When Ronny Jordan turned professional in 1985, jazz guitar was not in the ascendancy. While the Acid Jazz label and scene had turned the spotlight on aspects of the classic Blue Note and Verve catalogues, few had revisited the work of seminal players such as Grant Green, Kenny Burrell and Wes Montgomery. Jordan, who was born in London on November 29, 1962, however was in thrall to these players and helped turn the spotlight back on them as his playing came to the attention of a wider audience.
Jordan first made his mark with the release of his debut album, 1992’s The Antidote, on Island Records – the label that had signed and supported fellow British jazz musicians Courtney Pine and Andy Sheppard a few years earlier. The record was defined by a modern, lithe version of Miles Davis’s Kind Of Blue classic, So What.
Ronny Jordan delivers his interpretation of Miles Davis’s 1959 tune, So What.
Jordan came to further prominence when he appeared on Gangstarr leader Guru’s groundbreaking Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1 album in 1993. Fusing hip-hop with jazz instrumentation, the album became a cult classic in the UK and placed Jordan in the company of such players as Donald Byrd, Branford Marsalis, Roy Ayers and Lonnie Liston Smith. It also spawned the UK Top 30 hit, No Time To Play, which featured Jordan alongside singer DC Lee.
Jordan’s fine phrasing on No Time To Play helped propel it into the UK Top 30.
As a solo artist, Jordan would continue to enjoy an impressive career that spanned a further eight studio albums as well as working with artists as diverse as Mos Def, DJ Krush, Pieces Of A Dream and Jonathan Butler.
His death was confirmed by his family on Tuesday, January 14 when his brother and sister set up a Facebook page in remembrance of Ronny. Their statement reads as follows:
Dear Friends, Family and Well Wishers
It is with our deep regret that Ronny Jordan has recently passed away. We are still coming to terms with the loss of our brother.
We are taking steps to manage Ronny’s personal affairs and so we ask if you could kindly bear with us as we deal with his matters in the background. We appreciate that Ronny has got many fans around the world and so we ask that you keep an eye out for further announcements in relation to his funeral arrangements.
In the meantime, tributes to Ronny can be left on this FB page.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
With every blessings and love..
Rickey and Denise
Brother and Sister
MOJO would like to extend our condolences to the Jordan family and their friends. We will remember Ronny’s through his recorded legacy and the many live performances we enjoyed, including a memorable night at London’s Jazz Café in 2010 when Jordan was joined on stage by none other than George Benson.