Emil Richards

Emil Richards

born on 2/9/1932 in Hartford, CT, United States

died on 13/12/2019

Emil Richards

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Emil Richards (born Emilio Joseph Radocchia; September 2, 1932) is an American vibraphonist and percussionist.



Richards started playing the xylophone at age six. In high school he performed with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. He studied with Al Lepak at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, graduating in 1952. After being drafted, he belonged to an Army band in Japan and played with Toshiko Akiyoshi.[1][2] He cites Lionel Hampton as his first and biggest influence on vibraphone.[2]

In 1954 Richards moved to New York City, where he played with Charles Mingus, Ed Shaughnessy, and Ed Thigpen while doing studio recordings for Perry Como, the Ray Charles Singers, and Mitchell Ayres.[3] For about three years he was a member of a group led by George Shearing, then moved to Los Angeles and worked with Don Ellis and Paul Horn. He led his own band, the Microtonal Blues Band, and spent time with composer and inventor Harry Partch. As a sideman, he accompanied George Harrison on tour and recorded with Frank Sinatra, Frank Zappa,[2] Doris Day, Judy Garland, Nelson Riddle, and Sarah Vaughan.[3]

Richards worked often as a studio musician for movies and television. His credits include playing bongos on the theme song for the television program Mission Impossible. He has led a band with Joe Porcaro, and he released a solo album, The Wonderful World of Percussion.[2]


In 1962, Richards went on a worldwide tour with Frank Sinatra to raise money for poor children. The tour increased Richards's fascination with ethnic percussion instruments.[3][4] During his career he has collected over 350 instruments, many of them more common in the East than the West.[1] Richards wanted his instruments to continue to be heard in recordings and other performances and to remain together as much as possible. The Emil Richards Collection includes common percussion, such as xylophone and marimba[5] and exotic, such as the angklung, bulbul tarang, chimta, flapamba, jal tarang, janggu, lujon, mbira, and pakhavaj.[4]

In 1992, he gave sixty-five instruments to the Percussive Arts Society museum in Lawton, Oklahoma. He is a member of the Society's Hall of Fame.[2] Part of the collection was sold to Los Angeles Percussion Rentals. Many instruments were restored and are used in recordings and other performances in Los Angeles.[6] LAPR works with Odd Art Fabrications to custom design and fabricate instruments and hardware such as chromatically tuned wood blocks and chromatically tuned bell plate.[7]


As leader

  • Yazz Per Favore (1961)
  • New Sound Element "Stones" (1967)
  • Journey to Bliss (Impulse!, 1968)
  • Spirit of 1976 (Impulse!, 1969)
  • Ritmico Mundo (Interworld, 1994)
  • Luntana (Interworld, 1996)
  • Calamari: Live at Rocco's (2000)
  • Emil Richards with the Jazz Knights (2003)
  • Maui Jazz Quartet (2006)[8]

As sideman

With Louie Bellson

  • 1977 Ecue Ritmos Cubanos
  • 1978 Louis Bellson Jam
  • 1978 Prime Time

With George Harrison

  • 1974 Dark Horse
  • 1976 Thirty Three & 1/3
  • 1975 Extra Texture
  • 1979 George Harrison

With Paul Horn

  • 1960 Something Blue
  • 1961 The Sound of Paul Horn
  • 1962 Profile of a Jazz Musician
  • 1965 Jazz Suite on the Mass Texts

With Quincy Jones

  • The Hot Rock OST (Prophesy, 1972)

With Stan Kenton

  • 1965 Stan Kenton Conducts the Los Angeles Neophonic Orchestra
  • 1966 Stan Kenton Plays for Today

With Irene Kral

  • 1965 Wonderful Life
  • 1977 Kral Space (Catalyst)

With Peggy Lee

  • 1961 Blues Cross Country
  • 1962 Sugar 'n' Spice

With Julie London

  • 1959 Julie...At Home
  • 1965 All Through the Night: Julie London Sings the Choicest of Cole Porter

With Shorty Rogers

  • An Invisible Orchard (RCA Victor, 1961)
  • The Fourth Dimension in Sound (Warner Bros., 1961)
  • Bossa Nova (Reprise, 1962)
  • Jazz Waltz (Reprise, 1962)

With Shadowfax

  • 1982 Shadowfax
  • 1983 Shadowdance
  • 1986 Too Far to Whisper
  • 1987 Folksongs for a Nuclear Village
  • 1992 Esperanto

With George Shearing

  • 1958 In the Night
  • 1962 Nat King Cole Sings/George Shearing Plays

With L. Subramaniam

  • 1979 Fantasy without Limits
  • 1981 Blossom
  • 1983 Spanish Wave

With Nancy Wilson

  • 1960 Something Wonderful
  • 1964 Broadway – My Way

With Frank Zappa

  • 1968 Lumpy Gravy
  • 1979 Orchestral Favorites
  • 1996 Läther

With others


  • Richards, Emil (2009). Mallet Chord Studies - Chord Voicings and Arpeggio Patterns for Vibraphone and Marimba. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 978-1423469919. 
  • Richards, Emil (2009). Sight Reading for Mallets. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 978-1423469902. 
  • Richards, Emil (2009). Melody & Rhythm Permutations. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 978-1423469926. 
  • Richards, Emil (2009). Exercises for Mallet Instruments. Hal Leonard Corporation. ISBN 978-1423469896. 
  • Richards, Emil (2013). Wonderful World of Percussion: My Life Behind Bars. BearManor Media. ISBN 978-1593932657. 


  1. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Emil Richards". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 August 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Mattingly, Rick. "Emil Richards". Percussive Arts Society. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c Ulaby, Neda (27 February 2011). "Emil Richards: Timekeeper of Tinseltown". NPR.org. Retrieved 15 August 2017. 
  4. ^ a b "Emil Richards Collection - Los Angeles Percussion Rentals". L.A. Percussion Rentals. Retrieved 15 August 2017. 
  5. ^ "PAS Industry News". Percussive Arts Society. 
  6. ^ "Emil Richards Collection". Los Angeles Percussion Rentals. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "OAF". Odd Art Fabrications. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  8. ^ "Emil Richards | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 August 2017. 
  9. ^ "Emil Richards | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 August 2017. 

External links

This page was last modified 08.08.2018 21:34:18

This article uses material from the article Emil Richards from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.