Ronny Jordan was born Robert Lawrence Albert Simpson on November 29, 1962 in London, England. His debut release in 1992 The Antidote gained critical acclaim but he truly came to prominence after being featured on Guru’s Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1, released in 1993. Following this release his recordings were all featured on the Billboard charts.
He was also one of the artists whose recordings are featured on the 1994 compilation album Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool to benefit the Red Hot Organization. Jordan’s song The Jackal from his 1993 album The Quiet Revolution gained wide notoriety when actress Allison Janney in the role of C. J. Cregg lip-synched it in The West Wing episode “Six Meetings Before Lunch” and also on the Arsenio Hall Show in 2013.
Ronny recorded nine albums as a leader and contributed to four more as a sideman, was the recipient of the MOBO Best Jazz Act Award, the Gibson Guitar Best Jazz Guitarist Award, and his 2000 release, A Brighter Day, was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album.
Guitarist Ronny Jordan passed away on January 13, 2014. He was known for blending jazz with hip-hop and R&B in his playing and composing and by the end of the twentieth century he was an integral part of the acid jazz movement.
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Matthew-Aaron Dusk was born November 19, 1978 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and from an early age he wanted to become a performer. At seven he was accepted into St. Michael’s Choir School, and remained for eleven years. Originally performing opera and classical music until hearing Tony Bennett, Bob Fenton, and Sarah Vaughan records at the age of 17, when he decided to change his musical style and direction.
In 1998 Matt won the top spot in the Canadian National Exhibition Rising Star Competition, however he was on a path to take over the family business, and the same year attended York University to study economics. After his first year he changed his major for BFA in music studying jazz theory with John Gittins, jazz vocal with Bob Fenton, and masterclasses with Oscar Peterson. Awarded the university’s Oscar Peterson Scholarship he graduated with honors.
Dusk recorded four independent CDs before securing a major record deal with Decca Records. In 2004 he became the in-house entertainer at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada throughout the filming of the reality TV show The Casino. His 2004 debut album Two Shots went gold in Canada, the title song was The Casino’s theme song and was written by Bono and The Edge. Matt’s second project was a holiday EP titled Peace On Earth the following year. Since 2006 he has recorded a sophomore album Back In Town at Ca[ito; Records with a 58 piece orchestra, has worked with Patrick Williams and Sammy Nestico and Al Schmitt. And was the first male artist ever to reach #1 on the Japanese charts.
He has gone on to record several more albums, score the soundtrack for Call Me Fitz television show, record a live DVD concert special for PBS with a 17 piece big band. His fifth album My Funny Valentine: The Chet Baker Songbook features an eighty piece orchestra with Arturo Sandoval, Guido Basso, Emilie-Claire Barlow and Ryan Ahlwardt.
Vocalist Matt Dusk has been certified gold twice for his albums Two Shots and Good News, and once platinum for his Baker project, and has recorded a duet project with Edyta Górniak, and continues to perform, record and tour.
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Gary Potter was born on November 15, 1965, Liverpool, Lancashire, England. Taking up guitar in his youth, he was playing in country music bands at the age of 12. He had a spell in the USA, drawing approving attention in Nashville, Tennessee, where he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Drawing inspiration from early rock ‘n’ roll before becoming interested in jazz, Gary especially admired and influenced by the playing of Django Reinhardt. He has had numerous outspoken admirers of his playing including fellow guitarists Chet Atkins and George Harrison.
By the early 1990s, Potter became best known for his jazz work and in 1994 came second in the guitar section of the British Jazz Awards. He also appeared in the television documentary, The Django Legacy, worked with guitarist Nils Solberg, bass player Andy Crowdy and violinist Christian Garrick. In addition to performing, guitarist Gary Potter composes, arranges and records, while also teaching internationally.
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Ari Hoenig was born on November 13, 1973 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was exposed to music very young, being his father is a conductor and classical vocalist, his mother a violinist and pianist. He began studying the violin and piano at age four, playing the drums by twelve and by fourteen was honing his skill with young jazz musicians in Philadelphia clubs.
He would go on to matriculate through the University of North Texas, become a member of the One O’Clock Lab Band, then wanting to be closer to the action in New York City, he transferred to William Patterson University in northern New Jersey. It wasn’t long before Ari began playing with fellow Philadelphia native Shirley Scott and gigging around the City.
Moving to Brooklyn found him playing with Jean Michel Pilc, Kenny Werner, Chris Potter, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Joshua Redman, Wayne Krantz, Mike Stern, Richard Bona, Pat Martino, Bojan Z, Dave Liebman, Tigran Hamasyan, Ethan Iverson, Mark Turner and Fred Hersch.
He has shared the stage with Herbie hancock, Ivan Lins, Wynton Marsalis, Toots Thielemans, Dave Holland, Joe Lovano and Gerry Mulligan. In 2005 Hoenig appeared with his group at the Dominican Republic Jazz Festival.
He released his debut album Jazzheads as a leader in 1999, followed up by Time Travels in 2000 and The Life of a Day in 2002. He has nine albums out to date and has had several articles and reviews written in about him in Drummerworld, Down Beat, All About Jazz and other publications.
As an educator he teaches privately and is on the faculty of New York University, the New School for Social Research, and has released several educational and instructional manuals and videos about drumming. Drummer, composer and educator Ari Hoenig continues to perform, record and tour, leading a quintet, nonet and trio.
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James Lloyd Morrison was born on November 11, 1962 in Boorowa, New South Wales, Australia. Though his father was a Methodist minister, he comes from a musical family with his mother playing alto saxophone, piano and organ, his sister is a trumpeter, and his older brother a jazz drummer. Due to his father’s ministry the family relocated to various locales in New South Wales before settling in Pittwater.
From the age of seven Morrison practiced on his brother’s cornet, attended Mona Vale Primary School and Pittwater High School, then he enrolled at Sydney Conservatorium of Music where he completed a jazz course. While there he met Don Burrows, who became his mentor.
In 1983 Morrison joined his brother John’s 13-piece group, Morrison Brothers Big Bad Band and a year later he was playing trumpet, trombone and piano, his brother on drums, Warwick Alder on trumpet, Paul Andrews on alto saxophone, Tom Baker on alto and baritone saxophones, Peter Cross on trumpet, Glenn Henrich on vibraphone, Jason Morphett on tenor saxophone, and Craig Scott on bass. The group released their debut album, A Night in Tunisia, in 1984 on the ABC Records label.
Morrison has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Don Burrows, Ray Charles, B. B. King, Ray Brown, Wynton Marsalis, Graeme Lyall, Frank Sinatra, Cab Calloway, Jon Faddis, Woody Shaw, Whitney Houston, Arturo Sandoval, Phil Stack, George Benson, Mark Nightingale, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Gina Jeffreys and Red Rodney, just to name a few. His long association with composer and pianist Lalo Schifrin has led James to record a number of CDs for Schifrin’s Jazz Meets the Symphony series, with the London and the Czech National symphony orchestras.
Morrison sponsors yearly scholarships for young musicians, and is actively involved with several youth bands. He discovered his regular vocalist, Emma Pask, at a school concert when she was 16 and has since gone on to become an internationally renowned jazz singer. He is the chairman of Generations in Jazz, one of the largest youth jazz events in the world. He has been the hosts of the in-flight jazz radio station for Qantas Airways.
Morrison designed trumpets and trombones, built his own recording studio, recorded top Australian jazz musicians including Dan Clohesy, Jake Barden, Don Burrows, Liam Burrows, John Morrison, The Swing City Big Band, The Generations In Jazz Academy Big Band, Graeme Lyall and more. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia, was nominated for Best Jazz Album, in 1992 for Manner Dangerous, 1993 for Two the Max, a collaboration with Ray Brown, and was inducted into the Graeme Bell Hall of Fame.
He has received an honorary Doctor of Music from the Edith Cowan University and from the University by Griffith University, Morrison is also an Adjunct Professor of the University of South Australia and a Vice Chancellor’s Professorial Fellow. He continues to perform, record and tour.