From the album Assimilation
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Ron Francis Blake is a Los Angeles based trumpet player and studio musician. Both his parents being musicians themselves, immersed him in the world of music by playing jazz records and his father quickly recognized Ron’s passion for music. At the age of 9, his father bought him an old cornet that Ron found at a yard sale. That was the beginning of Ron’s lifelong affinity for the trumpet. His father guided his path into his music career through lessons, discipline, and participation in the many music programs available around the city.
When Ron turned 16, he auditioned and attended the newly formed Hamilton High School Academy of Music magnet. During this time he studied with vibraphonist, Charlie Shoemake to further his jazz theory. This prepared him for his college years at Cal State Northridge, a school with a prestigious music program and alma mater to many current famous artists. Here he would develop his craft further in the renowned “A” jazz band under the direction of Joel Leach. It was during this time he would also start entering and winning many jazz competitions such as 1st place in the local Dolo Coker Jazz
competition and 1st place in the International Trumpet Guild Jazz Improvisation competition in the Netherlands. He started studying with the legendary trumpet guru, Bobby Shew. His career grew professionally, recording and performing with rap producer Dr. Dre and salsa singer, Celia Cruz.
On a full scholarship, Ron then attended the California Institute of the Arts for his Master’s degree. He would then go on to pursue his career as a full time professional touring and recording musician.
Ron has toured and recorded with many bands and artists some of which include Green Day, Spoon, Ben Harper, Ziggy Marley, the Brian Setzer Orchestra, and legendary percussionist, Poncho Sanchez. He has appeared as a side musician on many TV shows including Saturday Night Live with Spoon and Dancing with the Stars with Santana. Now, Ron Francis Blake is stepping away from the sidelines and releasing his debut solo album, “Assimilation”.
“Assimilation” started with an original track in 2008 and slowly came to fruition. Featuring some of LA’s finest musicians and some special guests, the album is a conglomeration of the styles of music that inspired Ron Francis Blake. From the straight ahead jazz of Miles Davis to the Latin rhythms of Cal Tjader, it offers a fresh new sound in the jazz idiom. Recorded at his studio, Twenty One Nine Knox, he was able to bring together the album’s core musicians such as Jimmy Branly on drums, Rene Camacho on the bass, vibraphonist Nick Mancini, and eclectic keyboardist Andy Langham. Some of the special guests featured are Poncho Sanchez who delivered his signature conga sound to the album as well as the fiery tenor sax solos of Seamus Blake. Walt Weiskopf also adds his profound tenor sax on Ron Francis Blake’s arrangement of harpist, Joanna Newsom’s haunting waltz, “You and Me Bess”. Los Angeles studio musicians, Wayne Bergeron and Andy Martin, contribute their super talents to the six-piece brass ensemble that was arranged for three of the tracks to add to the many colors and textures of this impressive album.
Aside from being a recording artist, Ron owns and operates his business Hi Speed Horns. In that capacity, he collaborates with artists around the world by composing and recording horn arrangements.
In addition, he is a music consultant for television and film and is involved in all aspects of the musical production including contracting musicians. Ron also participates in music education and has been featured as a keynote educator in music clinics at high schools and universities.
Ron’s debut album Assimilation is dedicated to his late father, Frank M. Blake, who continues to be a guiding light in Ron’s musical journey.