Jim Ryan was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota in philosophy. He began listening to bebop at about age 15 and took up the trombone but was forced to abandon it about a year later when his parents sent him to work in an electrode factory in North Carolina. Nearing his mid-30's and living in Paris, France he picked up the flute in about '68 and shortly thereafter acquired a c-melody sax. In the early 70's he participated in a year-long workshop organized and led by Steve Lacy.
Jim formed the "Free Music Formation" about this time, and played in Paris and other European cities. He returned to the States in 1975 and settled in Washington, D.C. where he formed the Art Performance Group in 1979. In 1987 he moved California and lived in Marin County until 1993 when he moved to Oakland and hooked up with the Bay Area Improv Scene. In 1997 he launched his own group Forward Energy which has been performing regularly since then. Jim has also participated in Marco Eneidi's American Jungle Orchestra, and Eddie Gale's Orchestra for World Peace.
In the Spring of 2000, he founded the Electro/Acoustic Sextet of Oakland which was a melding of free jazz and 'avant' academic styles. The group performed in Oakland and at the Big Sur Experimental Music Festival in May, 2000. In the Spring of 2000 he performed in the 401 Festival at Theatre Artaud in composer Matthew Burtner's piece for nine tenor saxophones, Portals of Distortion. In early 2001 formed: The Left Coast Improv Group. In late 2002 Jim formed a third group Subjects of Desire, which adds vocals and texts (written by Jim) to an avant improv approach. This ensemble has been through two incarnations and is about to embarck upon its third.
To find out more about Jim, visit www.bayimproviser.com/jimryan.