Yolanda Adams, Deborah Allen, Patti Austin, Susan Aston Mandy Barnett, Margaret Becker, Suzy Bogguss, Carla Bonoff, Kim Boyce, Deana Carter, Debbie Boone, Maire Bremen, Kim Carnes, Ahnjel Chavonne, Charlotte Church, Claudia Church, Natalie Cole, Karen Lynn Deal, Celine Dion, Roberta Flack, Barbara Gay, Amy Grant, Nanci Griffith, Nan Gurley, Sharon Haygood, Faith Hill, Kim Hill, Whitney Houston, Janis Ian, Jewel, Wynonna Judd, Bonnie Keene King, Alison Krauss, Shelby Lynne, Kathy Mattea, Reba McEntire, Martina McBride, Mindy McCready, Ruth McGinnis, Lorrie Morgan, Olivia Newton-John, Nichole Nordeman, K. T. Oslin, Twila Paris, Sandi Patti, Cheryl Prewitt, Patti Roberts, Reba Rambo, Donna Rollene, Kathy Sullivan, Donna Summer, Diane Susek, Pam Tillis, Shania Twain, Tanya Tucker, Valeria, Dionne Warwick, Vanessa Williams, CeCe Winans, Mom Winans, Julie Wolfe, Chely Wright, Trisha Yearwood, Norma Zimmer
Clay Aiken, Stephen Amerson, Robert Bailey, John Berry, Clint Black, Terry Blackwood, Michael Bolton, Ray Boltz Dave Boyer, Paul Brandt, Jim Brickman, Carman, Johnny Cash, Bruce Carroll, Peter Ceteara, Gary Chapman Stephen Curtis Chapman, Michael Crawford, Dino, Don Doig, Bryan Duncan, Michael English, Bill Gaither, Vince Gill, Robert Goulet, Al Green, Buddy Green, Steve Green, Larnell Harris, Dann Huff, David Huntsinger, Donnie MacGuire, Fernando Mancillas, Delbert McClinton, Charlie McCoy, Michael McDonald, Barry McGuire, Robert Miller, David Mustain, Aaron Neville, Smokie Norful, Mark O’Connor, Doug Oldham, Jong Ho Park, Gary S. Paxton, Keith Perry, Whently Phipps, Jon Randall, Colin Ray, Cliff Richards, Richard Roberts, Kenneth Schermerhorn, Jason Sellers, John Secada, Leonard Slatkin, Michael W. Smith, Larry Steele, George Strait, John Michael Talbot, Russ Taff, Keith Urban, Luther Vandross, Ray Vega, Wayne Watson, Brian White, Roger Williams, BeBe Winans
Alan & Marilyn Bergman, American Boy Choir, Anderson University Choir, Annointed, Azuza Pacific University Choir, Baha’i World Choir, Bethany First Nazarene Church Choir, Bev Darnall Singers, The Boston Pops, The Cathedrals, Clark Sisters, Dick Bolks Singers, D.C.Talk, Embassy, First Call, 4Him, Free Spirit, Gaither Trio, Heritage Singers, Hollywood Presbyterian Choir, Hollywood Strings, Illinois Symphony, Imperials, Jars of Clay, Lonestar, Kol Israel Orchestra, London Festival Orchestra, London Sessions Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Lyric Opera Chorus of Philadelphia, London Ambrosian Singers, Shelley Murdock and Kelly Price, Megadeath, Nashville Ballet, Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Nashville Festival Orchestra, Nashville Mandolin Ensemble, Nashville Opera, Nashville Pipes and Drums, The Nashville String Machine, The Nashville Symphony, The Nashville Symphony Chorus, The National Symphony of Washington D.C., Nielson and Young, Neville Brothers, The Oklahoma City Symphony, Oklahoma Singing Churchmen, Point of Grace, Oral Roberts University Orchestra, Oral Roberts World Action Singers, Princeton Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Regeneration, Saint Luke’s Chamber Ensemble (New York), St. Olaf Choir SheDaisy, Tennessee Repertory Theatre, Tulsa Symphony, Angie and Debbie Winans, Thomas/Cumberland Choir, Truth, Dick and Mel Tunney, Warren Brothers, Wheaton College Wind Ensemble
Brown Bannister, Barry Becket, Fred Bock, Tony Brown, Cedric Caldwell, Victor Caldwell, Jim Closser, Peter Collins, Rodney Crowell, Russ DeSalvo, Bob Farnsworoth, Bob Ferrell, Chris Ferren, Wendy Fly, David Hamilton, Mark Heimermann, Billy Ray Hearn, John Hobbs, Mike Hollingsworth, Dann Huff, David Huff, Shane Keister, Mark Kibble, Jay Landers, Mark Laycock, Mutt Lange, Stephen Lipson, Bob MacKenzie, David Malloy, Phil Nash, Greg Nelson, Edwin Oliver, Michael Omartian, Tom Price Margaret Selby, Dan Shea, Michael W. Smith, Paul Stillwell, James Stroud, Keith Thomas, John Thompson, Dick Tunney, Rick Wake, Paul Worley, John Vanore/Jack McCracken
Jeff Balding, Jerry Barnes, Steve Bishir, Jon Bolt, Bobby Brantley, Ronnie Brookshire, Robert Bull, Fred Cameron, Bob Clark, Bill Deaton, Eric Elwell, Toby Foster, Lee Groitzsch, Lee Hazen, Omi Haddomi, John Hurley, Brent King, Les Ladd, Sean Murphy, Eric Paul, Warren Peterson, Mike Poole, Randy Poole, John Sanders, Bill Schnee, Chris Taylor, Robin Thompson, Robb Wenner, Billy Whitington, Hank Williams
Mike and Lorie Casteel, Ron Cobb, George Cunningham, Rick Domenico, Jeff Lippencott, Tom McAninch, Eberhardt Ramm, George Tidwell
LIVE SHOWS PRODUCED/CONDUCTED, WRITTEN FOR, OR OPENED FOR
The Nashville Symphony Pops (nine years)
Deborah Allen, B.G. Adair Trio, Marilyn and Alan Bergman and Maureen McGovern, Keith Butterbaugh, Ray Charles, The Establishment (Big Band) Girls Night Out (with Kathy Mattea, Suzy Bogguss, Nanci Griffith, and Emmylou Harris) Crystal Gayle, Jim Hoke Band, Jan Horvath, Jack Daniels Silver Cornet Band, Michael Johnson, Diana Krall, Hal Linden, Melissa Manchester, Johnny Mathis, Kathy Mattea, John McDermott & Eileen Ivers, Michael McGuire, Maureen McGovern, Don Mclean, Roger Miller, Miss Cathy Dancers, Lorie Morgan & Jon Randall, Music and The Movies, K.T. Oslin, Mark O’Connor, Arturo Sandoval, Michael W. Smith and Annointed, James Taylor, Three Irish Tenors, Mel Torme, Ben Vareen
Roger Miller Brenda Lee Delburt McClinton
Amy Grant/Nashville Symphony Tennessee Christmas
1993 through 1997 Opened Gaylord Arena in 1996
Amy Grant Tennessee Christmas Tour with the NSO
1997 with 21 performances in 20 cities
Michael W. Smith, CeeCee Wynans, Katina Brothers
Celebration of Thanksgiving with Buddy Green
(Tennessee Christian Medical Center) Jim Closser
10 years with various artists
Chapel On Fir Hill , Akron, Ohio
Music Director for 9 years
Christmas Eve at TPAC
4 years 1976 – 1979
Food and fuel distribution Center by Jerry Verner
Denver Colorado Calvary Temple Red Rocks Concert
El Shaddai Tour
Evening With The Arts TPAC 1998 & 1999
NSO, Ballet, Theatre, Opera, and others.
Emmanuel Tour (1996)
Gaither Indianapolis Praise Gathering for Belie
Pittsburgh Carnegie Music Hall
Allison Krauss & Union Station with Nashville Chamber Orchestra
Bahai World Convention
New York Madison Square Garden 1996
Nanci Griffith & The Nashville Ballet
with the NSO and The Blue Moon Orchestra (Nanci’s Band)
Jars Of Clay at the Ryman
Nashville Children’s Choir
Blair Children’s Choir
Colorado Children’s Choir
Nashville Mandolin Ensemble
Nashville Musician’s Union 100th Anniversary Show
Artists Accompanied on the Keyboard
Bill Carle, Tony Fontane, Dave Boyer, Ethel Waters, Billy Graham Crusade organist
SYMPHONY INSTRUMENTAL SOLOISTS
Gary Armstrong, Jeffrey Bailey, Larry Borden, Erik Gratton, Charlene Harb, Patrick Kunkee, Licia Jaskunas, Anthony LaMarchina, Lee Caroll Levine, Dan Lochrie, Gilbert Long, Leslie Norton, Christopher Norton, Bobby Taylor, Mary Kathryn VanOsdale, The Percussion Section, The Woodwind Section, The Brass Section, The String Section, Lynn Bingham, LaMarchina Quartet
Academy Awards Show 1996, 1998
Anastasia (20th Century Fox 1997)
Billy Graham Christmas Television Show 1996
Boston Pops With Nanci Griffith
Boston Pops with Amy Grant
Christmas At The White House (NBC)
CMA Awards Show
Colorado University Stadium Fund Raiser
Crystal Cathedral Hour Of Power
Dove Awards Show 2005
Jerry Lewis (Oral Roberts Television Special)
Opra Winfrey Legend Show 2005
Opra Winfrey Mother’s Day with Amy Grant 1997
Oral Robert’s Television Show
5 years (1978 – 1982)
with The Lennon Sisters, Minnie Pearl, Mel Tillis
Sid and Marty Croft Muppets, Black Mountain Cloggers,
Vicki Carr, Mel Torme, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Jerry Lewis,
Robert Goulet, Natalie Cole, Corrie ten Boom, Gordon Twist,
The World Action Singers, The Dick Bolks Singers
NSO Holiday Pops 1998 with Martina McBride
Luciano Pavoratti ( For the Children of Liberia) 1999
Rosie O’Donnell Christmas 1999
Today Show (NBC)
Touched By An Angel
Con Air (Touchstone)
Pagemaster (20th Century Fox)
Dance with Me (1998)
Isn’t She Great (1999)
CHOIR BOOKS WITH ORCHESTRA
Alleluia! A Praise Gathering for Believers
His Love Reaching
Hymns for All Seasons
Now Sing Praise
Praise to the Risen Son
The Church Triumphant
For Unto Us A Child Is Born
Unto Us A Son Is Given
O Magnify The Lord
Kids Under Construction
Celebration of Worship
A New World
Song Of Thanksgiving
Watch The Lamb
Christ Is Coming To the Earth This Night
Flint Medical Center, Flint Michigan
Intercity Bible Church, East Lansing Michigan
First Church of the Nazarene, Flint Michigan
Detroit, Flint, Lansing, Indianapolis,
Youth for Christ International
National Can Company, Chicago, Illinois
Domain Advertising Company, Wheaton, Illinois
Calvary Baptist Church, Connersville Indiana
Chapel On Fir Hill, Akron Ohio
Calvary Temple, Denver Colorado
Golden Baton Award, Nashville Symphony 2001
Gospel Music Hall of Fame 2005
Belmont University Applause Award 2001
Ronn and Donna Huff Endowed Music Scholarship at the
Belmont University School of Music 2005,
First Gospel Music Album to go Gold 1974
Adjunct Professor of Orchestration, Anderson University 1977 – 1980
22 Gold albums
3 Double Platinum, 2 Double Platinum
2 Academy Award Shows
15 Dove Awards
RECORDED IN THESE CITIES
Nashville, London, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dublin, Alexandria (Indiana), Budapest, Philadelphia, Detroit, Oklahoma City
‘MY CAREER’ (Written by Ronn Huff)
This is a fairly accurate record of my professional activity in music
which had two beginnings –
(1) church related music, as best I can remember, started in church sometime around the age of fifteen in the year 1953 – phasing out sometime around the year 1985 – and
(2) the world of orchestration which began in the year 1969, concluding in the year 2005 – four years after my officially announced retirement. The careers overlapped and spanned over fifty years.
This account speaks primarily to career number two, which started with my orchestrating a 33 1/3 gospel record for soloist Diane Susek of York, Pennsylvania – recorded at the RCA Recording Studio on 16th Avenue in Nashville, Tn. The ride ended about four blocks away at Sound Shop Studio when I orchestrated and conducted three tunes for gospel singer, Steve Green.
As I scan the names of the people with whom I have worked, their cultural and stylistic range strikes me as being rather interesting, if not slightly amusing. There are some names missing due to my lack of memory.
Mine was a ‘curious’ career in that I never once dreamed or planned for –
didn’t even know such a career existed (after all I grew up in a General Motors town) – I had no formal education in music – no real instruction in orchestration and didn’t orchestrate a note until my mid twenties. I moved my family to a country music town I knew nothing g about – and the orchestration phase lasted so long (over thirty years).
I ‘learned as I went’, enjoyed some success, made some money (inherited some), and at the end, left on my own terms. Unbelievable!
Along the way I met and worked with some very capable and, in some cases, brilliant people. Of the 207 artists and groups for whom I arranged/orchestrated/conducted, about one fourth of them I never had the pleasure of meeting personally.
The bulk of my involvement was with the great instrumentalists, sound engineers, and music copyists of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra and the recording industry of Nashville, Tennessee and London, England.
I had no formula for success. If I had possessed such a formula,
I would have used it more frequently. I did develop a style and string sound
which eventually came to identify me and was, to a great extent, beneficial to me. Due to very hard work over a long period of time, I was able to raise my craft level to an acceptable height that, I surmise, made me hirable.
Most of the time, I was adaptable to what the artist or producer wanted.
In those instances I was called back for another opportunity. The misfires?
I ‘d rather not talk about…
A personal assessment: I possessed a modest talent – I worked very hard.
I was very lucky. I made some decent choices. I married well.
Bob MacKenzie moved to Nashville in 1964 to become the general manager of The Nashville Symphony. He joined the John T. Benson Publishing Company in 1966 as creative director. During his tenure, MacKenzie produced virtually every album Benson released, in styles ranging from Hale & Wilder to The Sego Brothers & Naomi. During this time, MacKenzie almost single-handedly raised the level of quality of Christian music recordings by utilizing some of Nashville’s best musicians and technicians and other measures such as taking several album masters at a time to London to add orchestration. Included on the list of his production credits includes The Bill Gaither Trio, The Stamps Quartet, Doug Oldham, The Rambos, The Oak Ridge Boys, The Imperials, The Speers, Truth, Re-Generation and many others. Alleluia: A Praise Gathering for Believers, the first gold record in Christian music, is among the classic albums produced by Bob MacKenzie. His long association with Bill Gaither led to the formation of Paragon Associates which managed Gaither copyrights, developed artists, created the ground-breaking hymnal, Hymns for the Family of God, and released albums on several artists including Don Francisco, whose “He’s Alive” became a Christian music classic. A partnership between Paragon and Zondervan purchased The Benson Company, installing MacKenzie as president. MacKenzie’s greatest contribution to Christian music, however, may be his involvement as a motivator, mentor and “inspirer” in the careers of scores of artists, writers and industry folks. The late Fred Bock spoke for many when he said, “I would have to say that Bob MacKenzie is the greatest creative catalyst that I’ve had in my life.”
For several decades, the American pianist Ross Tompkins was a popular musician amongst his fellow jazz men but, because of his commitments as a member of the house band on a long-running TV show and his work in the recording studios of Los Angeles, he didn’t bring his music to a wider live audience. His eloquent, laid-back sound is, however, evident on numerous recordings and he easily moved between the swing and bop styles. Tompkins was born in Detroit, in 1938, but raised in Florida, where he made his professional debut before attending the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
Based in New York in the 1960s, he established himself as an in-demand pianist: among the numerous – and diverse – bandleaders who called on his services during this period were the multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy, guitarist Wes Montgomery, and trumpeter Bobby Hackett, and he also worked with two of the best-loved quintets of the time, the Clark Terry and Bob Brookmeyer band and the Al Cohn-Zoot Sims outfit. However, most of Tompkins’s regular work was with the Kai Winding Trombones, with whom he toured extensively during his seven-year stint, from 1960 onwards. In 1967, Winding took the job of musical director of the Playboy Clubs, and Tompkins – who was briefly with Benny Goodman’s band in the early 60’s – decided to take advantage of the opportunities (a regular salary, plus the ability to play in jazz clubs at night) that TV work offered. In 1967, he joined the house band on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.
When the show transferred to Los Angeles in 1972, Tompkins went with it, effectively joining the long-established exodus of piano players to the West Coast. When Carson left the show in 1992, Tompkins quit the band. By this time, he was one of the most in-demand pianists on the LA scene, and a particular favorite of the trumpeter Jack Sheldon. Tompkins popped up as a sideman on many records in the late 1960s and 1970s. Among the many artists on whose recordings he featured are trumpeters Joe Newman and Roy Eldridge, and tenor saxophonists Illinois Jacquet and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis. He was reunited with Zoot Sims in 1976 when the tenor man came to Hollywood to record Hawthorne Nights for the Pablo label. Tompkins also co-led sessions with the likes of the violinist Joe Venuti and the vibes player Red Norvo.
From 1975, Tompkins recorded occasionally under his own name, initially for the Concord Jazz label. His debut solo album, Scrimshaw, was – as the esteemed American jazz critic Leonard Feather put it – “a revelation” that showcased Tompkins’s tasteful, crisp and elegant style. Writing about Scrimshaw, Feather said: “When you have heard a pianist as often as I have heard Ross Tompkins over the last 10 years or so, always acknowledging his eloquence and versatility, but almost invariably hearing him surrounded by a rhythm section and one or two horns (sometimes an entire big band), it comes as a surprise to hear him exposed, naked to the world, equipped only with an excellent grand piano, a good engineer, and instructions to stretch out with complete freedom.” His last album, Younger Than Springtime, was recorded for the Arbors Records label in 2000.
Ross died from lung cancer in St. Augustine, FL, June 29, 2006.