Lawrence Ridley, Ph.D
Jazz musician and music professor Larry Ridley was taught to play the violin at the age of five, but later became interested in jazz music and learned to play the bass. 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, John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, 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. He also chaired the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Panel, served as the coordinator of the Jazz Artists in Schools program, and was the executive director of the African American Jazz Caucus.