Ron Kearns Quintet
Gig Seeker Pro

Ron Kearns Quintet

Elkridge, Maryland, United States

Elkridge, Maryland, United States
Band Jazz Jazz


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Ron Kearns Live at Montpelier"

RON KEARNS "Live at Montpelier" Foxhaven
Friday, February 17, 2006; Page WE08

RON KEARNS"Live at Montpelier"Foxhaven


ALTHOUGH RECORDED in a different suburban Maryland location, "Live at Montpelier" brings to mind the sort of music that jazz fans frequently encounter at the annual East Coast Jazz Festival in Rockville, which runs through Monday at the Doubletree Hotel. The mood is relaxed, the tunes are mostly standards and the unfussy arrangements generously showcase fine local talent.

Alto saxophonist Ron Kearns is heard in a cozy setting here, playing alongside new recruits and longtime collaborators. (Among the latter is the recently deceased drummer Mike Smith, who will be saluted at this year's festival.) The emphasis placed on pop standards pays off nicely, especially during a leisurely, lyrical and occasionally playful arrangement of "I'll Remember April." It's one of several opportunities for Kearns, trombonist John Jensen, pianist Larry Brown, bassist Kent Miller and guest vibist Tim Collins to display their engaging way with an indelible melody. The more soulful aspects of the band's repertoire are evident on Horace Silver's "Nica's Dream," with its braided horn lines and Latin propulsion, and the Silver-tinted "Spice and Sugar," a Kearns original distinguished by a string of colorful solos.

-- Mike Joyce

Appearing Friday at the East Coast Jazz Festival.

- Washington Post

"Live at th East Coast Jazz Festival"

Location: Double Tree Hotel
Rockville, Maryland US
Date(s): February 16, 2006 - February 20, 2006
Written By: Michael Kabran


The slogan for the 15th annual East Coast Jazz Festival held Feb. 16-20 at the Double Tree Hotel outside Washington, D.C., was “Your Straight-Ahead Jazz Extravaganza,” but the real theme of the five-day event was community. The festival included: tributes to bassist Keter Betts and drummer Mike Smith, two D.C. jazz icons who died in the past year; performances from nearly thirty local youth ensembles; a scholarship contest for emerging jazz artists; and hundreds of musicians plucked directly from the Washington, D.C., jazz scene. Even the festival presenter, The Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship Fund, was named to honor Elmore “Fish” Middleton, a popular jazz programmer at a D.C. radio station.

For me too the festival was a literal homecoming of sorts. Not only did I grow up in the area, but my sister was bat mitzvahed 20 years ago in the ballroom that served as one of the festival’s main venues.

That was where the Ron Kearns Quintet kicked off the main portion of the festival on Friday with an emotional set of jazz standards that Kearns dedicated to Betts and Smith. And though there was no Torah reading or chanting, there were plenty of highlights, particularly from Kearns’ sidemen. Trombonist John Jenson and bassist Kent Miller shined on the Irving Gordon and Harry Warren classic “There Will Never Be Another You.” Miller’s lyrical solo in particular proved a fitting ode to Betts. Drummer Greg Holloway displayed some stellar stick-work on Dizzy Gillespie’s “Night In Tunisia,” including a jaw-dropping 12-bar introduction. Kearns, who is also an in-demand producer in D.C., more than equaled his band. The set concluded with “Mike’s Dancin’ on the Train,” a Coltrane-esque song Kearns and Smith co-wrote during their 10-year tenure as band mates. Originally called “Dancin’ on the Train,” Kearns renamed the song after Smith died. It featured Kearns’ most impassioned and melodic saxophone solos of the set.

- Jazz Times Magazine

"Ron Kearns and Friends Introspective"

RON KEARNS AND FRIENDS "Introspective" Foxhaven JANINE GILBERT-CARTER "A Song for You" Jazz Karma
Friday, July 20, 2007; Page WE13

RON KEARNS AND FRIENDS"Introspective"FoxhavenJANINE GILBERT-CARTER"A Song for You"Jazz Karma


SAXOPHONIST RON KEARNS had the pleasure of collaborating with singer, educator and tireless jazz booster Ronnie Wells in numerous settings over the years. So after her death in March, he stopped work on a new recording to assemble "Introspective," a compilation of tracks he and Wells produced.

All told, there are eight performances gathered from four recordings released by Kearns, and though Wells herself is absent from the lineup, in a way that's only fitting. After all, as the co-founder of the East Coast Jazz Festival, Wells was always more interested in showcasing jazz talent, legends and newcomers alike, than standing center stage.

In addition to Kearns, who's in fine, switch-hitting form on alto and soprano saxes, the musicians assembled for these sessions will be familiar to many area jazz fans. Among them are pianists Larry Brown and Eric Byrd, trumpeter Kenny Reed, bassist James King, trombonists John Jensen and Paul Olenick, vibist Tim Collins, and drummers Allison Miller and Mike Smith.

A sinuous Kearns-devised arrangement of "Wade in the Water" opens the album on a soulful note, but the remaining tracks were composed either by the session leader or Reed. Though the tone is often reflective, as the album's title suggests, there's no shortage of tuneful melodies, such as Reed's "Saturday Renaissance," or inviting swing, modal and blues excursions.

Kearns produced Janine Gilbert-Carter's "A Song for You," recorded live at the 15th annual East Coast Jazz Festival. Ably abetted by Steve Abshire's supple guitar underpinning, Paul Carr's robust tenor and soprano saxophones and a solid rhythm section anchored by pianist Chris Grasso, Gilbert-Carter focuses on such romantic standards as the majestic Dinah Washington chestnut "What a Difference a Day Made," a swinging "All of Me" and "Here's to Life," a serene affirmation closely associated with Washington jazz legend Shirley Horn. But Gilbert-Carter also dips into such modern texts as Elton John and Bernie Taupin's title track and shows her bluesy side on the sly "Someone Else Is Steppin' In," closing with "At Last," a song that demands the full, exhausting emotional commitment evident in Gilbert-Carter's nearly seven-minute testimonial.

-- Mike Joyce

- Washington Post, Mike Joyce


Jazz Avenues

by: Steve Monroe

“After the death of my dear friend and collaborator, Ronnie Wells, “introspective” best describes my mood. I had just completed mixing a recording I did” Live at Montpelier” (2006) but decided to shelve that recording in favor of releasing this compilation of songs we produced together. Here’s to you Ronnie Wells.”
--liner notes from “Introspective” by Ron Kearns and Friend, Foxhaven Records, 2007.

All for Ronnie
Ron Kearns’ new CD “Introspective,” takes off with “Wade in the Water,” a fitting, and sometimes chilling journey in view of the spiritual memory of Wells that it evokes.

Kearns, the veteran saxophonist and educator, said in an interview recently, “The CD came about from a conversation Ronnie Wells and I had before she died. She encouraged me to do a "best of" CD … I never liked "Best of" CDs so I resisted.”

Ronnie knew best. The group of D.C. area players Kearns showcases on “Introspective” recalls the polished, lyrically accessible and rhythmic works that have distinguished Kearns’ career as a musician and teacher. The tunes, after “Wade in the Water,” Kearns’ arrangement, are all by Kearns and trumpeter/flugelhornist Kenny Reed, heard on several tracks. Kearns, alto and soprano sax; Eric Byrd, Larry Brown, Robert Grimwood and Mike Jones, piano; the deft Mike Smith, and on one tune the dynamic Allison Miller, drums; Bhagwan Khalsa, James King and Kent Miller, bass; Paul Olenick and John Jensen, trombones, and Tim Collins, vibes, provide top notch musicianship throughout.

“Saturday Renaissance,” a catchy romp by Reed, is one highlight, featuring solos by Reed and Kearns, Byrd’s elegant tone and Smith’s cymbal work. Kearns calls the tune, “one of my all-time favorites of Kenny's. He's a great writer.”
Other highlights are “Nookie’s Blues,” and “Spice and Sugar,” both up tempo Kearns’ compositions and “Looking for A Job,” a Reed tune with fine harmonic touches.

Kearns said, “I’m very pleased at how it came out because it is an audio record of my career as a leader. Some of the best groups I've worked with are represented here.” - DC North - Capital Community News

"Ron Kearns A Cool Alley Cat"

Mike Joyce, The Washington Post, December 8, 1999

Ron Kearns is better known as a producer for such local [DC] artists as Buck Hill and Ronnie Wells than as a musician in his own right. But "Live at Blues Alley" (Foxhaven) gives the alto and tenor saxophonist his due, providing a cool, late-night atmosphere for seasoned and soulful tone. With the help of trumpeter Kenny Reed, Kearns sometimes projects a frontline sound that brings to mind the music of Cannonball and Nat Adderley, particularly on the riff-based Herbie Hancock tune Driftin'. First though, Kearns unveils "Blues in the Alley," the album's opening track and its only original composition, which establishes the album's unfussy and unhurried tone. He then offers a rendition of Luis Bonfa's "Black Orpheus," notable for its gliding legato phrasing before singer Shelley Dorsey infuses "That Old Devil Called Love" with a sultry air.
As for the remaining tunes, don't expect any surprises. The album is dominated by pop and jazz standards, including appealing performances of "Just Friends" and "Cantaloupe Island." Most of the arrangements tend to unfold in conventional fashion, leaving plenty of solo space for the horn men and the gopsel-infected runs favored by pianist Eric Byrd. Ably rounding out the rhythm section and neatly accenting the arrangements are bassist Bhagwan Khalsa and drummer Mike Smith.

- Washington Post


Hand Prints, The Ron Kearns Quintet Live at Blues Alley--Blues in the Alley, Looking Back, Stepping Forward, Ron Kearns Live at Montpelier and Ron Kearns and Friends--Introspective, quiet Nights.



The Ron Kearns Quintet has been a favorite at jazz festivals and small jazz venues all over the United States. The group performs acoustic jazz in the style of the old Blue Note Records recordings of Be Bop and Hard Bop. The front line of the group consists of Sax and Trombone or Sax and Trumpet with a standard rhythm section of piano, bass and drums.

The group has six recordings, two of them done live. The first live recording was done at the legendary jazz club, Blues Alley in Washington, DC. The second, recorded November, 2004, was recorded at the historic Montpelier Mansion in Laurel, MD. The leader, Ron Kearns, is a recording artist, record producer, clinician and educator. He is a Vandoren Performing Artist and plays Vandoren reeds and mouthpieces exclusively. Vandoren of Paris is the recognized leader in the making of reeds and mouthpieces. Ron has produced 41 recordings by artists such as Terell Stafford, Buck Hill, the late Ronnie Wells, Ruby Hayes, Ernie Andrews, Paul Carr, Janine Gilbert-Carter, Eric Byrd and others. John Jensen, trombone, is the former lead trombonist and soloist with the prestigious U.S. Navy Commodores, the nation’s premier military jazz ensemble. John has been featured with the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra and also been spotlighted at the White House, the Corcoran Art Gallery in Washington DC, and the Kennedy Center. He has been featured alongside Ed Polcer, Urbie Green, Milt Hinton, Stephanie Nakasian, trumpet great Snooky Young, McCoy Tyner and Dizzy Gillespie. Jensen has also worked with jazz vocalists Joe Williams and Dianne Schurr. In addition to trombone he performs on the double bell euphonium and the didgireedoo. Larry Brown, piano, received WAMMY nominations (Washington Area Music Assoc 2002) for Best Jazz Group, Best Jazz Instrumentalist, and “The Long Goodbye” (Lush Life Records) won the award for Best Jazz Recording. The Washington Post says of this CD, “there’s no mistaking the music’s seductive allure." Greg Holloway is one of the most in demand session players on the east coast. He has played with some of the top acts in the country. Kent Miller, bass, has played with some of the top names in New York and Washington, DC. In 1984 Kent moved to New York and was recruited by legendary Vanguard recording artist trumpeter Dave Burns. Kent continued his bass studies with bassist Rufus Ried and Ray Drummond. Kent joined the Brooklyn based Ray Abrams big band that led to many other music opportunities with such artist as: Carl Allen, Chico Hamilton, Percy Brice, Jimmy Lovelace, Clifford Barbareau, Lynn Arriale, Eddie Gladden, George Coleman Jr., (St. Louisians’ John Hicks, Eric Person, Ronnie Burrage), Bill Saxton, Talieb Kibwe, James Wiedman and many others.

Band Members