Really Records RR 18001 (rondavismusic.com)
A unique fusion of a jazz quartet and a string quartet, Ron Davis’ SymphRONica is truly an ensemble like no other. Energetic, virtuosic, charming, worldly – the music on this album has flare and style. Although most compositions have a predominantly jazz feel, it is the crossover of styles that makes this music excitingly unpredictable and fresh. The elements of classical, jazz, Brazilian, Hungarian, Italian, klezmer, Latin and Québecois, meet and part throughout the album in an easygoing fashion, but it is the strong ensemble that makes it all come together.
Composer and pianist Ron Davis is the brain and the driving force behind this project and one can feel his carefully crafted influence in each tune. UpfRONt is a collection of six original compositions of Ron Davis alongside tunes by Mike Downes (a double bass player and a producer of this album), Louis Simão, Paolo Conte, Jack Pepper, Samuel Lerner and Miles Davis. A lovely Drew Bourée opens the album in a simple, understated way, not giving away the virtuosity and drive of WhirlyCurl that comes soon after or surprise vocals by Daniela Nardi in the arrangement of Conte’s Nina. My favourite numbers on this album, Sashagraha and Chance, both have cool, catchy tunes and are fine examples of the fusion of styles.
SymphRONica is made up of stellar players but violinist Aline Homzy is especially impressive in her inventive solo improvisations. Kudos to Ron Davis for continuing to surprise us and to SymphRONica for a great performance.