“An artiste with an exceptional talent who has made a name for himself as one of the finest trumpet players in the world today,” (4barsrest.com, in a review of an October 2007 concert in London), associate professor Rex Richardson has become one of the busiest crossover trumpet virtuosos on the international scene. Since 1995, he has recorded and toured around the globe with the critically acclaimed ensemble Rhythm and Brass. He also toured internationally as a member of the late jazz legend Joe Henderson’s Quintet and in Europe with William Russo’s Chicago Jazz Ensemble. He has served since 1997 as jazz soloist, soprano cornet and flugelhorn with the world famous Brass Band of Battle Creek, known as “The Rolls Royce of Brass Bands” (Brass Band World, 2007). Since the early 1990s he has worked with countless celebrity artists in classical, jazz and pop idioms.
In recent years, Richardson has become increasingly active as a soloist. In 2007 alone he appeared as a featured guest soloist at the National Trumpet Competition, the International Trumpet Guild Conference, the Masters International Brass Band Championships in Cambridge, the Regent Hall Brass Arts Festival in London and the Stars of Brass Festival in Brisbane, Australia. He has appeared as a guest artist with dozens of important ensembles throughout the world, ranging from top symphony orchestras in China to all-star big bands in Greece and Australia to world-champion English and Belgian brass bands. Upcoming engagements include an appearance as featured soloist at Chicago’s dazzling new Millennium Park concert venue; a residency at the Jazz Institute in Graz, Austria; an appearance as featured soloist premiering Meechan’s Trumpet Concerto, composed for Richardson, at the Royal Northern College of Music Brass Festival in Manchester, England; and an extended tour of Japan as part of the international all-star “Ten Miracle Trumpeters” project, also featuring Allen Vizzutti and principal trumpeters of major European and Japanese orchestras.
Richardson has gained a reputation as a champion of new music, premiering chamber works and concertos around the world. He presented the Chinese premiere of Dana Wilson’s “Leader Lieder Concerto” in 2006. He presented the Australian, Turkish, American, Canadian and International Trumpet Guild Conference premieres of Wilson’s “Concerto for Trumpet and String Orchestra,” composed for Richardson, between 2005 and 2008.
A reviewer of his classical CD “Masks” (Summit Records, 2005) wrote that “Richardson is a phenomenal player, equally at home in modern jazz and classical contexts, with a virtuosic style that alloys emotional clarity with precision,” and praised Richardson’s “assured acrobatic grace” and “brilliant individuality” (Style Weekly). A reviewer of his CD “Jazz Upstairs: Live at the GuruBar” wrote that “Richardson displays dazzling technique and an abundance of ideas. He has a well-conceived approach to phrasing and solos with fiery determination. Stylistically, he is able to move effortlessly from blues-based bebop to more harmonically adventurous lines … [this recording] serves as a wonderful introduction to anyone not yet familiar with Richardson’s amazing talent” (jazzreview.com).
Richardson holds degrees in anthropology and music from Northwestern University and Louisiana State University. He has served as professor of trumpet and jazz trumpet at VCU since 2002 and Artist-in-Residence at London’s Trinity College of Music since 2006, previously serving on the faculties of Loyola University, Columbia College Chicago and Delgado Community College and as visiting professor at Ithaca College. In 1995 he was honored in Down Beat magazine’s International Critics’ Poll as one of nine trumpeters deserving wider recognition. He is a Yamaha Artist and performs exclusively on Yamaha trumpets, cornets and flugelhorns.
Want to learn more about Rex Richardson in his own words? Check out this Q&A!