Classics: Ronny Jordan – In Full Swing (Island)
I suppose the first track comin’ to mind to those of you happenin’ to have heard of Ronny Jordan would be his cover version of Miles Davis‘ ‘So What’. If not his collaboration with Guru as a part of his ‘Jazzmatazz Vol. 1’ album on ‘No Time To Play’. Although the man had way more than this. With absolute delights such as ‘The Jackall’ featuring Dana Bryant. But also the stellar ‘Under Your Spell’ along with Fay Simpson and Truth Anthony. And, as you may guess, the aptly titled ‘In Full Swing’. A boilin’ groove we just couldn’t pass on.
Strangely enough, Island didn’t do that much of it. Eventually givin’ it a B-side 12″ release along with ‘Under Your Spell’. This in addition to a CD single package. Meanwhile focusing on other cuts such as the latter in addition to ‘The Jackall’ and ‘Tinsel Town’. This pretty much explainin’ how ‘In Full Swing’ ended up being overshadowed at the end. Such a pity, I would say, despite an undeniable appeal and another brilliant production work by the likes of Ray Hayden who shared the duties with Jordan.
‘In Full Swing”s just what we get…
A self-proclaimed disciple of Wes Montgomery, Ronny Jordan came to prominence back in 1992. This with the release of his debut-album – ‘The Antidote’ – which feature a brilliant cover version of Miles Davis‘s seminal ‘So What’.
‘The Quiet Revolution’ followed the year after. This with the inclusion of ‘The Jackall’ which stands as another signature cut of him. But also the aptly (although underrated) titled big band-esque ‘In Full Swing’ co-produced with Ray Hayden (Opaz, Martine Girault, Swing Out Sister). Not to mention the brilliant ‘Under Your Spell’ that saw him sharing the bill with Fay Simpson and Truth Anthony.
Jordan eventually collaborating during the same period with the late Guru on his memorable ‘Jazzmatazz Vol. 1’ compilation. Thus getting him extra followers Stateside.
On the heels of his collaboration with Guru, he joined forces with another rapper the year after. In other words, DJ Krush with whom he released the ‘Bad Brothers’ album back in 1995. This before comin’ to put and end to his record deal with Island after the release of his ‘Light To Dark’ album in 1996. Then resurfacing 4 years after on Blue Note. Thus welcomin’ DJ Spinna and Roy Ayers, respectively on ‘Mackin” and ‘Mystic Voyage’, as parts of his ‘Brighter Day’ album. An effort that brought him to be gettin’ a nomination for the Grammy Award for “Best Contemporary Jazz Album”.
Meanwhile, as a side musician, he cam to jam along with countless luminaries. From Vivienne McKone to DJ Krush and Maysa Leak. Eventually bringin’ his contribution to the 1994 ‘Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool’ album. This sharing the bill with Donald Byrd and Guru on ‘Times Is Moving On’.
All in all, the man has released a total of 10 studio albums. With his latest – ‘Private ‘n Public Entertainment’ – back during the Summer of 2012.
Ronny Jordan‘s body got found at his London home several days after he had returned to the UK from touring in South Africa. With the date of his death officially declared on Jan. 13, 2014. He was 51.