Swing University Larry Ridley's Biography

An accomplished musical force with decades of experience as a sought-after accompanist, soloist, and bandleader, Dr. Larry Ridley is also one of the staunchest advocates for jazz education and the appreciation of the music’s roots in African-American culture.

After studying at Indiana University and making a name for himself in his hometown through collaborations with the likes of Wes Montgomery and Freddie Hubbard, Ridley made the move to the NYC area where he continued to study, perform, record, and teach the music he loves.  Notable musical pairings with such heavyweights as Sonny Rollins, Max Roach, Slide Hampton, and Red Garland (among many others) in the ‘60s led to a regular gig as Thelonious Monk’s bassist through the mid-1970s.

Dr. Ridley then headed the music department and jazz program at Rutgers, before retiring in 1999, and currently teaches and lectures at Manhattan School of Music, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and elsewhere.  While remaining active as a performer (and occasional recording artist) through to the present day, Ridley now also serves as executive director of the African American Jazz Caucus (AAJC) and contributes a regular column to JAZZed.