Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Sunshine, Ron (Ronald Scott)
Sunshine grew up in Denver, attending Steck Elementary, Hill Jr. High, and graduating from Manual High School in 1981. Parents (Ruby Kolnick (Sunshine) Barter (b. 1923), and Irwin Sunshine (b. 1922) divorced in 1966. Irwin re-married to Barbara Meer (now Sunshine), and Ruby to Gerson Barter. Irwin played trumpet in East Denver High School and University of Colorado (Boulder) big bands in the '40s. Ron's sisters Shari (b.1946), Peggy (b. 1948), Randi (b. 1952), and JoAnne (b. 1954) performed during the late '50s and early '60s as an a capella vocal group and won local awards. Music was always very much a part of the household, with JoAnne in particular a strong instrumentalist, singer and songwriter. When his father bought him the "Smithsonian Collection of Classic Jazz" when Ron was about 14, the youngster was hooked for good. Ron's first instrument was a drum set, which he received at the age of 5. H e performed in small combos in elementary school, Jr. high school, and high school, as a drummer and then as a vocalist. While attending Columbia University in New York City, where he moved in 1981, Ron took up the harmonica. He graduated from Columbia College with a BA in English in 1985. While there, he studied writing with Albert Murray, Kenneth Koch, Arnold Weinstein and others. He studied music with Jose Luis Greco and Joe Donovan. He continued studying music theory at the New School for Social Research in 1990. Ron and his second wife, Feather Frazier are currently expecting their first child. His first marriage to Tiziana Caloro ended in 1995.
Ron's first professional experience in New York was as a sideman playing harmonica with blues guitarist Brian Kramer in 1988-89, at such venues as Tramps, Sun Mountain, Kenny's Castaways, etc. In 1989 Ron traveled to Paris and began performing on the streets of France and Switzerland with Dan Fitzgerald and the Lost & Wandering Blues and Jazz Band. Here--as he fell in with such musicians as Madeleine Peyroux, Joe Flood, Charlie Hunter, Calder Spanier, Christian Fernandez, Belinda Blair, Billy Collins and others--he began to sing in the jazz tradition, and to study the canon of the Great American Songbook. He returned to New York in 1990 to form two of his own groups, one concentrating on funky R&B originals (the Smoking Section), and the other on '30s and '40s jump swing and standards (Full Swing). These groups performed constantly in NYC and around the world during the 90s, and up to the present time in such venues as Tramps (where Full Swing performed a regular Friday slot from 1990-1994 opening for such greats as Charles Brown, Jay McShann, Wilson Pickett, many others), Windows on the World, the Supper Club, Irving Plaza, the Beacon Theater, Roseland Ballroom, Midsummer Night's Swing (Lincoln Center), The New Jersey Center for the Performing Arts, the Bermuda Jazz Festival, the Stockholm Jazz Festival, Club Kristiania (Oslo), St Gervais Jazz (Switzerland), the Red Bank (NJ) Jazz and Blues Festival, Celebrate Brooklyn (at the Prospect Park Bandshell), The Supper Club, The Roxy (Boston), The Five Spot (Philadelphia), Louisiana Community Bar & Grill, and many others.
Band members have included drummers James Wormworth IV (the Conan O'Brien Show, Erskine Hawkins, Johnny Copeland, many others), Charlie Caldarola, and
Jason Pharr; saxophonists Joe Hrbek, Lee Greene, Craig Dreyer & Anders Gaardmand; pianists Rick Germanson (Craig Handy, Louis Haynes, Lonnie Plaxico), Eddie Swanston (Louis Armstrong's big band, Art Blakey, Ike Quebec, many others), Matt Ray, Paul Tillotson, Doug Petty, Jon Dryden; guitarists Joe Flood, Dan Hovey and Bruce Edwards (Sun Ra, James Carter); bassists Andres Villamil, Jim Greene, Andy Hess (Jon Scofield), Cliff Schmitt, Kelly Friesen, Dom Richards, Reggie Workman (one gig, but it was a great one); trumpeter and arranger Tim Ouimette (Ray Charles, Ray Baretto), Kenny Rampton, Guido Gonzalez; tap dancer and drummer Herbin Van Cayselle (Urban Tap), and others. Ron also sings with the big bands of Tim Ouimette and George Gee.
Pick it Up (1994); Sumpin Jumpin (1994); Straight Up (1998); Soul Drug (1998); Candy (2001); Blues for the Humans (2003); Compilations: New York City Swing (1997), PB Swing (Pottery Barn) (1998), Hipsters Zoots & Wingtips (1998), Christmas With a Kick (Restoration Hardware) (1998), The Gavin Holiday Sampler (1998)
Pinetop Perkins: Pinetop's Boogie Woogie (1992); Jono Manson: Almost Home (1995); Oren Bloedow: Luckiest Boy in the World (1997); Hardkiss: God Within (1999)
CNN (Newsstand)--Willow Bay interviews Ron in his home for a story about music on the internet, also featuring MC Hammer, Chuck D. Also aired on Delta in-flight entertainment. February 1999. BET (Jazz Central)--Ron and band are featured in a one-hour concert and interview show hosted by jazz great Ramsey Lewis. January 2000 News Channel 4 (NBC) New York featured live performance Dec 31, 2000. Fox Channel 5, NYC--Ron and band are featured in a segment about swing dance and music on "Good Day, New York." May 1998 Also seen on German, Brazilian, Japanese, Swedish TV, and the BBC at various times. Many local TV appearances in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania.
House Of Blues Radio Hour (hosted by Dan Aykroyd as Elwood Blues) featured several times, including best-of-year awards. Nationally syndicated on major commercial stations. The Rhythm Review (hosted by Felix Hernandez) Nationally sydicated R&B/Soul show. WPLJ FM, New York (Scott & Todd in the Morning) Ron has appeared live in the studio. Hundreds of other stations in the US and overseas have played Ron's music, including several live concerts broadcast over WVIA in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, PA area.
Books (featured in)
Mister Satan's Apprentice, a Blues Memoir by Adam Gussow ©1998 Pantheon
The Swing Book by Degen Pener ©1999 Little, Brown & Co. A complete guide to swing music, dance and fashion from the 1930s to today.
This Joint is Jumpin1, An Illustrated History of Swing by Tanja Crouch ©2000
Online essay by Lee Jeske: http://www.broadwayswing.50megs.com/cast/sulinernotes.htm
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