Ron Haynes was born and raised on the westside of Chicago. He began his music career at an early age, due to the strong encouragement from his parents Nerlean and Elbert Haynes. Ron was first introduced to music, playing the baritone horn. Through the influence of his first band director, Michael Angelo Taylor, his interest in music began to flourish. When Ron reached high school, he first marched in the ‘Scorpions’ Drum and Bugle Corp, and when he later began playing w/ the ‘Hornets’ Drum and Bugle Corp, he played soprano and trumpet. This marked the start of his career as a trumpet player. He quickly became involved in the concert, jazz and orchestra bands, while also playing the position of solo chair in the Malcolm X Community Concert Band (under the direction of Charles Taylor), and the Malcolm X Community Jazz Band (under the direction of Vincent Carter). While in the Malcolm X Community Jazz Band, Ron played the various mid-west jazz festivals (Governors State University, Kennedy King and Elmhurst College). Ron had already begun working the blues circuit around Chicagoland and started his own band, playing at various private parties around the city.
Ron was offered a scholarship to attend Elmhurst College, but thru the encouragement of his first band director, he chose to attend Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. During the two years he attended this university, he learned to sharpen his musical abilities under the direction of his new mentors, Dr. Edward Graves, Dr. Richard Lee and Benjamin Kirk. Dr. Edward Graves was the concert band director and expanded Ron’s ability to play other types of music at a different level. Under the stern direction of Dr. Richard Lee, Ron was able to develop his lead trumpet, music reading skills, and solo capabilities. Benjamin Kirk also played an important role, as through his direction, Ron was able to discover new ambitions playing the trumpet.
Ron later transferred to North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina, where he studied under jazz great, Donald Byrd. Through his influence, Ron learned to practice, stay focused, and pursue his dreams of becoming a professional musician. He also became involved with NCCU (North Carolina Central Connection Unlimited), a band produced by Donald Byrd and Dr. Charles Brown, a teacher and member of the band. It is here that Ron had his first taste of recording an album. During his stay at NCCU, Ron was also involved in the jazz band, playing in many east coast jazz festivals.
Ron returned to Chicago, where his music career was put on hold for 5 years. During this time, he became involved in working with underprivileged, abused and neglected youth. Getting back into music, he started playing with the Chicago State Community Jazz Band and at the Cotton Club, as a member of the house band, ‘Jazz Friends.’ He continued to play there for five years, while working with other bands such as ‘The Gentlemen of Leisure’ (17 piece pop band), and working other jobs to support himself. Broadening his horizons, he also played with ‘Dhamba 8’ (world beat band), which marked the first CD on which he recorded.
It was through his many years of playing at the Cotton Club that Ron met actor/comic, Bernie Mac. Ron took on the role of horn section leader for the ‘Mac Men,’ for Bernie’s HBO variety show ‘Midnight Mac with Bernie Mac,’ writing and arranging various horn parts. Through this involvement, he also had the pleasure of working with Chaka Khan, George Duke, Brian McKnight, Sugar Blue, Sheila E., and Brown Stone.
Ron formed his own horn section, the ‘Chicago Storm Horns,’ which went on to join the Ohio Players. This was a special opportunity, as Ron had grown up playing and listening to their music. From them, Ron was able to learn about real ol’ school, funk music, and how to incorporate this style of music into his own jazz style. Ron enjoyed touring with the band for 2 years and moved on to play with Liquid Soul (acid jazz band). Under the leadership of Mars Williams, Ron was able to stretch out and display more of his talent as a soloist. Through his involvement, he was able to tour the United States, Canada, and parts of Europe. He also recorded for CD’s with this band (‘Liquid Soul,’ ‘Make Some Noise,’ ‘Here’s the Deal’ which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album in 2001, and ‘Evolution.’).
In October of 1997, Ron released his first CD as a solo artist, ‘Cool Work.’ This CD consists mostly of original songs and arrangements, written by Ron and long time friend, Spright E. Simpson III. After the release, Ron began his ‘Cool Work’ tour, playing in various clubs around the mid-west ) such as the Cubbie Bear, Blue Note, Back Room, and the Green Room), and played in the Cancun Jazz Festival in May 2001. He also opened for such well-known artists as Jonathan Butler, Kurt Elling, DeeDee Bridgewater, and Hugh Masakela, and has also subbed in with the Count Basie Orchestra. In 2003, Ron as able to tour Europe playing the blues with Lucky Peterson.
Ron was featured on the ‘Urban Knights IV’ cd, working with Ramsey Lewis, as well as ‘The Urban Knights Presents the Chicago Project.’ In 2003, he completed and released his second cd, ‘Can You Hear Me?’, and in 2005, Ron completed 2 collaborative projects (‘Two Man Crew,’ featuring Ron on trumpet/flugelhorn and Vic Baker on drums, and ‘Something for the People’ with Steve Butler.) That same year, Ron worked as a member of Lenny Kravitz’s rock band, touring the US, Europe and South America.
Due to his recent venture, Ron can now add acting and singing to his list of talents, successfully winning a part in the critically renown play ‘Ella’, playing various roles including that of Louis Armstrong, as well as playing his trumpet in ‘The Buddy Holly Story’ (in which Ron was also utilized as a sub for one of the actors/singers, portraying the MC at the Apollo Theater). Ron completed and released his 3rd cd, ‘Journeyman’ and looks forward to hitting the tour circuit again with his own band