One of the acid jazz movement's most prominent guitarists, London-born Ronny Jordan was widely credited with returning the instrument to its rightful place as a major force in modern-day jazz; despite outcries from purists, few other artists of his era proved more pivotal in knocking down the long-immutable boundaries of contemporary black music. The son of a preacher, Jordan's early musical history was rooted in gospel; his first public performances were with gospel groups, but the outbreak of Brit-funk during the early '80s led him to begin exploring other avenues of music, culminating in a fascination with jazz. A self-taught guitarist, his early influences included Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, and Grant Green, and when hip-hop began to take off, Jordan started exploring ways to fuse jazz and rap together. The first fruit of his endeavors was the single "After Hours," a primitive foray into what would eventually become known as acid jazz. Record companies initially wanted no part of Jordan's music, but when his distinctive cover of the Miles Davis classic "So What" became a hit, it was clear something was afoot. He soon released his debut LP, 1992's Antidote, but it was rapper Guru's breakthrough 1993 album, Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1, on which Jordan's guitar work was prominently featured, that made acid jazz a viable proposition. He subsequently issued such albums as 1993's Quiet Revolution, 1996's Light to Dark, 2000's Brighter Day, and 2003's At Last. Ronny Jordan died in January 2014 at the age of 51.
Ronald Laurence Albert Simpson, known as Ronny Jordan (29 November 1962 – 13 January 2014) was a British guitarist at the forefront of the acid jazz movement at the end of the twentieth century. Jordan described his music as "urban jazz," a blend of jazz, hip-hop, and R&B.
He came to prominence after being featured on Guru's Jazzmatazz, Vol. 1, which saw release in 1993. He was also one of the artists whose recordings are featured on Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool — a compilation album released in 1994 to benefit the Red Hot Organization.
Following the release of 1992's The Antidote, recordings from Jordan have been a mainstay on a variety of Billboard charts. He was also the recipient of many awards, including The MOBO Best Jazz Act Award as well as Gibson Guitar Best Jazz Guitarist Award. His 2000 release, A Brighter Day, was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Jazz Album.
Jordan's song "The Jackal" (from his 1993 album The Quiet Revolution) gained prominence when actress Allison Janney in the role of C. J. Cregg lip-synched it in the episode "Six Meetings Before Lunch" of The West Wing. She also did so on Arsenio Hall's show in September, 2013.
Jordan died on January 13, 2014.
My Favourite Things
Ronny Jordan Collection
The Rebirth of Cool
Light to Dark