Monday, November 9, 2009


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Harrison Ridley Jr. (1938 (?) - February 19, 2009) was a teacher and broadcaster on African-American music.

Ridley taught music history at Temple University and Villanova University, he was the host of a Sunday night radio show on WRTI (90.1FM) entitled, "The Historical Approach to the Positive Music." The "historical approach" Ridley took was to focus in particular on one artist, and use his entire four-hour (8pm-12am) program to give the listener a sense of that artist's contribution to the tradition. Often he would focus on a specific period in an artist's career, such as early (1920s-1940s) Duke Ellington or Miles Davis recordings from the 1960s. The show ran for more than thirty years and was very popular in the Philadelphia area. Ridley would often reference the fact that his phone lines in the studio were full of calls--local jazz celebrities had been known to call in during a show as well.

Ridley was also a record collector and archivist. In the course of fifty years of collecting, he ammassed over 8,500 LPs, 3,000 78s, 200 45s, 300 CDs, and 6,000 books on African American history and music. He specialized in Duke Ellington albums (of which he had more than 600), and was also an expert on Benny Carter (he had 200 Benny Carter albums).[1

This definetley hit home for me..due to the fact he was my teacher during the late
90's at temple university. Harrison always took the time to answer questiones to the best of his knowledge, and gave in depth lessons in class that always had you walking away with something. To jump off the week we wanna start with a lil' musical education..with what harrison said was "classical music" jazz. If you feel it.. zone out to a john colrane throwback..


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