Music

Canadian band SymphRONica to hook up with top Scots for Tron jazz gig in Glasgow

By Rob Adams at

Canadian pianist Ron Davis brings his SymphRONica octet to the Tron Theatre direct from the Edinburgh Fringe on Sunday 19 August as part of the Tron’s monthly series of afternoon jazz concerts.

Toronto-based Davis formed SymphRONica in 2003, initially using diverse line-ups including jazz trio and full symphony orchestra, before settling on the current octet, which includes one of Canada’s leading guitarists, Kevin Barrett and violinist Aline Homzy, whom Davis rates as one the best jazz violinists anywhere.

Jazz and SymphRONica

Diverse: Ron Davis has used a number of different line-ups

“I chose an octet comprising a string quartet with an electro-acoustic jazz quartet – piano, guitar, bass and drums – because I wanted to give all the players an input, and this configuration allows that,” he says.

“I also liked the idea that, as an octet, we could include different styles of music and switch from a jazz standard or something based on I Got Rhythm to a folk tune more naturally than with an orchestra and yet still have a certain richness of sound.”

Davis has the distinction of having learned to play the piano with a teacher who was taught by both the Canadian jazz giant Oscar Peterson and the brother in law of one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century, George Gershwin.

Davis has the distinction of having learned to play the piano with a teacher who was taught by both the Canadian jazz giant Oscar Peterson and the brother in law of one of the greatest composers of the twentieth century, George Gershwin

“David Saperton was his name and he could trace his lineage, in terms of piano tutors, all the way back to Beethoven,” says Davis.

“So I suppose that means I can now do the same but I’m just as likely to be impressed or moved by rock, pop or folk music as the classics and all of these elements find their way into SymphRONica in different ways, especially folk music from various parts of the world.”

Jazz and SymphRONica

Tutor: Davis shares a link with Canadian jazz giant Oscar Peterson

For the band’s latest visit – they have appeared at the Fringe three times now – Davis brought in the Scottish National Jazz Orchestra’s drummer, Alyn Cosker and BBC Radio Scotland presenter Seonaid Aitken, who plays violin with the hot club styled Rose Room, winners of the Best Band title at this year’s Scottish Jazz Awards.

“Generally we travel with a core of Kevin, Aline and myself and pick up musicians locally, and we’ve been lucky to get players with the vision to make the music happen,” says Davis.

“Generally we travel with a core of Kevin, Aline and myself and pick up musicians locally, and we’ve been lucky to get players with the vision to make the music happen”

Ron Davis

“Seonaid is playing mostly viola but she also sings very well, so that gives us another dimension, and Alyn is just a master.

“It’s a privilege to have him working with us because he knows instinctively exactly what to play and make us sound the way we want to sound, if not better.”

* For ticket information see here