Having discovered jazz as a teenager during Britain’s postwar revivalist era celebrating the early 20th century music of New Orleans, Ron Atkins began playing the clarinet - ‘not very well,’ as he recalls - in a school band.
A schoolfriend introduced him to the modern jazz of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, and he began writing and reviewing for ‘Jazz Monthly’ magazine in the late 1950s.
After working as a librarian in 1959, Ron Atkins moved to the Esquire Records label, to work initially on promotion, and from 1960-63 as commissioner of Esquire’s cover designs from a variety of local graphic artists and photographers.
In the mid-'60s he began reviewing jazz gigs for The Guardian newspaper, a job that lasted for 30 years and eventually included record reviews. Ron was then asked by the late Richard Cook to join his new magazine, Jazz Review, and has continued writing for it since its merger with ‘Jazz Journal’. He has written for Jazz Express, Jazz the Magazine and Jazz on CD, and his work for non-specialist publications has included record reviews for Tribune and, later, a handful of articles for The Economist. Ron Atkins has contributed to several books, including ‘Jazz On Record’ and ‘Modern Jazz-The Essential Records’, ‘Jazz Now’, ‘Masters of Jazz Saxophone’ and the Rough Guide’s ‘Jazz-100 Essential CDs’.
He also edited and wrote much of the copiously illustrated coffee-table tome ‘Jazz - The Ultimate Guide’.
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