The multi-instrumentalist, Ron Handy, was born and reared in Montgomery, Alabama. He began playing guitar in grade school. In junior and senior high school, Ron began to concentrate primarily on Alto Saxophone and he participated in various county and state honor bands. During high school, Ron not only played in the marching, symphonic, and jazz bands, but he also arranged and composed music for these bands. This pivotal period in his life influenced Ron’s decision to pursue a career in music.
After high school graduation, Ron enrolled in college at Alabama State University, where he earned a music degree with honors. Presently, Ron is employed at Alabama State University in the Department of Music. Ron has been the recipient of the ASU President’s Excellence Award and he was inducted into the Lanier High School Hall of Fame (his high school alma mater) for creative musicianship and service to the community. He has also received numerous other awards for music and for community service.
Throughout his professional career, Ron has performed with or as the opening act for various jazz, pop/R&B and gospel stars including: Grammy Award winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum; Grammy Award winning vocalist Chrisette Michele; Outstanding a cappella group and 10 time Grammy Award winners Take 6;9 time Grammy Award winner Alicia Keys; Platinum selling R&B vocalist Avant; jazz group Pieces of a Dream; vibraphonist Roy Ayers; vocalist Phyllis Hyman; trumpeter Tom Browne; saxophonist Najee; 9 time Grammy Award winner and Pulitzer Prize recipient Wynton Marsalis; super producer/keyboardist George Duke; saxophonist George Howard; vocalist Rachelle Ferrell; vocal sensation and 2 time Grammy Award winner Patti Labelle; jazz keyboardist Joe Sample; 5 time Grammy Award winner and pop/rock/country/gospel hitmaker B.J. Thomas; producer/drummer Norman Connors; gospel vocalist Lisa McClendon; gospel/jazz guitarist Roland Grissum; smooth jazz violinist Jerald Daemyon; Hit r&b/pop vocalist Peabo Bryson; father/son recording artists Eddie Levert (O’jays) & Gerald Levert and gospel recording star John P. Kee. Ron has also performed with and composed music for actress Bernadette Stanis (formerly known as “Thelma” from the hit TV show “Good Times”), who is also skilled at writing poetry.
A versatile musician with a love for different genres of music, Ron Handy has played gospel, classical, jazz and pop/R&B extensively. He has served as the musical director and/or woodwind/keyboard player for many theatrical productions including: “The Wiz”; “Dreamgirls”; “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope”; “Purlie”; “Ain’t Misbehavin’; “The Meeting” and many others.
Ron has been featured on both local and national television, along with local and international radio. He has been featured on CNN and he was the “Artist of the Week” on the international radio program “Jazz From The City,” hosted by renowned jazz DJ Ken “Spider” Webb. Ron Handy has produced and performed on numerous recordings over the years. He has worked as a studio musician and engineer, as well as producer and arranger for several recording projects, including television theme songs and commercial jingles. Ron has released his own CDs, which include smooth jazz “covers” of the R&B group Jodeci’s “Forever My Lady” and jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves’ “Come In.” He has also recorded smooth jazz versions of other pop/R&B hits, including Brian McKnight’s “The Only One For Me”.
Being a spiritual person who loves to give honor and praise to God, Ron released a CD of gospel favorites titled “Sign Me Up,” which has received heavy rotation and acclaim from radio stations and listeners alike. Gospel and “smooth jazz” stations also embraced a CD single titled “He’s Worthy”.
Despite maintaining a demanding professional career, Ron enjoys taking the time to visit schools and churches to perform and talk to young people about music, life and career goals.
Throughout the years, Ron has been blessed to perform for wide and diverse audiences. His versatility has allowed him to become one of the most sought after musicians in the southeast. Having been given the gift of music, Ron Handy thanks God and considers it a privilege and an honor to be able to share his music with others.
BY: RON HANDY
Narrated by: Candy Capel