Hailed in classical circles as “among the very best trumpet soloists in the world today,” (Journal of the ITG, 2011) and “One of the finest virtuosos of our time” (Brass Herald, 2018) and in jazz as “a standout soloist with the power, range and flexibility to rival Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw,” (DownBeat Magazine, 2014) Yamaha Performing Artist Rex Richardson was named the 2008 Brass Herald International Personality of the Year.
A veteran of the acclaimed chamber ensemble Rhythm & Brass, jazz legend Joe Henderson’s Quintet and Sextet, William Russo’s Chicago Jazz Ensemble, and the Brass Band of Battle Creek, known as the world’s “Rolls Royce of Brass Bands” (Brass Band World), he stays busy as a headline artist at international brass and jazz festivals and as a soloist with orchestras, concert bands, brass bands and jazz ensembles on six continents. These include Phoenix Symphony and Thailand Philharmonic Orchestras, the U.S. Army Field Band and Tokyo Symphonic Winds, England’s Fodens Brass Band, and the U.S. Air Force’s Airmen of Note Jazz Ensemble.
He has collaborated with countless legendary artists and ensembles, including Eric Aubier, Brian Blade, Benny Carter, Boston Brass, Ray Charles, Mike Clarke, Dave Douglas, Kurt Elling, Carl Fontana, Pacho Flores, Aretha Franklin, Wycliffe Gordon, Stefon Harris, Conrad Herwig, Dave Holland, Dave Liebman, Keith Lockhart, James Morrison, Jimmy Owens, Jim Pugh, Chris Potter, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Arturo Sandoval, Bobby Shew, Ruben Simeo, Spanish Brass, Allen Vizzutti, Bill Watrous, and Steve Wilson. Jazz trumpet star Dave Douglas has called him “A national treasure.” (Style Weekly magazine)
Having developed a reputation unique in the trumpet world for his combination of singular virtuosity, deep lyricism, and an emphasis on improvisation in classical as well as jazz idioms, Richardson is renowned as a tireless champion of new music. He has presented the premiere performances of genre-busting concertos written for him by Peter Meechan, Anthony Plog, Doug Richards, David Sampson, Andy Scott, James Stephenson, Allen Vizzutti, and Dana Wilson in thirty-eight countries.
Richardson’s nine recordings as a soloist or bandleader are all released on Summit Records. His most recent, Freedom of Movement: 21st Century Trumpet Concertos, featuring the new works by Plog, Scott, Stephenson and Vizzutti, was released in May of 2018 to rave reviews. It was named a top-ten finalist for 4barsrest.com’s 2018 Solo CD of the Year, and The Journal of the International Trumpet Guild called it “A triumph of virtuosity and musicianship” (March 2019).
Richardson has degrees in anthropology and music from Northwestern and Louisiana State and has taught at Virginia Commonwealth University since 2002. He served as International Tutor in Trumpet at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, U.K. from 2012-2015. In 2018 he was appointed International Tutor in Trumpet at JAM Music Lab University in Vienna, Austria. He has served as an adjudicator/guest soloist at international brass and jazz competitions in Italy, Belgium, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.
In 2009 he was presented with the VCU School of the Arts highest honor, the Award of Excellence, and he has been awarded the 2011 Theresa Pollack Prize for Excellence in the Arts. The Pollack Prize selectors wrote: “Richardson stands at the vanguard of jazz, classical and contemporary American music. As his star has risen internationally, he’s maintained a clear commitment to education. He is an extraordinary musician.”
Want to learn more about Rex Richardson in his own words? Check out this Q&A.