I only had the good fortune to meet Ron Hockett in person once — at a John Sheridan Dream Band session for Arbors Records at Nola Studios in Manhattan. Of course I’d heard him play before, so it was a pleasure to speak to him, but even more than his playing, I was impressed by his easy kindness, the quiet spirituality he brought in to the room, even when he was sitting silently, listening to a playback.

In case his sweet lucid sound isn’t familiar, here he is (with John Sheridan, James Chirillo, Phil Flanigan, Jake Hanna) on IF DREAMS COME TRUE:

Dreams coming true — and needing to come true — are the subject of this post.  Recently, Ron’s friend and mine, Sonny McGown, contacted me to say that Ron’s health was deteriorating.  Here’s the news from Alex, Ron’s stepdaughter:

In February, Ron received a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, which is a chronic and progressive scarring of the lungs which eventually leads to respiratory failure. There is no cure, the only real treatment is a lung transplant. He is now a patient at Duke . . . and if all of the testing/evaluations/pulmonary rehab goes well, he will be listed for transplant. He has a five day evaluation in August. He is on supplemental oxygen with exertion but he can still play the clarinet thus far! It is our biggest hope that all of this will happen and that he will be healthy, will once again be able to travel and play larger gigs, see his friends, and of course be able to breathe! As you can imagine, the cost is enormous and he and my mom will be forced to relocate for a year or so.  I’ve just started a fundraising campaign on GoFundMe.

Here‘s the link.

And here’s some lovely music that I hope will evoke generous feelings and actions.  Let us do a friend a favor.

May your happiness increase!


  1. Love Ron’s playing!

  2. Michael, I’m sorry, I meant to say we gave what we could and posted the appeal on Bill Rossi Music’s Facebook!

  3. That you read it and gave something is all that matters! Thank you.

  4. Frank Wilner

    Michael, really sorry to hear this news about Ron. I never had the good fortune of meeting Ron but some years back I learned about his Arbors recording Finally Ron & loved it. I have played him often on my shows & I recall e-mailing the folks @ Arbors asking that they record him again as a leader along with John Sheridan on piano. His album is fabulous. I’m hopeful that things go well & he can return to playing..Thank you for filling us in on his situation. Best wishes, Frank

  5. I cannot thank Jazz Lives enough!! This is a beautifully written tribute and belive me, EVERY donation means the world to us! We appreciate you all!!! ❤️

  6. I just saw this. Is Ron still with us? Did he get a lung transplant? Is he still able to play – privately or publicly?

  7. Happily, this post is ancient history. Ron got the transplant, and last I heard is doing very well: I don’t know about his playing, and these days . . . .

  8. He’s doing GREAT! Thanks for asking!! He’s not playing gigs right now, he’s teaching my husband tunes on my husband’s new baritone. And thank you for all of your help with our fundraising, we couldn’t have done it without each and every generous soul.
    Hope you’re well!

  9. Dear Alex, when your husband puts down the baritone, could you ask him to give you a hug for all of us? And we send love and hoorays to Ron!

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