Saxophonist *Recording Artist *Touring Musician
Talented saxophonist Stephen Richard has risen as a brilliant luminary in the realm of Jazz. Stephen’s pure and heartfelt approach, adorned with impressive solos, stems from his distinctive perspective on various music genres he has encountered during his life’s journey.
Hailing from Zachary, Louisiana, Stephen’s family swiftly moved to Houston, Texas, immersing him in music from a young age. He encountered a diverse range of sounds, from classical piano lessons to the evocative tones of Soul, Jazz, R&B, and Blues, resonating from his father’s record player. However, it wasn’t until his sophomore year in high school that his musical journey took a more dedicated turn. It was during this time that he commenced private lessons with Conrad Johnson Jr., marking the pivotal moment when Stephen’s passion evolved into a serious pursuit.
The stage band performance at his high school left an indelible mark on Stephen, significantly shaping his fascination with improvisation and melody. As he entered his sophomore year, Stephen’s path in the world of music began to crystallize, sparked by a pivotal moment during a sound check led by the late Grover Washington Jr. This occasion granted him the opportunity to join Washington’s band for a session. Reflecting on the experience, Stephen expressed, “It was during that sound check, sharing the stage with Mr. Washington, that I truly grasped the heights that dedication could achieve.” During Stephen’s final visit to Houston, Mr. Washington honored him by inviting him to the stage to perform together.
Benefiting from a music scholarship, Stephen pursued his education at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he successfully obtained a BA in Communications. During his college years, his musical journey took a significant leap, largely attributed to the mentorship of the internationally acclaimed clarinetist and educator, Mr. Alvin Batiste. It was under Mr. Batiste’s guidance that Stephen’s musical horizons expanded exponentially.
Notably, during his freshman year, Stephen was extended a remarkable invitation by Mr. Batiste himself. This invitation led him to France, where he assumed the role of a Jazz Ambassador, imparting his knowledge to the students of the University of Paris. Concurrently, his time in college provided him with unforgettable experiences, including performing for the esteemed Nelson Mandela and participating in musical endeavors that took him all the way to Bermuda, where he showcased his talent for the local premiere.
Stephen’s musical journey has seen him as a vital part of various musical ensembles, ranging from The Summer Jazz Workshop to the Young Sounds of Houston. Throughout his career, Stephen has been granted the honor of performing alongside acclaimed artists such as Hubert Laws, Andre Hayward, Ernie Watts, Ellis Marsalis, Jimmy Heath, Norman Brown, Boney James, Frank Lacey, and Wes Anderson. Additionally, Stephen has had the distinction of sharing the stage with illustrious names like Joe Sample, Chuck Mangione, and Stanley Turrentine, as he took on the role of opening act for their performances.
Presently, Stephen commands his own musical ensemble, a band that embarks on extensive journeys to various destinations. His performances have graced renowned venues such as Catalina Bar & Grill, Sugar Land’s Town Center Jazz on the Plaza, the Red Cat Jazz Cafe, Cezanne’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, and Snug Harbor, among others.
Remarkably, Stephen also took the initiative to establish The Ronald Thornton Jazz Festival, a heartfelt tribute to his late high school Band Director. It was this very mentor who Stephen attributes for instilling the belief and providing the opportunity that shaped his trajectory. Stephen infuses his music with a profound sense of soul, integrity, and sensitivity, qualities that resonate deeply and are often yearned for.
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