Tim's first encounter with a piano was at the age of 8 in a dentist's waiting room. After classical piano lessons he taught himself jazz and blues from the age of 14, inspired by seeing pianist Otis Spann with the Muddy Waters band. Other blues influences include Ray Charles, Pete Johnson, Meade Lux Lewis, Jimmy Yancey, Professor Longhair, James Booker and Henry Butler.
He has been an active performer on the blues scene since around 1988 when he took over the piano chair from Bob Hall in Otis Grand’s ten-piece band The Dance Kings. This group toured extensively, playing at many European blues festivals including Peer (Belgium) where they appeared opposite John Lee Hooker. They also toured and recorded with US guitarist Joe Louis Walker who produced their album ‘Always Hot’, now available on CD (Indigo IGOXCD505).
Since the days of Otis Grand, Tim has performed on and off in the bands of many of Britain's most popular blues artists, such as Dana Gillespie, Todd Sharpville and Earl Green. In 1998 he toured Europe with renowned Louisiana guitarist Larry Garner, appearing in Britain, Germany, Denmark and Ireland. In 2002 he appeared at the Eccaussinnes Blues Festival in Belgium with 73-year old harmonica legend Mojo Buford (ex-Muddy Waters band). He also toured the UK in October 2004 with Chicago blues singer Deitra Farr.
In parallel with his blues career, Tim has run his own jazz groups SPIRIT LEVEL and GREAT SPIRIT, featuring the cream of Britain’s jazz musicians, including Pete King, Ed Jones, Tony Kofi, Jason Yarde, Denys Baptiste, Gilad Atzmon, Dick Pearce, Seb Rochford and many others. As a bandleader he has toured throughout the UK and Europe, appeared at festivals opposite Horace Silver, Miles Davis, McCoy Tyner, Jo Zawinul and others, and released over a dozen albums under his own name. In a more straight ahead vein, the Tim Richards TRIO has entertained audiences from Istanbul to Inverness and released three CDs of swinging jazz and blues on the 33 Records label.
Aside from his playing activities, Tim is a also dedicated educator. In 1990 he set up the UK’s first and only weekly blues piano evening class at London’s Goldsmiths College, which he still teaches today (at Morley College). This class was the basis for his subsequent book, the acclaimed IMPROVISING BLUES PIANO (Schott Music, 1997), widely acknowledged as one of the best music tuition books ever written. He also teaches jazz piano at Morley College and The City Lit, and in 2005 released EXPLORING JAZZ PIANO, winning the prestigious MIA award for 'Best Pop Publication'. Tim also runs short courses for piano teachers on the ABRSM Jazz Piano syllabus, and works for ABRSM as jazz examiner
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