Aaron Davis, composer, arranger, keyboardist

December 17, 2016

Swing Your Sleigh is a song I wrote with the idea that perhaps Santa had a troubled childhood and that his gift giving was a means of banishing his youthful melancholia, his good works an attempt to mend a broken world.

I just recorded this at Number Nine Studios for the charity CD called Christmas On Seaton Street, Vol.2. I and all of the great musicians on this CD performed for free and the proceeds go towards teen depression. The producer, George Koller, asked me to sing the lead vocals, which is a first for me. Hope you like it!



September 17, 2016

I’m excited about playing a short 45 minute solo piano set of some new-ish compositions at the Kensington Market Jazz Festival this Sunday Sept. 18 at 3:00 PM. Admission is free. I’ll be playing at Tom’s Place, a clothing store at 190 Baldwin St.. It’s a cool new festival, the brainchild of Molly Johnson. kensingtonjazzfest



July 1, 2016

The last year has been full of interesting new projects. I was asked to be a mentor to resident musicians at the Banff Centre For The Performing Arts in November 2015. It was a great pleasure meeting and working with a very diverse group of talented young writers and performers. We threw together a Leonard Cohen tribute in 4 days, with some of the more outside arrangements of Cohen’s work including 2 versions of “Hallelujah”. One was a speed metal, elbow smashing romp and the other a choral work with lots of clusters, rhythmic breathing and whispers.
     I wrote a few arrangements for the Art Of Time Ensemble: Joe Jackson’s “The Man Who Wrote Danny Boy”, sung by Bent Carver, the Pogues “Fairytale of New York” with Liam Titcomb and Jessica Mitchell singing. Also “Gavin’s Woodpile”, sung by Hawksley Workman.
    I was asked to write seven orchestral arrangements of spirituals from “Songs Of Freedom” for the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra. Measha Brueggergosman and I performed with them in Moncton and St. John this March, with Antonio Delgado conducting. Other orchestral arrangements that I have written and recorded in 2016 include 2 for David Clayton Thomas’s upcoming CD, and one for Eleanor McCain’s Canadiana CD.
   It was also a great pleasure to play on the recent Rose Cousins CD earlier this year. Produced by Joe Henry, the band was stellar (as was Rose) and included my esteemed colleague David Piltch on bass and Jay Bellerose on drums. I’m looking forward to hearing this and these other projects that have not yet been released.
    I have also finished my first piano trio, a classical piece which I am in the process of recording.


February 17, 2015

2014 was an interesting year, which started with preproduction in Madrid for Measha Brueggergosman’s Christmas CD, which I arranged and played on, and ended on New Year’s Eve with my orchestral arrangement of Joni Mitchell’s River being performed by Measha and the San Francisco Symphony, under the baton of Edwin Outwater! Along the way I had the pleasure of working with Michael Philip Wowewoda, who produced Christmas, and to play on new CDs by Buffy Saint Marie and Amelia Curran. I also collaborated with Candida Girling on two interactive art and music installations: A City Slice Of Green, at the Anderson Gallery in Buffalo, and A City Slice Of Sky at loopGallery in Toronto.

I was happy to be musical director on Songs Of Freedom, an exciting musical film project with Measha Brueggergosman, which was directed by Barbara Willis Sweete for Rhombus Media. It will continue airing in half-hour installments at 10:00 PM Fridays on Vision TV until the end of February, 2015. They have a cool and informative website: http://www.songsoffreedom.ca

John Doyle was kind in the Toronto Globe and Mail:

Songs of Freedom, (Vision TV, Fridays, 10 p.m.) is glorious. The Canadian opera singer Measha Brueggergosman performs an immensely powerful selection of spirituals – “music that emerged from Africa out of the slave trade to America.” Brueggergosman is one of our great cultural assets and here, in a program made by Rhombus Media and directed by Barbara Willis Sweete, she unleashes sublime interpretations of such material as Amazing Grace, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Go Tell it on the Mountain and Go Down Moses. Part of the context is the singer’s personal journey to discover her family’s roots in Cameroon. Under the musical direction of Aaron Davis, Songs of Freedom is achingly good.

http://m.theglobeandmail.com/arts/television/john-doyle-five-tv-reasons-to-be-cheerful-in-mid-february/article22989935/?service=mobile


May 30, 2013
Hi everybody

I was happy to hear the pressings of a CD that I produced, which was released last week. Its called In The Nighttime, by the talented maritime singer-songwriter David Myles. I played piano and organ on it and brought in some great musical friends: David Piltch on Bass, Kevin Breit on multiple stringed instruments, and Davide Direnzo on drums and percussion. David Myles sings and playing rhythm guitar. Also joining us on background vocals are Rose Cousins, Meghan Smith and Lisa Leblanc. We recorded it here in Toronto at John Bailey's studio, the Drive Shed,  with some overdubs at Joel Plaskett's studio in Halifax. We had a lot of fun! Here's a link to David's website.

Another thing that is upcoming is a performance of The Art Of Time with Madeleine Peyroux at the Enwave Theatre on May 31 and June 1 in Toronto. I arranged one of the songs – Chega de Saudade for this show. The Art Of Time is a great group, and they allow their arrangers a lot of latitude, which I appreciate! Here's a link.

Cheers,
Aaron