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Meet David Richardson

Tessa Souter and Andrea Wolper By

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Recently I filmed a new documentary called Portrait of a Jazz Artist: Innokenty Ivanov, which follows a Moscow-based Ukrainian jazz artist performing at the Jazz Province Festival, and in the recording studio recording "Cuban Fantasy," a song composed by my good friend Robin Blakeman, a UK saxophonist.

How do you discover new artists?

With Facebook and Youtube it has become easy. But in Russia I just go out to the clubs because every show allows me to further my jazz friendships with new artists.

If you were a professional musician, which instrument would you play and why?

Hands down it would be the piano. I've always had an affinity for that instrument as far back as I can remember, and really started to attempt to learn it back in the early 1970's when I was introduced to the music of Stevie Wonder. I recall sitting for hours listening to an LP over and over again just to get the right notes and chords from a song.

What's your desert island disc?

In this day and age, I have all my favorites just sitting on my telephone... but if I was forced to choose I would pick either The Intimate Ella or Ella and Oscar. Or Crystal by Ahmad Jamal or Innervisions by Stevie Wonder...or...man, I would just have to find a way to keep the darned cellphone charged!

Do you have a favorite jazz anecdote?

When I was in high school, Buddy Rich came to play at our school and I was enthralled. As I was working in Audio Visual, I had an opportunity to try to get an autograph from him. He had a young blond woman on his arm when I approached him and directly asked him for his autograph. He smiled at me and said, "Get away from me kid." I should have been insulted but I took it as a badge of honor—I had experienced up close his acerbic wit.

What do you think keeps jazz alive and thriving?

I think that the influx of international artists into the genre has pumped new life into jazz. This is why I so love traveling to Russia and other countries to see all sorts of talented and inspired young artists playing and re-interpreting some of the great standards from my lifetime.

Is there anything else we should know about you?

Each year I host a "Jazz BBQ" at my home. We bring in a local jazz group to play for neighbors and friends. It's nice to be able to bring local jazz to people who might not ever get a chance to hear it live.

Finish this sentence: Life without music would be...

...a good indication that I have shuffled off of this mortal coil.

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