"Vivid emotional colour...serious musical ability is juxtaposed with wit."

Music review: SymphRONica, La Belle Angele, Edinburgh
Rob Adams
Folk & Jazz critic
The Herald (Scotland)

Four stars

SIXTY-plus years on from the first jazz-with-strings experiments, jazz and classical elements can still make an uneasy blend. Scotland’s own New Focus is one group that has successfully brought the two together and the Canadian pianist Ron Davis’ SymphRONica is another.

Davis’ ideas have some resemblance to another outfit that merges differing genres, Portland’s Pink Martini, not least in the way Latin American rhythms are given vivid emotional colour by the string arrangements but also in the light, almost throwaway manner that serious musical ability is juxtaposed with wit.

There may have been an element of putting the show together as we go here – only two of the other seven players onstage actually flew over with Davis – but the music has such a strong personality, and the musicians responded so surely to the aide memoirs from guitarist and musical director Kevin Barrett, that the results were entirely convincing.

The only drawback was that Davis is probably much more used to working with an acoustic piano. Even on an electric keyboard borrowed from the very promising and instrumentally accomplished young opening band, Manchester’s Artephis, however, Davis confirmed his chops.

His own compositions show a liking for characterful basslines, now taking big menacing steps, now waddling contentedly as the string quartet variously converses animatedly, conspires, sighs and improvises, and his arrangements and contrafacts lack nothing in imagination, drama and surprise. Rhythma-Ron, based on I Got Rhythm, featured the strings in brilliant duo and trio conflagrations and just to confirm Davis’ ear for detail and sense of fun, the Muppets theme was delivered as immaculately as the determinedly swinging The Way You Look Tonight.


SymphRONica Returns for 12 Shows at the World's Largest Arts Fest - Edinburgh Festival Fringe!

Aug 14 – 19, 21 – 26,
5pm – 6pm

Edinburgh Festival Fringe – Scottish Arts Club
24 Rutland Square, Edinburgh EH1 2BW, United Kingdom

Info and Tickets: Edinburgh Festival Fringe website: here

“Four Stars… Davis’ ideas have some resemblance to Pink Martini… serious musical ability is juxtaposed with wit.” – The Herald, Scotland (July 2017)

BBC Radio 3 regular Ron Davis’ SymphRONica has topped the charts, won international praise for their innovative sound, played the Pan Am Games and Trafalgar Square, and wowed Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2016. This year SymphRONica is back for 12 more shows at the historic Scottish Arts Club. Lucky you!


TAPPERFEST - MUSIC HALL INITIATIVE

Friday August 4
7:30pm

Clarke Hall – Port Credit

The “Music Hall Initiative” at Clarke Hall in Port Credit.

A new platform for professional collaborations between local musicians and local tap dance artists in the old ‘Music Hall’ Style. Different types of musical bands (jazz, latin, classical, etc…). Creating the fusion of tap dance with diverse musical genres. Tap Dance is the glue that can make a regular band performance turn into a fusion of the arts! People LOVE tap dance, and they LOVE live music, and Port Credit is already an ‘arts hub’… so this will add to an already eclectic culture that is always looking for more entertainment options in the area.

Musicians – The Ron Davis Trio:
• Ron Davis (keyboard and director)
• Louis Simaao (bass)
• Larry Crowe (drums)

Tap Dance Artists:
• Kim Chalovich
• Dianne Montgomery
• Travis Knights
• Johnathan Morin
• Andrew Prashad
• David Cox
• Ryan Foley
• Aaron Tolson