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Ron English

Jazz guitarist Ron English has enjoyed a long and varied music career, with roots wide and deep in blues, Broadway, bebop, avant-garde, funk, Motown, and gospel.

Ron got started playing standards for dances and receptions around his native Lansing, where his father was a well-known guitar teacher, then graduated to a sort of roadhouse jazz and blues mix, in the bands of drummer Bud Spangler and Jackson tenor man Benny Poole, and various organ trios, including his long time employer and collaborator Lyman Woodard. Along the way, for his friends, Bob Baldori and the Woolies, Ron contributed the guitar solo on a classic blues rock “nugget,” the Woolies’ 1967 cover of Bo Diddly’s Who Do You love?

He joined the Detroit Contemporary 5, led by trumpeter Charles Moore, in the mid-60s. Its first edition also included drummer Danny Spencer, bassist John Dana and saxophonist Larry Nozero. The DC5 was the house band of the Detroit Artists Workshop Society, an arts collective spearheaded by legendary poet and activist John Sinclair.

In the 70s, Ron played with some of the later expanded editions of the CJQ, led by Charles Moore and pianist Kenny Cox, exploring more post-bop and avant-garde paths. He participated in the artistic self-determination efforts of the 70s with the Tribe and Strata organizations, producing concerts and records. Ron was featured on a couple Strata releases, CJQ’s Locations and Lyman Woodard’s Saturday Night Special.

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