It’s been a great summer and what better way to cap it off than to spend a night with the Emil Richards Big Band at Typhoon on Labor Day Monday! Emil Richards, (born Emilio Radocchia) in 1932 in Hartford, Connecticut started playing the xylophone at age six. He is a graduate of Julius Hart School of Music, (now known as University of Connecticut) and Hillard College.
He joined the Hartford Symphony Orchestra while in tenth grade, working under Arthur Fiedler and Fritz Mahler. He began to work around New England with Bobby Hackett, Flip Phillips, and Chris Connor.
In 1954 Emil moved to New York where he played jazz gigs with Charlie Mingus, Ed Shaunghnessy, and Ed Thigpen while doing studio recordings for artists such as Perry Como, Ray Charles, and Mitch Aires.
In 1955 Emil joined the George Shearing Quintet. He stayed with the group for over four years, playing 51 weeks a year.
In 1959 he moved to Los Angeles where he worked with the Paul Horn Quintet, Jimmy Witherspoon, the Shorty Rogers Big Band, Lennie Bruce, and Lord Buckly. He started recording for Frank Sinatra, Nelson Riddle, Judy Garland, Sarah Vaughan, and Doris Day. In 1962, in response to a request from President John F. Kennedy, Emil and a small jazz combo joined Frank Sinatra on a tour around the world for the benefit of under privileged children. This group helped to found the first hospital in Israel for Jewish and Arab children. This was the beginning of Emil’s interest in, and collection of ethnic percussion instruments.
After this world tour, Emil returned to L. A. to begin recording with such artists as the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Bing Crosby, Nat Cole, and Frank Sinatra. He also worked on film scores for Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams, Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein, Johnny Mandel, Quincy Jones, Oliver Nelson, Neal Hefti, Lalo Schifrin, Dave Grusin, Michel Legrand, Alex North, and Bill Conti, to name a few.
If you’ve never seen this band… you owe yourself a treat! – Enjoy the weekend… and we’ll see you Monday Night!
You can read more about Emil and watch a past performance at Typhoon here: http://www.typhoon.biz/?page_id=3555