Ronald B. Weber, MD
President & Artistic Director of South Florida JAZZ
I am a lifelong drummer and jazzer who had a college band in Michigan featuring Joe
Henderson (yes, Joe played in MY band and I never let him forget it. I miss him). I played
briefly with Getz, Terry Gibbs, Phineas Newborn, Jr., Johnny Smith, Kirk Lightsey, and
Candido Camero before focusing on medicine.
I taught neurology and neuro-ophthalmology at George Washington University then
practiced neurology in Hollywood, Florida until 1993. It is fair and immodest to assume
that I know more about jazz than any of my neurology colleagues and more about
medicine than most jazz writers (and all sports writers).
Now I am engaged in a life of jazz promotion and production with South Florida JAZZ,
Inc. which I direct as president and artistic director. They will have to assassinate me to
get me out of the job. I was just reëlected for another year.
I like jazz two blocks from the edge (as Don Grolnick once said to Michael Brecker).
Despite my geezer status, I like a fair amount of modern music. My dream festival would
feature bands led by Keith Jarrett (if I didn't have to deal with him), Branford Marsalis,
John Scofield, Christian McBride, Gary Burton, Brad Mehldau, Chick Corea, Kurt Elling
and Cecile McLorin Salvant.
Does anyone want to donate $100K to a well-meaning nonprofit jazz organization???
My Jazz Story
I love jazz because it connects with my brain at a chemical level and creates pleasure.
I was first exposed to jazz by listening to the radio on my own.
I met Shelly Manne and Dave Brubeck as a teenage drummer, both of whom became my long-distance mentors.
The best show I ever attended was Keith Jarrett Trio in Miami about 1998.
The first jazz record I bought was Benny Goodman 1938 Carnegie Hall Concert.
My advice to new listeners is to keep an open mind and attempt to learn the history and vocabulary of the jazz innovators. Jazz is only "traditional" in the present. Everyone's concept of
traditional is based upon what they heard when they first felt an affinity for the music.