Indiana Jazz Legend - "Bassist Extraordinaire" Larry Ridley was born and reared in Indianapolis, IN. He began performing professionally while still in high school in the 1950s and has toured, recorded and performed internationally with many of the historical legends of Jazz. His credits are a virtual "Who's Who in Jazz", e.g., Wes Montgomery, Freddie Hubbard, Slide Hampton, Thelonious Monk, Horace Silver, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Dinah Washington, Coleman Hawkins, Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins, Lee Morgan, Billy Taylor, Gerald Wilson, Clark Terry, Randy Weston, George Wein's Newport Jazz Festival All-Stars and many other internationally known musicians. For further information, go to www.LarryRidley.com.
Larry began his undergraduate education on a scholarship at the Indiana University School of Music and later transferred to New York University where he completed his Bachelor of Science degree in music education. His Master of Arts degree in Cultural Policy was earned at Empire State College of the State University of New York (SUNY). He has a Doctor of Performing Arts degree from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and is a Professor of Music, Emeritus at Rutgers University. During his tenure at Rutgers, 1971-1999, Ridley was the lead architect in structuring the undergraduate and graduate degree programs in jazz performance. He continues to actively perform, conduct workshops/seminars/consultancies and teach nationally and internationally.
Dr. Ridley served as chairman of the Jazz Panel of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and was the organization's National Coordinator of the Jazz Artists in Schools Program for five years (1978-1982). He served as a consultant to Congressman John Conyers (D-MI) in the drafting of House Concurrent Resolution 57 declaring "Jazz as a rare and valuable National American Treasure through the African American Experience". His many honors include the MidAtlantic Arts Foundation's "Living Legacy Jazz Award", induction into the International Association for Jazz Education Hall of Fame (IAJE) and the Downbeat Magazine Jazz Education Hall of Fame, the Benny Golson Jazz Award from Howard University and a Juneteenth 2006 Proclamation Award from the New York City Council initiated by the Honorable Charles Barron, Council Member, 42nd District, Brooklyn, NY.
Dr. Ridley, an active performer, has served since 1993 as Jazz Artist in Residence at the Harlem based New York Public Library/Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He established an annual series there dedicated to presenting the compositions of jazz masters that are performed by Dr. Ridley and his Jazz Legacy Ensemble©. He is a contributing Editor to JazzEd Magazine, www.JazzEdMagazine.com; & Lecturer - Jazz@Lincoln Center beginning in 2011.
He and the late Anderson White founded the Black Jazz Music Caucus (BJMC) in 1977, an autonomous affiliate working with the National Association of Jazz Educators. In the year 2000 he became the Executive Director of the BJMC's renamed African American Jazz Caucus, Inc. (AAJC), a 501c3 not for profit, www.AAJC.us.
In the year 2011, Dr. Ridley was given the prestigious Annual "Don Redman Heritage Award" by the Don Redman Society, Piedmont, WV; the Jefferson County, WV, NAACP & the Harpers Ferry, WV Historical Association of the USA National Park Service.