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Larry Ridley

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Information about Larry Ridley

Profile image of Larry Ridley

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Jazz Bassist
Music Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
All Seasons
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
To Thine Own Self Be True.

Birthplace

Born:
9/3/1937
Birth Location:
Indianapolis, Indiana

Profession

Category:
MusicMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Jazz Bassist
Music Professor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
All Seasons
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
To Thine Own Self Be True.

Birthplace

Born:
9/3/1937
Birth Location:
Indianapolis
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Biography

Jazz musician and music professor Larry Ridley was born on September 3, 1937 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Lawrence and Nevolena Ridley. He was taught to play the violin at the age of five, but later became interested in jazz music and learned to play the bass. Ridley graduated from Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, Indiana. He went on to attend Indiana University in 1955, but completed his B.S. degree at New York University in 1971. He earned his M.A. degree in cultural policy from the State University of New York Empire State College in 1993, and his Ph.D. degree in performing arts from the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore in 2005.

After attending the Lenox School of Jazz summer program in 1959, Ridley moved to New York City to pursue a career as a professional jazz musician. In the 1960s, Ridley was active in the New York jazz music scene, playing on tours and in studio recordings with a wide range of notable jazz musicians, including Horace Silver, Sonny Rollins, Philly Joe Jones, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Lee Morgan, and Jackie McLean. In 1971, he was hired as a professor of music at Rutgers University’s Livingston College, where he developed the college’s jazz education program, creating both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in jazz performance. From 1970 to 1973, he toured the world as the bassist for Thelonious Monk. Ridley released his own album, Sum of Parts, in 1975. From 1981 to 1985, he played as part of the tribute band Dameronia, in honor of the composer Tad Dameron. In 1985, Ridley formed his own group, the Jazz Legacy Ensemble, releasing two albums Live at Rutgers University and Other Voice. Ridley retired from Rutgers in 1999, but continued to teach at the Manhattan School of Music and Swing University at Jazz at the Lincoln Center. He chaired the National Endowment for the Arts’ Jazz Panel. He also served as the coordinator of the Jazz Artists in Schools program, executive director of the African American Jazz Caucus and northeast regional coordinator for the International Association for Jazz Educators.

Ridley received numerous awards and accolades for his work in jazz music and education. He was inducted into the International Association for Jazz Educators Hall of Fame, the Downbeat Magazine Jazz Education Hall of Fame, and the Indianapolis Jazz Foundation Hall of Fame. He was honored by a Juneteenth 2006 Proclamation Award from the New York City Council, and was the recipient of the Meade Legacy Jazz Griot Award, the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Jazz Legacy Award, the MidAtlantic Arts Foundation’s Living Legacy Jazz Award, and the Benny Golson Jazz Award from Howard University.

Larry Ridley was interviewed by The Historymakers on November 30, 2016.

See how Larry Ridley is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Larry Ridley's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Larry Ridley lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Larry Ridley describes his mother's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Larry Ridley talks about how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Larry Ridley describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Larry Ridley describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Larry Ridley describes his family's residence at Lockefield Gardens in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Larry Ridley remembers his elementary school teachers
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Larry Ridley recalls his maternal family's involvement with Madame C.J. Walker
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Larry Ridley describes his early friends
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Larry Ridley recalls his initial interest in learning an instrument
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Larry Ridley remembers his first violin
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Larry Ridley recalls his early musical influences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Larry Ridley recalls playing music with James Spaulding and Virgil Jones
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Larry Ridley remembers his early interest in jazz
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Larry Ridley talks about his father's ice business
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Larry Ridley recalls his early experiences of religion
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Larry Ridley remember Ray Brown
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Larry Ridley remembers The Montgomery Brothers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Larry Ridley describes his early education
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Larry Ridley recalls his encounters with racism, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Larry Ridley recalls his encounters with racism, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Larry Ridley describes his experiences at Shortridge School in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Larry Ridley remembers forming a jazz band in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Larry Ridley recalls his early jazz influences
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Larry Ridley recalls his initial experiences at Indiana University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Larry Ridley remembers his bass teacher at Indiana University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Larry Ridley recalls attending a summer course at the Lenox School of Jazz
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Larry Ridley remembers playing with Max Roach in New York City
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Larry Ridley describes the roles of each instrument in a jazz band
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Larry Ridley talks about the importance of the bass line in a jazz composition
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Larry Ridley remembers his experiences at the Lenox School of Jazz in Lenox, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Larry Ridley talks about the art of performing with a jazz band
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Larry Ridley remembers performing with Max Roach
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Larry Ridley reflects upon the Black Arts Movement
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Larry Ridley recalls his limited performances in the South
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Larry Ridley remembers the artists with whom he collaborated
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Larry Ridley describes his duo performances in New York City
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Larry Ridley talks about managing his professional engagements
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Larry Ridley talks about the importance of being flexible as a jazz artist
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Larry Ridley remembers completing his bachelor's degree at New York University
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Larry Ridley remembers performing with Thelonious Monk
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Larry Ridley describes Thelonious Monk's musical style
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Larry Ridley talks about the differences between bandleaders' styles
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Larry Ridley recalls heading the jazz program at Livingston College in Piscataway, New Jersey
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Larry Ridley remembers performing with the Duke Ellington Orchestra
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Larry Ridley talks about his role on the jazz panel for the National Endowment for the Arts
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Larry Ridley talks about the Jazz Artists in Schools program
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Larry Ridley recalls meeting his wife
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Larry Ridley recalls earning his master's degree and training music teachers
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Larry Ridley remembers Wynton Marsalis' family
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Larry Ridley recalls his professional and educational engagements in the 2000s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Larry Ridley talks about the importance of music education
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Larry Ridley recalls the designation of jazz as a national treasure by the U.S. Congress
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Larry Ridley reflects upon the lack of government support for jazz programs
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Larry Ridley reflects upon his life and the future of jazz education
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Larry Ridley shares his advice to future generations
  • Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Larry Ridley talks about the prevalence of jazz music