Ron Jackson, guitar
Essiet Okon Essiet, bass
Sylvia Cuenca, drums
$20 cover charge at the door; byob
New York-based jazz master of the seven-string guitar Ron Jackson returns to Bird & Beckett with Essiet Okon Essiet on bass and Sylvia Cuenca on drums — one stop on a tour that’s taking him from the Rocky Mountain Archtop Festival in Arvada, Colorado to several stops in the Bay Area including Bird & Beckett and up to the Pacific Northwest for shows in Ashland, Salem and Portland. We’re happy to have him back!
View this video of his 1/17/23 Bird & Beckett performance with Essiet & Sylvia to remind you how great it was or to clue you in to what he’ll bring this time around!
Ron has performed, recorded and taught in over 30 countries, working with such artists as Taj Mahal, Jimmy McGriff, Larry Coryell, Benny Golson, Oliver Lake, Russell Malone and Mulgrew Miller. He has led combos in festivals including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Edinburgh Jazz Festivals and Winter Jazzfest, NYC. A master of the six, seven and twelve string guitars, Ron appeared on over 40 albums by such artists as Hal Singer, Graeme Norris, Ron Blake, Gisele Jackson and T.K. Blue before founding the independent record label Roni Music in 2003 which has since released some of his eight albums as a leader, including The Dream I Had (2003), Flubby Dubby (2008) and Akustik InventYours (2014). His latest project, Jazz Standards and Other Songs (2019) includes familiar jazz numbers and innovative adaptations of songs from other genres like his trendsetting arrangement for jazz trio Drakeâ€™s â€œPassion Fruit.â€
Born in the Philippines, Ron lived in many states as a kid then settled in Harvard, Massachusetts, west of Boston. Initially influenced by rock guitar greats like Jimmy Page, he later fell under the spell of jazz, following the style and career of jazz guitar luminaries like Pat Metheny and George Benson. After attending Berklee School of Music on scholarship, studying jazz composition and arranging, he spent two years in the mid-1980â€™s living and playing guitar with the lively expat jazz community in Paris, France then moved to New York City, where he remains an active participant in Gothamâ€™s always vibrant jazz scene.
An acclaimed music educator, Ron currently teaches guitar at Jazz at Lincoln Center, The New School, Midori and Friends, and is the founder and director of the website ronjacksonmusic.com. Ron has held master classes, concerts and workshops at Jazz at Lincoln Center-Jazz in the Schools, The Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, Escuela Creativa Musica in Madrid, Spain and California State University.
Drummer Sylvia Cuenca grew up in San Jose with music in the household and an ear for what she heard on records and the radio by the likes of Max Roach and the greats of the music. She picked up the drums in middle school, and within a few years her career was moving quickly, beginning with her first professional gig, when the legendary guitarist Eddie Duran hired her and bassist Larry Grenadine for a trio date at Pearl’s, then an after-hours club in the basement of Pearl Wong’s family’s Great Eastern Restaurant on Jackson Street in Chinatown. Based in New York since 1985, Sylvia played four years with Joe Henderson and eleven with Clark Terry and continues apace. But she maintains a base now in the Bay Area as well, and has made Bird & Beckett the beneficiary of many a great visit by New York talent.
Bassist Essiet Okon Essiet, also New York based and bi-coastal, has had a storied career including his role in Art Blakey’s band, in the last iteration of the Jazz Messengers, 1988-1990. His first big break came in 1982 when he met Chicago based percussionist Famoudou Don Moye, a founding member of such important collectives as the Art Ensemble of Chicago and The Leaders. Moye asked Essiet to join his quartet and during that same year the bassist met Abdullah Ibrahim, the famed South African pianist. Working with Ibrahim, Essiet toured the globe splitting his time between Europe and the US during the period from 1982 to 1986. Eventually Essiet settled in NYC. Two years later, he joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers and remained in the group until the famed drummer/teacher’s passing in 1990. During the next decade, he began a significant freelance career, performing with such jazz masters as Benny Golson, Johnny Griffin, James Moody, Freddie Hubbard, Bobby Hutcherson, Cedar Walton, Sam Rivers, George Adams, Pat Martino, Kenny Burrell, Jackie McLean, Frank Morgan, Kenny Barron, Louis Hayes, Ben Riley, Jimmy Cobb, Billy Higgins, Billy Hart, Art Farmer, Abby Lincoln, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Billy Cobham, Bennie Maupin, Al Foster, Eddie Henderson, Steve Turre, Jon Faddis, Bobby Watson, Victor Lewis, Kenny Garrett, Kenny Kirkland, Mulgrew Miller, Jeff “Tain ” Watts, Mike Stern, Kevin Mahogany, Kurt Elling, Fort Apache Band, Danilo Perez, Claudia Acuna, Geri Allen, and Ralph Peterson. In 1997, he was asked to join an incarnation of the Blue Note Allstars which included Greg Osby, Javon Jackson, Tim Hagens, Kevin Hays, and Bill Stewart. The Blue Note Allstars embarked on a number of tours including Canadian Festivals, US tours, Europe and Japan. In 2000 he joined Danilo Perez’s Motherland project for 2 years touring the US, Europe and Central America. Currently, Essiet leads his own group called “IBO” named after a Nigerian tribe. It is a Nigerian jazz project which mixes jazz harmonies with West African rhythms.
Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.
The BBCLP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit...
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