Ralph M. Jones
Title: Senior Lecturer, Musical Director of the
Spelman College Jazz Ensemble
Location: Rockefeller Fine Arts Bldg., Room 116
RALPH M. JONES has been active as a performing artist in the African-American Improvisational tradition for over 30 years. As an internationally recognized performing artist, he has recorded and performed throughout the U.S., Europe, Africa and Asia with Dr. Yusef Lateef, Pharaoh Sanders, AhmedAbdul Malik, Ella Fitzgerald, Wadada Leo Smith, Ken Cox the MC5, Adam Rudolph's Moving Pictures, The Go: Organic Orchestra, and his group, The Seekers of Truth Revolutionary Ensemble (SOTRE).
Jones has been a featured soloist with the WDR Radio Orchestra of Koln, Germany, and the Atlanta and Detroit Symphonies in the premiers and performances of Dr. Lateef's "African American Epic Suite" for quintet and orchestra. He is also a founding member of the internationally acclaimed world music ensemble, Eternal Wind. He also recently composed original music for the award-winning documentary film, "Tell Me, Cuba," and provided original music for a new production of the critically-acclaimed play "Death of a Salesman" featuring Avery Brooks. His most recent CD releases are Yusef Lateef & Ralph M. Jones III:” Woodwinds" on YAL records, “ Ye-Yi," and "Merely A Traveler On The Cosmic Path," on Meta Records. Jones was recently the featured soloist with the Wooster Symphony.
Jones earned his master's degree in African-American studies and his bachelor's degree in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he also studied the hichiriki with Japanese Gagaku master Togi.
As an educator, he served for 19 years on the music faculty and as co-chair of the California State Summer School for the Arts. He was Faculty-in-Residence at Oberlin College's Afrika Heritage House. While at Oberlin College, he taught “ Introduction to African-American Music” and has designed his own course “Great Musical Thinkers in the African-American Improvisational Tradition.”
Jones served as musical director for Oberlin’s Dance Diaspora’s productions of “Sad Divas” and "Eric , My Love," a tribute to Eric Dolphy; “Escape from Babylon," a tribute to John and Alice Coltrane and a musical and dance tribute to Albert Ayler. He also scripted original music for a production of “Glen Garry, Glen Ross.” In July 2013, Jones taught musical concepts and performance in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the program “ Arts and Transformation." He is currently senior lecturer and musical director of the Spelman College Jazz Ensemble.