Gifted Saxophonist Stephen Richard has emerged as a shining star on the Jazz horizon. Stephen’s clean, soulful styling punctuated with dazzling solo flourishes are the result of his unique interpretation of many forms of music encountered throughout his life.
Born in Zachary Louisiana his family soon relocated to Houston Texas where Stephen was exposed to music at an early age ranging from classical piano lessons to the emotions of Soul, Jazz, R&B and Blues which could be found playing on his dad’s record player. However it wouldn’t be until his sophomore year in high school when he began to take private lessons from Conrad Johnson, it was then that Stephen began to take his hobby seriously.
A performance by his high school’s stage band would greatly influence his interest in improvisation and melody. By his sophomore year Stephen’s career direction took shape during a sound check by the late Grover Washington Jr. who allowed him to sit in with his band. Stephen says “it was on stage at the sound check playing with Mr. Washington when I realized what hard work could accomplish.” On his final visit to Houston Grover featured Stephen, calling him up to the stage to play with him.
Stephen attended Southern University in Baton Rouge Louisiana on a music scholarship where he majored and received his BA in Communications. It was in college under the guidance of world renowned Clarinetist and educator Mr. Alvin Batiste when Stephen’s musical knowledge really began to expand. It was with Mr. Batiste that Stephen received an invitation to France as a freshman to teach Jazz at the University of Paris as a Jazz Ambassador. While in college Stephen had the opportunity to play for Mr. Nelson Mandela and visited Bermuda to play for the Premiere.
Stephen has played in a number of musical ensembles from The Summer Jazz Workshop to the Young Sounds of Houston. Stephen has had the privilege to play with the likes of Hubert Laws, Andre Hayward, Ernie Watts, Ellis Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Norman Brown, Boney James, Frank Lacey and Wes Anderson. Stephen has opened for Joe Sample, Chuck Mangione and Stanley Turrentine.
Currently Stephen leads his own band which travels extensively. He’s performed at Catalina Bar & Grill, Red Cat Jazz Cafe, Cézanne’s, Sambuca Jazz Cafe, the Ensemble Theatre, Miller Outdoor Theatre, Houston International Jazz Festival, Kansas State Jazz Festival, New Orleans Jazz Festival, Beaumont Blues and Jazz Festival, Texas Jazz Festival, Jones Hall, the Verizon Wireless Theatre, the Arena Theatre, Ovations, Sea Bird Jazz Lounge, Sweet Lorraine’s Jazz Club, Snug Harbor and H.O.M.E. to mention a few. Richard even found time to create The Ronald Thornton Jazz Festival, a non profit Festival in memory of his late high school Band Director who he credits for believing in him enough to give him an opportunity. The money raised from the festival is donated to his high school’s music department. “I volunteer regularly for positive, worthy causes and am able to contribute by means of my time and music.” Stephen brings passion, soul, integrity and sensitivity to music, something that’s sorely missed.
Stephen has released seven albums to his credit: Introducing Stephen Richard Because of You, Circa 79, Bread ‘n Water Vol.1, Bread ‘n Water Vol.2, An Evening of Happenstance Live in New Orleans (double CD), Perspective and The Gallery Sessions: Suite Movements (Series I).