Ron Bridgewater began his professional career in 1972 with a State Department tour of Japan, Europe, the Soviet Union, and the United States in the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra. After three years with the band and several recordings, he appeared as a regular member of ensembles led by such jazz greats as Max Roach, McCoy Tyner and Horace Silver. Along with his brother, trumpeter Cecil Bridgewater, Ron led a group known as the Bridgewater Brothers which recorded two albums and toured the United States and Japan. He also toured with jazz great Cab Calloway.
Prof. Bridgewater was also frequently on call for Broadway shows such as Ain't Misbehavin', Sophisticated Ladies, and Lena Horne - The Lady and Her Music, for which he was also assistant musical director. For more than 20 years, Bridgewater was a mainstay on the New York music scene, where he taught in Billy Taylor's Jazzmobile Workshop and freelanced.
He is featured in Cecil Bridgewater's 1998 CD release, Mean What You Say, on Brownstone Records. He has been a featured performer in New York's Sweet Basil Club and The Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles, and he performed by invitation at the International Association of Jazz Educators Conference in Anaheim, California, where he received a Certificate of Appreciation for his outstanding service to jazz education.
At the University of Illinois, Prof. Bridgewater teaches jazz saxophone and improvisation.