Tim Richards

Piano tutor
Tim Richards

Tim’s first encounter with a piano was at the age of 8 in a dentist’s waiting room, after which he took classical piano lessons with Carola Grindea. From the age of 14 he began to teach himself jazz and blues, inspired by American jazz pianist Thelonious Monk, the blues pianist Otis Spann and the British jazzman Dudley Moore. Other influences include Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner, Wynton Kelly, Ray Charles and Dr John.

In 1979 Tim formed the modern jazz quartet Spirit Level, performing at jazz clubs and festivals across Europe, broadcasting on BBC Radio 1, 2, 3 and 4, Radio France, WDR Köln, and recording several acclaimed albums on vinyl and CD, including ‘Killer Bunnies’ - a quintet with USA trumpeter Jack Walrath (ex-Mingus). During their 20-year life the band featured in double bills opposite many famous names, including Horace Silver, Miles Davis, Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Jan Garbarek, Joe Zawinul and others.

In 1999 Tim expanded the band to a nine-piece, renaming it Great Spirit and recording the CD ‘Suite For The Shed’ with an all-star line-up including Denys Baptist, Gilad Atzmon, Tony Kofi and Dick Pearce (ex-Ronnie Scott). They subsequently toured the UK several times with some of Britain's top jazz musicians, such as Pete King, Ed Jones, Jason Yarde, Seb Rochford, Roger Beaujolais and many others. Their latest CD ‘Epistrophy’ received rave reviews from the likes of the Observer Music Monthly, eg: "Jazz supergroup whose passion proves inspirational... not a dull moment from beginning to end."

Tim has released over a dozen albums under his own name, including two with Austrian saxman Sigi Finkel and three Trio albums, two of which are listed in the Japanese publication ‘Jazz Piano Trio Meiban 500’ (The 500 Best Jazz Piano Trio Albums). His playing has been described as “luminously funky… laced with the blues” (The Rough Guide to Jazz) and "A highly distinctive solo voice, blues and gospel tinged, but with a percussive drive betraying his roots in hard bop” (The Independent).

Tim has also toured and recorded with many well-known blues artists including the award-winning Otis Grand, Dana Gillespie and Earl Green, US guitarists Joe Louis Walker and Larry Garner, and US vocalists Dietra Farr and Kym Mazelle.

In addition to performing, Tim is one of Britain's best-known jazz educators, a jazz examiner and contributor to the ABRSM jazz piano syllabus, and a member of the judging panel for the Nottingham International Jazz Piano competition. As well as teaching jazz piano privately and in adult education for over 25 years, he frequently gives workshops for music teachers in this country and abroad, and has taught Jazz Piano, Harmony & Arranging at the University of Surrey. His first book ‘Improvising Blues Piano’ was published in 1997 and was widely acclaimed as setting a new standard in music tuition. ‘Exploring Jazz Piano’ won the prestigious MIA award for 'Best Pop Publication' in 2006, and was followed in 2010 by ‘Exploring Latin Piano’, a collaboration with pianist John Crawford.

Tim has a Master’s Degree in Composition from Trinity College of Music. In addition to his jazz compositions he has written a wide variety of contemporary pieces for a range of instruments, including symphony orchestra, string quartet, recorder quintet and piano (solo and duet). His latest project is the Hextet, a six-piece band that played two sold-out performances at London’s Kings Place in 2012 and 2014.

For further information please visit Tim's website and You Tube channel.

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