Born: August 18, 1981 Primary Instrument: Guitar
It has not taken young guitarist, Ryan Meagher, very long to make waves in the jazz community of New York City. Since graduating from San Diego State University, where he attended on a full scholarship awarded on performance, Ryan has quickly acclimated himself with the foremost musicians and venues on the New York jazz scene. Having a solid and consistent fan base in both Northern and Southern California, Ryan is quickly amassing a fan base in a scene that has a much more vibrant community. With cutting edge, creative compositions and a firm grasp on the tradition and language of jazz, Ryan is destined to have a long, fruitful musical career.
When he was a mere 16 years old, Ryan played with world-famous trumpet player, Wynton Marsalis, at the prestigious Northern California venue, Villa Montalvo. Though it could be said Ryan’s artistic vision and creativity have certainly progressed since playing with the established jazz star, Wynton still had some remarkable things to say about the budding musician. Marsalis asserted Ryan, “…has an incredible sense of the blues for a youngster.” And has, “got it”.
Though still quite young by jazz industry standards, Ryan helped launch San Diego’s premiere jazz club, Dizzy’s. Though Dizzy’s now has a prime downtown location with the addition of the new ballpark, and a few years of solid experience to help itself out, it started out as a warehouse space in a trucking company building, and no big name acts. But with help from Ryan’s numerous projects and other contributions from the Southern California jazz community like Gilbert Castellanos, Joe Bagg, Peter Sprague, Charles McPherson and others Dizzy’s has grown to be THE place to book in San Diego. Just ask Bill Frisell who recently had a date there with his quartet. From his successes in Southern California at places like Dizzy’s, Ryan was able to tour Mexico and Canada on separate occasions. This alone may be enough to guarantee that Ryan’s stock in New York will rise over the coming years, but couple that with his ability to gain a fan base in a new location and one may as well look for him in the NYSE. He has already led groups at such prestigious New York venues as The Knitting Factory, Brooklyn’s Center for Improvisational Music (C.I.M.), Arlene’s Grocery, The Bitter End, led a weekly jazz residency at the famed Kenny’s Castaways, The C Note, Coda, Café 111, Groove and 169 Bar. With many more New York clubs in his sights, Ryan is locked and loaded for a storming of the scene.
Ryan is very forward thinking with his music, but has certainly gained a lot of knowledge about the history and tradition of jazz music through his many prestigious teachers. Some of these teachers include modern jazz stalwarts like Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ben Monder, Steve Cardenas, and Peter Bernstein. Or players from a different generation such as well-known jazz educator, Mark Levine, post-bop guitar legend Kenny Burrell, Latin jazz giant Poncho Sanchez, and the renowned Heath Brothers. One of Ryan's current projects is leading a band consisting of some of New York's most sought-after up-and-comers. Loren Stillman on alto sax, Mike McGinnis and Matt Renzi on reeds, Vinnie Sperrazza on drums, and Geoff Kraly on electric bass make up the musicians who work with Ryan on his Atroefy project. The project produced a record that is now available from Fresh Sound New Talent Records, based out of Barcelona, Spain. Ryan also leads a Boogaloo band called, Oddibe Funky (pronounced Oh-di-bee Funky), which draws from a talent pool that includes Alan Ferber, Mark Ferber, Vinnie Sperrazza, Jared Gold, Dan Pratt, Dave Ambrosio, and Geoff Kraly.
If the recent past is any indication of the future, Ryan may end up being one of the front-running jazz musicians of his generation. What, with his creative and thoughtful compositions, his daring and organic improvisation, his hard work ethic, and determined attitude. Maybe all of these reasons are why Joe Bagg (Down Beat Magazine top rated organist) calls Ryan, “definitely one of the more promising young musicians I’ve come across.”
Willing to teach: