Ron Friedman Trumpet 

Ed. Note: Ron Friedman was an ‘adopted’ member of the New Trier West High School Jazz Ensemble. A very talented high school trumpet player, his high school, like many during that time, had no jazz program. His trumpet teacher, Burt Tobias, inquired as to Ron’s attending rehearsals of the NTW Jazz Ensemble. Everyone liked Ron and he became a particularly good influence on the trumpet section of the NTW Jazz Ensemble. Ron participated in non-competitive performances. He took this privilege seriously and became a valued member of the jazz ensemble. He attributes much of his musical career, and success, on the ‘luck’ of being able to participate, and learn, from his experiences with the New Trier West Jazz Ensemble. Ron graduated from his high school in 1968 and is included, and belongs, in the 1968 Yearbook on our website.

I enjoyed playing in the New Trier West High School Recording Jazz Ensemble during the years 1967-1968. I have always considered this association a defining moment in my musical development on trumpet. I owe a great debt of gratitude to all the members of the ensemble and especially to its director, Roger Mills.

Highlights of My Career

  • Joined the Chicago Federation of Musicians Union, Local 10-208 at the age of eighteen and immediately started working in the house band at the Empire Room of the Palmer House while I was studying for my Master of Music Education Degree from Northwestern University.
  • Performing experience with Chicago union musicians continued during my work in the Graduate Degree in Music Performance from Northern Illinois University.
  • Studied improvisation with Joe Daley in Chicago and was a lifelong student of trumpet with Burt Tobias.
  • Toured as trumpet soloist with the Woody Herman Band with such jazz greats as Joe Lovano, Frank Tiberi, Al Vizzuti, and more.
  • Joined New York Mary, on the Arista/Freedom label (Clive Davis). New York Mary shared the stage with the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Band, Tony Williams LifeTime Band, Dave Liebman, Charles Earland, Bill Withers, and more. The album we recorded, “Piece of the Apple,” was named pick of the week by Record World, Billboard, and Cashbox Magazines.
  • Returned to Chicago from New York, and the road bands, and then started a long career as a Studio Musician performing more than 6000 recording sessions for radio and television commercials, movies soundtracks, and recording artists.
  • During this time period I held a position on the Board of Directors of the (RMA) Recording Musicians Association.
  • Played lead trumpet in the house band at the Mill-Run Theater, in Niles, Illinois.
  • Performed in many Chicago area theaters including the first run opening of The Producers, 42nd Street, Catch Me if You Can, Hair, and many more…
  • Performed on many Soundstage television concerts including shows with Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick, and more
  • Recorded three albums with Mike Smith on the Delmark Label. I have also recorded with Ramsey Lewis, Richie Cole, Styx, Perry Como, Dennis DeYoung, Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows, and performed with Diana Krall, Ella Fitzgerald, Carmen MacRae, and many others.
  • Performed with Jaco Pastorius and helped him assemble/contract a band for a tour of
  • Worked as a contractor and music director of a variety of special event bands, both private industrial events and public events.
  • Performed at Andy’s Jazz Club on Thursday nights for sixteen years along with performances at the Green Mill, and Bop Shop.
  • Music Director/Coordinator/Contractor of the St. Lukes Fashion Show at Symphony Hall for seven years.
  • Toured with Frank Sinatra as jazz soloist for five years.
  • Became a bandleader of private event bands and I was awarded Best Private Event Band in Chicago 2012 by the Reader Magazine.
  • Performed in the Humanities Festival Orchestra at Symphony Hall in Chicago many times.
  • Worked in every aspect of the music business as a performer, leader, contractor, and negotiator.
  • Was a real estate investor for many years having studied investing with Lorenzo Spencer.
  • Wrote my own contract templates both in the real estate business and the music business for many years.

I am now, in retirement, in Arizona, and have taken up landscape oil painting and in addition spend time in Italy.
I conclude as I began, with sincere gratitude for my lifelong friendship with Roger Mills and many of his students.