has five beats to a bar (“Pent“), plus it has that inherent optimism present in most music of that genre.

Davis can amp up the cool factor with the heavy groove and spine-tingling violins of Gruvmuv – which he premiered with DJ LRS, who scratched to it, in a co-presentation at the Glenn Gould Variations concert. Or the pop ballad Love Song, written by Jason Nett, and featuring a sexy electric guitar solo by Kevin Barrett. Davis also manages to smash it when it comes to the sweet, elegantly slow waltz Danza Daniela, inspired by his beautiful wife and musical collaborator Daniela Nardi. He really captures a kind of melancholic nature in that song and others, like the haunting lament Chassal Siddur Pesach – a breathtaking, achingly beautiful and rarely heard traditional Passover song that his father, who survived the Holocaust, brought over with him from his birth village in Romania. This tune also recalls a waltz tempo in parts, but the mournful cello and bass are heavy, almost as if the weight is too much to endure. Then it switches to a deep, syncopated drum line underpinning dulcet violin and poignant piano. It should be mentioned that the cello, by George Meanwell and Andrew Downing, remains remarkable throughout the entire album, as do the drums and percussion from Roger Travassos.

Quirky is a word often used to describe Davis’ work, and he certainly demonstrates it in the Jaggy Dancepiece. He says, “I was obsessed by this barnyard-like theme that my mind’s ear concocted,” but this is no Charlotte’s Web. It’s more like Oklahama gone awry, complete with rhythmic handclaps, a simplistic, child-like, dissonant chunky piano under meandering, tinkling, jazzy piano and sprightly strings. The tune evokes all kinds of barnyard imagery. Then there’s the unexpected, flouncy guitar solo from Kevin Barrett, where he whimsically quotes the child’s taunt, “nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.”

The eleven-track album was produced by Dennis Patterson, Ron Davis, Mike Downes, Roger Travassos and Kevin Barrett and utilizes brilliant talent of string musicians Jessica Deutsch (violin), Ben Plotnick (violin, viola), Aline Homzy (violin), Aleksander Gajic (violin) and Anna Atkinson (viola).

WHO: Ron Davis w/ Aline Homzy, Kevin Barrett, Mike Downes, Roger Travassos
WHAT: CD launch concert for Pocket Symphronica
WHERE: Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas St. West
WHEN: Thursday, February 4th, 2016
TICKETS: $20 Adv. / $25 Door
Twitter: @rondavismusic

This project is funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters. Ce projet est financé en partie par FACTOR, le gouvernement du Canada et les radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada.

For more information, photos, mp3s, advance CD copies, interviews, please contact:

Beverly Kreller SPEAK Music | o: 416.922.3620 c: 416-258-5683
Twitter: @SPEAKMusicPR Facebook: