born on 2/9/1932 in Hartford, CT, United States
died on 13/12/2019
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. He cites Lionel Hampton as his first and biggest influence on vibraphone.
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. 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, Doris Day, Judy Garland, Nelson Riddle, and Sarah Vaughan.
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.
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. During his career he has collected over 350 instruments, many of them more common in the East than the West. 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 and exotic, such as the angklung, bulbul tarang, chimta, flapamba, jal tarang, janggu, lujon, mbira, and pakhavaj.
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. 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. 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.
- 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)
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)
- 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
- 1960 Swingin' Decade, Casa Loma Orchestra
- 1961 Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Harold Arlen Songbook, Ella Fitzgerald
- 1962 Jazz Pops, Neal Hefti
- 1962 The New Continent, Dizzy Gillespie
- 1964 It Might as Well Be Swing, Frank Sinatra
- 1964 Summer Surf, Dick Dale
- 1967 Hugh Masekela's Latest, Hugh Masekela
- 1967 More of the Monkees, The Monkees
- 1970 Seasons, Pete Jolly
- 1971 Other Voices, The Doors
- 1971 The Age of Steam, Gerry Mulligan
- 1973 Great Scott, Tom Scott
- 1973 Let's Get It On, Marvin Gaye
- 1974 Waitress in a Donut Shop, Maria Muldaur
- 1975 Born to Be with You, Dion
- 1975 I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry, George Duke
- 1975 I Am Music, Carmen McRae
- 1975 Playing Possum, Carly Simon
- 1975 Split Coconut, Dave Mason
- 1975 Touch, John Klemmer
- 1976 Cry Tough, Nils Lofgren
- 1976 The Man Incognito, Alphonse Mouzon
- 1979 Rise, Herb Alpert
- 1979 Mingus, Joni Mitchell
- 1979 Palette, Alan Broadbent
- 1980 Autoamerican, Blondie
- 1983 Swordfishtrombones, Tom Waits
- 1984 Jump!, Van Dyke Parks
- 1991 Back to Mono (1958–1969), Phil Spector
- 1991 Rooms in My Fatha's House, Vinx
- 1992 A Gift of Song, Mason Williams
- 1996 Blue Condition, Bobby Caldwell
- 1997 The Harry Partch Collection, Vol. 3, Harry Partch
- 1999 1961–1966, Ann-Margret
- 2000 The Spirit of St. Louis, The Manhattan Transfer
- 2004 Mallet Jazz, Tom Collier
- 2011 The Smile Sessions, The Beach Boys
- 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.
- Yanow, Scott. "Emil Richards". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
- Mattingly, Rick. "Emil Richards". Percussive Arts Society. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
- Ulaby, Neda (27 February 2011). "Emil Richards: Timekeeper of Tinseltown". NPR.org. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
- "Emil Richards Collection - Los Angeles Percussion Rentals". L.A. Percussion Rentals. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
- "PAS Industry News". Percussive Arts Society.
- "Emil Richards Collection". Los Angeles Percussion Rentals. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
- "OAF". Odd Art Fabrications. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
- "Emil Richards | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
- "Emil Richards | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
- Emil Richards Interview NAMM Oral History Program (2006)