Primary Instrument: Piano
Jim Ridl is a pianist, composer, arranger and educator and resides in New Jersey. He performs internationally, nationally, and locally, with the Jim Ridl Trio and Quintet, the Dave Liebman Big Band, in duet with Diane Monroe, the Denis DiBlasio Quintet, the JD Walter Quartet, the Ant Farm Quartet and the Manhattan Bones.
Jim has 5 critically acclaimed cd releases: Your Cheatin’ Heart and Other Works (2005) with Ron Kerber, JD Walter, Steve Varner, Jim Miller and Jef Lee Johnson on the Dreambox Media Label ((more on this recording); Door In a Field (2003, DBM); Jim Ridl Trio/Live (2001, DBM); Blues Liberations - solo piano (2000, DBM); and Five Minutes to Madness and Joy (1999, Synergy). more info on these recordings
Jim’s current compositional projects are Sol Llena Suite (Spanish influenced pieces for clarinet, voice, violin, guitar, piano, bass, drums and percussion); a new interpretation of Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata for piano; arrangements of classic children’s beginning piano pieces for various ensembles; an art song cycle Songs of the Green River for voice and piano; arrangements of Czech and Norwegian folk songs for small orchestra; a piano concerto for youth...
As an educator, Jim has taught piano for over 25 years and maintains a private studio of 10 advanced students. He has conducted piano master classes at schools and universities, including the University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA), Metropolitan State College (Denver, CO) and the University of Toledo (the Art Tatum Scholarship Artist in Residence).
Jim’s ten-year tenure with jazz guitar legend Pat Martino received many critically acclaimed reviews of performances around the world and produced 3 outstanding recordings. Jim’s inventive arrangement of the Sonny Rollins' classic Oleo can be heard on the Grammy-nominated release ”Pat Martino Live at Yoshi’s” with Joey DeFrancesco and Billy Hart. Jim’s composition Sun On My Hands can be heard on Martino’s Grammy-nominated release “Think Tank” in duet with Gonzalo Rubalcaba.
Jim is a member of the Dave Liebman Big Band, whose recording Beyond the Line is on the Omnitone label. (Jim also can be heard on vocalist JD Walter's collaboration with Liebman, Clear Day on Doubletime.)
Jim has also performed and recorded extensively with baritone saxophonist, Denis DiBlasio. They have recorded 5 CDs together, including Duets and Rhino on Encounter Records, and have performed most major jazz festivals and venues in the region.
Additionally, Jim has performed and/or recorded with Randy Brecker, Marc Johnson, James Moody, Slide Hampton, Clark Terry, Mickey Roker, Billy Hart, Mark Murphy, Ravi Coltrane, the Woody Herman Orchestra, the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band, Cab Calloway, Bill Stewart, Rich Matteson, Ralph Bowen, Donny McCaslin, Mark Walker, Jean Michel Pilc, Dick and Ted Nash, Ari Hoenig, Jimmy Bruno, Tim Warfield, Terrell Stafford, Vic Juris, Paul Nash, Carla Cook, Francois Moutin, Bruce Williamson, Matt Wilson, Sherman Ferguson, Tyrone Brown, Rosanna Vitro, Duane Eubanks...
Jim was raised on a farm and ranch in North Dakota, and discovered his love for piano and jazz at an early age. He attended college at the University of Colorado at Denver, where he earned his Bachelor's degree in Scoring and Arranging, and was awarded its Student Achievement Award for composing Ocean Sojourn, an orchestral tone poem which he performed with the Denver Symphony Orchestra, James Setapen, conducting. He is listed in the Who's Who of American Colleges and Universities. In Denver, Jim began his professional career performing and touring with local and nationally-recognized musicians, including the Grammy-nominated vocal jazz group, Rare Silk. In 1990, Jim moved to the East Coast to be part of its great music scene. From 1991-1993, Jim took part in the workshop of the NYC BMI Jazz Composers Orchestra under the direction of Manny Album, Jim McNeely and Roger Kelleway and composed two pieces for the orchestra. His composition “Five Minutes to Madness and Joy” was again part of special performances in 1994 and in 1998 for the workshop’s 10th anniversary.