A Canadian jazz artist’s reconnection to his family history and Poland

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This story was featured in: Episode 3 and Episode 2

Ron Davis

is a renowned Canadia Jazz musician. classically trained jazz pianist and composer based in Ron DavisToronto, Canada. After studies at the Royal Conservatory of Music, Davis went on to study under Darwyn Aitken. He is known for his wide-ranging musical interests, and has published nine recordings under his name. The most recent one, Symphronica (2013; Acronym/Universal Music), is a fusion of jazz and classical music performed with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra under conductor John Morris Russell. Interestingly, Ron is also a former French professor and lawyer. Ron is married to Italian-Canadian jazz-pop singer-songwriter Daniela Nardi and they often perform together.

“ONE OF THE GREAT MINDS IN JAZZ.” – Jazz.FM
“ONE OF CANADA’S A-LIST PIANISTS!” – CFRB
“HE VERY WELL MAY BE THE MOST GIFTED PIANIST IN CANADA.” – rivetingriffs
“ONE OF CANADA’S HOTTEST ACTS IN BOTH BOP AND POP CIRCLES!” – CNET

In 2010 Ron Davis released his 7th album “My Mother’s Father’s Song” which contains three arrangements of the famous Polish pre-war song “Bal na Gnojnej” (also called “Bal u Grubego Jośka”).

“Digging deep into a family’s history and heritage can reveal a goldmine of inspirational nuggets.” – Alain Londes, allaboutjazz.com

The magical story of the song and how Ron discovered its origin and its conection to his life is presented in Episodes 2 and 3 of our POLcast.
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This amazing story inspired CBC’s Barb Dickie to create a show in the CBC radio series “Tapestry”, about Ron Davis and his album. Barb Dickie asked me to provide the background for the show – to talk about pre-war Warsaw and the importance of the sort of music of which “Bal na Gnojnej” is an example.  And this is how I found myself in the same story and CBC show with Ron Davis, but we never met then. I got the album “My Mother’s Father’s Song” and loved it. When Tomek and I started working on POLcast, I knew Ron Davis had to be part of it… Listen to Barb Dickie’s CBC show:

The classical rendition of the song by legendary Warsaw folklore singer Stanislaw Grzesiuk:

Ron’s “Bal na Gnojnej”:

The three arrangements of the song on Ron Davis’s album

Piano Lament:

Bal u Grubego Joska:

Bass Lament:

Some archival photographs of Gnojna Street before the war – everything was destroyed by the Nazis, nothing was left:

Żelazna Brama Square, Gnojna (Rynkowa) Street and Gościnny Dom Market...

Żelazna Brama Square, Gnojna (Rynkowa) Street and Gościnny Dom Market…

1940 - Gnojna Street, the Ladowski tea house, formerly "At Fat Joe's" restaurant

1940 – Gnojna Street, the Ladowski tea house, formerly “At Fat Joe’s” restaurant

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Poleć:

O Autorze:

POLcast is an English language podcast, a colourful audio magazine delivered directly to your smartphone, computer or tablet. POLcast is created for everybody interested in Poland. If you have a Polish customer, colleague, girlfriend or grandmother - you will hear something helping you to enrich these relations. Each episode brings you interesting interviews, historical facts, trivia and more.

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