04/28/07

Drummer Ron Jefferson Hospitalized

Ron Jefferson—one of the unheralded, great bop drummers of the ’50s and ’60s—recently became stricken with a debilitating illness. He is currently staying at St. John’s Riverside Hospital in Yonkers, N.Y.

A native New Yorker, the 81-year-old Jefferson has performed with many of the bop era’s legends, including Charles Mingus, Horace Silver, Coleman Hawkins, Lester Young, Lou Donaldson, Roy Eldridge, Randy Weston, Freddie Redd, Joe Roland and Oscar Pettiford. He also recorded extensively with Les McCann and on a few sessions with Leroy Vinegar, Groove Holmes and Joe Pass. From 1957-1959, Jefferson joined up with Charlie Rouse and Julius Watkins to form Jazz Modes, who recorded a couple of albums for Atlantic.


Jefferson moved to California in the ’60s, where he recorded with Teddy Edwards, Zoot Sims, Carmell Jones, Tricky Lofton and Victor Feldman. He also toured and recorded with Rahsaan Roland Kirk’s Jazz and People’s Movement. Jefferson has recorded two albums as a leader: 1962’s Love Lifted Me (Pacific Jazz) and 1976’s Vous Etes Swing! (Catalyst).

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