A couple of weeks ago, we were extremely shocked and saddened to hear of the untimely passing of Ronny Jordan, British guitarist and good friend of Giant Step. Jordan came onto the scene in the early 90s at the forefront of the acid jazz movement, which combined elements of R&B, hip-hop, and jazz. The unfortunate news prompted us to remember the career of an incredibly talented musician that we’ve been lucky to support from the beginning.
Jordan was a self-taught musician, picking up the ukulele as young as four years old, but not playing jazz guitar until his 20s. As he grew and his talent evolved, his influences came from some of the great jazz guitarists before him like Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell and also the music of the 1960s and 70s like Hendrix, The Beatles, and Ray Charles to name a few. He signed his first record deal in 1991 and his debut album, The Antidote, was released the following year. Giant Step had the honor of putting on his US debut party in 1992, and President/CEO Maurice Bernstein remembers one of his hits, “So What,” on repeat at the weekly club, Metropolis Café, in anticipation of the show. After that, Giant Step artist Dana Bryant and Jordan collaborated on the song, “The Jackal,” immortalized in Allison Janney’s lip-synced version on The West Wing.
With a career lasting over 20 years, 9 solo albums, and numerous awards and nominations, Ronny Jordan’s talent and impact on the music world is immense. Although his time was cut short, we were fortunate to enjoy his presence and he will truly be missed.