Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Jim Ryan
Saxophones, flute, spoken word
The Bay Area New Music community mourns the loss of Jim Ryan. He passed on December 27, 2023.


". . . Forceful, immediate, inventive." Signal to Noise

Jim Ryan was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and graduated from the University of
Minnesota in philosophy. 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 (see this title under 'Artists' on this site). 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. They will appear on May 12th in the Art Performance Lab series at the 1510 Performance Space in West Oakland (see Bay Improviser 'Calendar.'

Jim's most recent CD releases are:

'Forward Energy - Configurations 2002' Edgetone Records EDT 4009 2CD (double CD)January 2002

'Left Coast Improv Group April-May 2002' Edgetone Records EDT 4009 Apr/May 2002
personnel: Jim Ryan flute, kalima, small percussion • Scott R. Looney laptop computer electronics • Bob Marsh cello • Ron Heglin trombone • Jeff Hobbs cornet, violin & alto clarinet • Ernesto Diaz-Infante guitar • Karen Stackpole percussion and gongs.

'Subjects of Desire' jimzeen CD 1005 November 2002
with Jim Ryan flute, small percussion & voice, Aurora Rising vocals, voice, Scott R. Looney electronics, Bob Marsh voice & cello, Marshall Trammell drums

His latest CD 'Forward Engergy - Where Are They?' with Jim Ryan alto tenor sax & flute,Eddie Gale trumpet, Alicia Mangan tenor sax, Scott R. Looney piano, Kristjan Bondesson bass, and Marshall Trammell is available on Edgetone Records EDT 4025.

'Forward Energy - The Concept' Cadence Records, 2003, It is a quintet with Jim Ryan tenor/alto sax, Alicia Mangan tenor sax, Scott R. Looney piano, Adam Lane contrabass, & Marshall Trammell drums

Other CD releases: "Forward Energy @ the Yellow Room," a free jazz & poetry trio
(jimzeen productions CD 1001) 8/1997 /// "Triptych," (jimzeen 1002) 11/1999
post bop bop /// and the limited edition "The Left Coast Improv Group" (jimzeen 1003) was released 3/2001. "Forward Energy at 21 Grand" jimzeen CD 1004 was released in 9/00.

To order, e-mail-> or contact Edgetone Records: and click 'artists,' 'Jim Ryan'
Green Alembic at Berkeley Arts 5-17-14
CDs on which Jim Ryan appears:
Forward Energy The Yellow Room
Artist: Forward Energy
Title: The Yellow Room
Label: Jimzeen Productions CD 1001
Label page on this site: Jimzeen Productions
Jimzeen Productions CD 1001
Forward Energy Quintet
Artist: Forward Energy
Title: Quintet
Label: Jimzeen Productions 3
Label page on this site: Jimzeen Productions
Jimzeen Productions 3
Triptych Triptych
Artist: Triptych
Title: Triptych
Label: Jimzeen Productions 1002
Label page on this site: Jimzeen Productions
Jimzeen Productions 1002
Forward Energy May 2000
Artist: Forward Energy
Title: May 2000
Label: Jimzeen Productions Demo
Label page on this site: Jimzeen Productions
Jimzeen Productions Demo
Jim Ryan (10/26/1999)
Review of the Eddie Gale Inner Peace Concert