Ron Yates

Ron is Music Director and plays bari sax with Diplomats of Swing Orchestra, a 10 pc. big band from Dallas

About Ron Yates

I Play Music!

I play, write, and direct music of all styles, but in particular big band jazz. I've been playing sax in big bands since joining "The Esquires" at age 14. The group was not only a big band that played gigs virtually every weekend, but an educational force that provided lessons for its teen-age members and I took advange of the free arranging lessons with arranger and woodwind specialist Bill Fritz. That group launched me on the path I still follow. I've been lucky to meet, perform with, and sometimes write for, many of the leading musicians in the past 57 years.

Some of these include Del Shannon, Lalo Schifrin, Richard and Karen Carpenter. While in high school and college I also played in the Imperials Big Band, Bob Schermer Big Band, Stewart Undum's The Sentimentalists - a Tommy Dorsey tribute band, the California Jazz Society directed by noted jazz educator Jack Wheaton, and Swing Inc. Teen Agers (SITA).


After high school in Torrance, California, I attend Long Beach State (CSULB) where I studied sax with Leo Potts and Harvey Pittel, composition with Gerald Strang, Leon Dallin, and Edward Applebaum and received a B.M. and M.A. in music composition. While a student I helped organize a jazz band which was taken over by the Music Department and has since grown into one of the leading jazz education programs in the U.S.

I continued my education at UC Santa Barbara where I completed my Ph.D. in music composition having studing with Peter Racine Fricker, Emma Lou Diemer and Edward Applebaum.


In 1974 I moved to Texas and began an 18 year teaching position at East Texas State University (now TAMU-Commerce) where I taught music theory and composition, humanities, and directed the Jazz Ensemble. My students include arranger and composer Key Poulan.

I was an active composer during the teaching years and a list of compositions is here.

After retiring from teaching I began a new career in the computer software, first as a tech writer and web designer and currently for a CAD/CAM software reseller in Dallas, Texas.

Current Bands

I continue to play sax, having joined the popular regional Rock & Roll band The Blandelles (tenor) and The Briefcase Blues Band (tenor), the original Blues Brothers tribute band. I returned to big bands, first with the Lovers Lane Jazz Ensemble (tenor and lead alto) in 2008, a group which I started directing in April 2018. I also played for several years in the Richland College Evening Jazz Ensemble (lead alto, tenor and bari). the Dallas Christian Jazz Band (lead alto). Currently I also play in the Jeff Taylor Jazz Orchestra (bari) and in 2018 co-founded and became music director for the Diplomats of Swing Orchestra (Facebook page), a popular swing big band in the Dallas area.

I also play tenor sax in the John Pierce group and Gen2Jazz jazz.


I have two children, a daughter who lives near Denver, Colorado, and a son who lives in east Texas; also, a step daughter who lives near Fort Worth and a step son who lives north of Dallas. Five grandchildren ranging in age from 11-25, and a wonderful life partner and girlfriend who is a talented and award-winning watercolor artist. Currently we reside in Dallas, Texas.


Director and Bari - Diplomats of Swing Orchestra

On Tenor with Gen2Jazz

Playing Bari Jeff Taylor Jazz Orchestra

Playing Bari in Joshua Experience

Playing Bari in Diplomats of Swing Orchestra

With Blandelles on Tenor

With Blandelles

Playing with the Blandelles

with Gerald Albright

Alto solo with Lovers Lane Jazz Band

With "Blue" Lou Marini

with Briefcase Blues Band