" I am grateful to God that
I am able to express my faith as a Christian in a context of music that
is one of America's greatest gifts to the world in the arts and
humanities." - Ruth Naomi Floyd
RUTH NAOMI FLOYD is a gifted vocalist-composer who has
been at forefront of creating vocal jazz settings that express Christian
theology for over 13 years. As a leader, she has released several highly
acclaimed recordings. Blessed with a soaring mezzo-soprano voice,
critics have praised Ms. Floyd’s music for its distinctive sound of
progressive ensemble jazz that is seamlessly blended with explicit
Biblical messages of unwavering faith in God.
Ruth Naomi Floyd leads her own multi-faceted ensemble and her recordings
consist primarily of original compositions. Her association as the
co-founder of Contour Records ® affords her complete artistic freedom to
record her own works and collaborate with a diverse range of musicians.
Ms. Floyd has recorded and/or performed with such notable
instrumentalists as James Newton, Gary Thomas, James Weidman, Jay
Hoggard, Bryan Carrott, Terri Lyne Carrington, Ralph Peterson, Jr., Uri
Caine, Charles Fambrough, Julian Joseph, Craig Handy, Reggie Washington,
Matthew Parrish, Mark Prince, Ed Howard, Tyrone Brown, T.K. Blue, Bobby
Zankel and Greg Tardy.
Ruth Naomi Floyd, is the daughter of urban missionaries. She was born
and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From a child she embraced the
Christian faith and its immense body of music served as a constant
influence and vital part of her life. She began to develop and share her
musical talents as a young child by singing in church choirs and
studying piano, flute and bassoon.
In 1994, Ruth Naomi Floyd released her debut recording, Paradigms for
Desolate Times as a 12 song-cycle relating to themes of faith in
salvation and rising above the difficulties of everyday life. Following
a 1997 performance of these songs in London, England; The Times of
London offered this important commentary:
“Ruth Naomi Floyd is a woman with a mission. She writes and performs
songs whose lyrics either quote scripture or roughly paraphrase it.
Unusually, however, instead of operating in the musical area generally
associated with gospel singers such as Mahalia Jackson, Floyd is an
out-and-out jazz singer ... Floyd’s voice highlights not only her superb
dynamic control, flexibility and faultless diction, but also her most
important asset: an unmistakable emotional integrity that conveys her
music’s power to even the most recalcitrant non-believer.”
Inspired by her reading of the biblical passage from
Romans 12:2; Ruth Naomi Floyd titled her 2nd recording, With New Eyes.
Released in November 1997, With New Eyes was recognized as one of the
best jazz vocal recordings of 1997 by jazz critic Gene Seymour for the
national African American news magazine Emerge.
In 1998, Ms. Floyd began a creative collaboration with pianist James
Weidman. New York based since 1978, Mr. Weidman has earned a reputation
as an exceptional vocal accompanist and sideman in demand for several
notable ensembles. He has performed and recorded with some of the
world’s most celebrated jazz vocalists, such as Abbey Lincoln, Cassandra
Wilson and Kevin Mahogany.
Ms. Floyd’s collaboration with James Weidman resulted in Mr. Weidman
serving as the Producer for her 3rd release, Walk and Not Be Faint.
Released in 1999, Walk and Not Be Faint presented original material
based upon Scripture from the books of John, Jeremiah, 1 Kings and the
Psalms. In a Los Angeles Times review; jazz critic Don Heckman offered
the following observation:
“This may sound like an arena far removed from the more familiar jazz
environs, but the quality of the music and, especially, Floyd’s solid
vocal skills make the album consistently rewarding... Floyd’s vocals
steer well clear of the overdone gospel-based techniques dominating so
much of pop singing. At heart, she is clearly a jazz artist using her
creative vehicle of choice to express her profound beliefs...”
In 2002, Ruth Naomi Floyd released her 4th recording, Fan
Into Flame as a concept album based upon the New Testament Scripture of
2 Timothy 1:6-8. Cadence Jazz Magazine described this recording as
“another powerful jazz recital from Ruth Naomi Floyd.” In a review in
JAZZIZ magazine, jazz critic Bill Milkowski characterized Fan Into Flame
as “a musically superb, soul-nourishing offering”. Mr. Milkowski went on
to describe Ms. Floyd as an “immensely gifted singer with an incredible
range and openness to pushing the envelope artistically.”
In November 2006, Ruth Naomi Floyd marked her 5th recording with the
release of Root to the Fruit. Produced by pianist- arranger James
Weidman, Root to the Fruit is perhaps Ms. Floyd’s preeminent conceptual
work to date as this recording conceptually seeks to offer listeners a
body of work that musically illustrates the historical nexus between the
origins of African American Christian faith and jazz music.
Ruth Naomi Floyd is also a committed music educator. She teaches music
at Spruce Hill Christian School in the City of Philadelphia and she has
recently been appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Vocals in the Church
Music Program at Philadelphia Biblical University of Langhorne,
Ruth Naomi Floyd continues to make the City of Philadelphia her home
where for over twelve years she has been devoted and active in providing
compassionate care and spiritual support to people affected by HIV and
YouTube Video Clips of Ruth and band in action
Root To The Fruit
"Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch
can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can
you bear fruit unless you remain in me."
"Let the word of
Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another
with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs
with gratitude in your hearts to God."
"Five hundred years ago,
the church reformer Martin Luther affirmed, “Next to theology, I esteem
and honor music.” Those who care deeply about theology often debate and
deliberate over questions of what’s best and proper for Christian music.
They inquire, for example, about what styles can carry sacred texts. Or,
more to the point of this project—and, in terms related to this
project—they sometimes disagree on whether a jazz idiom is an assistant to
the Gospel, or whether it obscures the message. Even more blatantly, some
may suggest that jazz obfuscates this objective truth with too much rhythm
and subjectivism. “Root To The Fruit” will endure as
a prime exhibit within that dialogue, even as Ruth Naomi Floyd launches
another virtuosic volley. Ears should be delighted by this movingly artful
testimony. It speaks
for itself. After listening with ears wide open, I’m personally led to
conclude that jazz
may be the optimum creative form for proclaiming the unchanging Truth of
Word. Floyd’s jazz speaks to our edgy, multiethnic, postmodern world." -
Dr. John Nunes.
Hear audio samples here
Fan Into Flame
Scriptural Inspiration - 2
"I remind you to fan into flame the Gift of
God which is in you... For God did not give us a spirit of fear
but a spirit of power, of love and of self discipline. So do not
be ashamed to testify about our Lord...
"Artistically, our creative team was drawn to the emotional
character and beautiful nature of the language used by Paul to encourage
his younger protégé, Timothy to remain faithful to the gospel of Jesus
Christ. And Paul chose to do this, even though at that particular moment
in Paul's life, he was in prison and knew that he would soon be executed.
And despite that reality, what did Paul choose to do with his remaining
time on earth? -- He did not lament or "cry the blues" as we say, he chose
to use his remaining time on earth to inspire and encourage another
Christian to remain faithful to God." - Ruth Naomi Floyd
Hear audio samples
Walk And Not Faint
Scriptural Inspiration - Isaiah 40: 28-31
"They that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength"
The original concept for Ruth's third CD, Walk And
Not Be Faint, comes directly from the book of Isaiah 40: 28- 31.
One of the things that this passage reminds us is that God is the
beginning and the end and He is always here. We wanted to communicate that
regardless of what the future holds, God remains and He will outlast all
things. Collectively our lyrics expressed our assurance of knowing that
when we grow tired and weary, if we continue to hope in the Lord He will
renew our strength.
We Are One In The Spirit
A Flower Is A Lovesome Thing
With New Eyes
Scriptural Inspiration - Romans
"Be not conformed... but transformed".
Musically, With New Eyes
seeks to offer the listener a diverse range of sounds and varied
compositional approaches to illustrate our quest to see things
"with new eyes".
The concept for Ruth's second CD,
With New Eyes is based on the scripture found in
Romans 12:1-2. "With this CD, my creative team and I were expressing
how our faith in God inspires us and commands us to have the
courage not to conform to the pattern of the things in the world
that are rooted in the absence of God. Rather, this scripture
essentially states that we are to be transformed by the renewing
of our minds through God's power in order for us to be able to see
those things which are good and of the perfect will of God."
What You Sow
With New Eyes
Stand To The Glory
Paradigm For Desolate Times
Scriptural Inspiration -
The themes of Ruth's first CD ,
Paradigms For Desolate Times, Ruth shares that, "I
sought to address and musically communicate my belief in the
importance and necessity of embracing the fruits of the Holy
Spirit, especially during the times in this world when our lives
seem desolate. In my mind, I found the inspirational basis for my
debut CD from This scripture teaches me among many other things,
that we can show the fruits of the Holy Spirit by our behavior."
For more information about Ruth visit:
her website at: