Appearing and performing as "Ryan Montana," a singer-songwriter, jazz saxophonist, recording artist, internationally touring musician, and record producer, Ryan was born and raised in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Bozeman. After recording and touring based out of Southern California for 11 years, he has been back in Bozeman for the last 8 years teaching saxophone and jazz at MSU. Through journeys with industry stars, and studies with music legends, Ryan has developed as a contemporary indie artist belonging to the growing community of studied, genre melding, multi-faceted performers that are taking music back to its collective roots while exploring and researching the art form of Jazz and its connection to the cultural history, political evolution, and sociological condition of America. As one of the last remaining members of the iconic rock group Ike Turner and The Kings of Rhythm, he was a featured soloist and horn section leader on the Grammy Award winning 2007 ablum, Risin' With the Blues.
He moved to California in 2000 to serve as the Artist Community Director for MP3.com after studying Jazz Performance and African History at The Hartt School under Blue Note Records master saxophonist Jackie McLean, and apprenticed alongside bassist Nat Reeves (Kenny Garrett, Pharoah Sanders); then studied Music Performance and Cultural Anthropology at Duke University under saxophone colossus Sonny Rollins and jazz legend Paul Jeffrey (Thelonious Monk). After doing short stints and performances with music legends Chuck Berry and Ray Charles, Ryan has been an active teacher, studio musician and live performer world-wide, playing in over 50 countries as the alto saxophonist and horn section leader for the late Ike Turner, and remains an active member of the historically iconic band "The Kings of Rhythm," credited with recording and producing the very first Rock and Roll song ever, "Rocket 88," in 1951.
While at Duke, he lead and arranged music for the award winning Duke University Concert Jazz Ensemble, and has also appeared and taught at numerous international festivals and workshops including The Stanford Jazz Workshop, The North Carolina International Jazz Festival, Jazz Montana and Hatch Festivals, Aspen Jazz /Snowmass Festival sponsored by the Thelonious Monk Institute, Acqui Terme Jazz Festival, Vienne Jazz Festival, Kansas City Barbeque and Blues Festival, Bordeux 24 Hours of Music Festival, Alicante Jazz Festival, Rauma Blues Festival, Santa Blues Festival, Gexto Jazz Festival, the Conservatory of Monaco, Trasimeno Blues Festival, The Legendary Blues Cruise and many more. He has appeared on multiple recording projects as a sideman, co-writer and producer/engineer, and has recorded several albums as a leader on SOTA Records. "A Dance Called Life," was produced by the famed Big Mountain founder, Quino McWhinney; and was mastered by the legendary Bernie Grundman in Hollywood, CA. Ryan Montana and The Ten O'clock Scholars release "Electric Picture Show," garnered national attention and charted on several independent radio stations internationally.
He was awarded with "Jazz Artist of the Year" honors in the 2004 Los Angeles Music Awards. His latest studio time and production work has been with the acclaimed singer-songwriter Earl Thomas which recorded and broadcast a live show from London on BBC radio, and with a new artist collective called "JAAMA," which features Senegalese artists and the likes of Tanmoy Bose, Pandit Ravi Shankar's Tabla player; and Paul Smith who toured and recorded with Natalie Cole and Bill Withers. As the newly tenured Jazz Professor at Montana State University, Ryan is currently pursuing and continuing his performing, teaching and recording career after recently completing a Masters degree in American Studies, while researching the links between Native American music and early jazz, Black Studies, and writing and researching the jazz tradition and how that unique narrative directly relates to American culture and history.