Jon Dryden- a lifetime in music

When Jon Dryden was in second grade he was already composing short operas. His father was a elementary school music teacher so he started his musical education around the time he started to learn the alphabet. I attended elementary school through college with Jon. While I was living in NYC he played in my Latin-Jazz quintet. Jon has always been a musical genius and he has grown into a truly amazing pianist and composer.

Here is his musical bio in his own words:
"In my education, I would have to give greatest praise to my parents, as they really were my first educators. My dad, being a jazz musician himself, hipped me to Charlie Parker and Clifford Brown while I was in eighth grade. He also got me into classical music from age four on, from Bach to Bartok. My next really formative teacher was Don Keller,the leader of the Aptos High School Jazz band. Through playing the music of Duke Ellington in the band,he got me on the road to composition for larger ensembles, resulting in three big band charts I wrote for the band, and the creation of my own nonet,which was a finalist in the Monterey Jazz Festival high competion when I was a junior. Mr. Keller also gave me a Bill Evans tape when he learned I wanted to be in the band. I wore that tape out,and Bill Evans will always be a major influence on my music.
I attended the Berklee College of music from 1987-1991, receiving a BA in piano performance. The most important teacher for me there was Herb Pomeroy, whose Line Writing class was probably the best class I have ever taken. Herb formulated his system through the study of Duke Ellington's music and how Duke, like Bach, uncocsciously created a formula of rules for writing for larger ensembles. All the counerpoint I had taken previously now rang true, and I understood the importance of creating individual lines for each instrument within a larger musical line. Herb did for Ellington and Gil Evans what J.J. Fux did for Bach; codifying a series of rules that each of the composers followed while creating their works of genius.
I spent two summers at the U Mass workshop 'Jazz in July' where I had the fortune to have master classes with Dr. Billy Taylor. Dr. Taylor imparted so much information and history to all of us that I can't thank him enough. It was an honor to be in the same room with someone who had played with all my heroes and was at the formation of Bebop.
In 1995, I began restructuring my piano technique under the genius of Burton Hatheway, a classical piano guru in Fairfield,CT. Burton has had a tremendous influence on me not just for my playing, but my knowledge of music, history, and culture. His knowledge appears to be limitless, and I have learned even more of classical theory and composition from him, which I have applied to all aspects of my composing. My many musical friends are never to be overlooked, as they are many and how much they have given me as a person and musician is unfathomable. There seems to be no shortage of great jazz piano players on the NY scene today, despite the lack of places to play. Some of the players I am most familiar with and admire are: (in no particular order) Ethan Iverson, John Stetch, Bruce Flowers, George Colligan, Jamie Saft, James Hurt, and Marc Cary, but to name a few. Of the established players, Brad Mehldau, Danilo Perez, and Larry Goldings are some of the young players I enjoy listening to. My goals for the future include composing for orchestra and chamber groups, as well as further development with my trio and the groups High Noon and Cocktail Angst. I've been working on pentatonic patterns as formulated by Charlie Banacos, as well as playing a phrase over a hard chord progression with the chord tones guiding the shape of the phrase. I find this static placement in the form of a motif allows for further understanding of the tune's harmony, and gets a sense of development in my solos."

Here is Jon playing some of his original compositions in his Park Slope apartment .
Leaving Soon
Love in Squalor
Nobody Loves Me
Sleeping Wanderer
I shoot these in 1999 with Scott Marshal

A few of the groups that Jon plays with in NYC:
Red Time
Cocktail Angst

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