Home » Jazz Musicians » Richard Simon

Richard Simon

Richard left a comfortable position as a college English instructor to pursue the perilous life of a jazz bassist. He received instruction from the LA Philharmonic's Abe Luboff, jazz legend Red Callender, and crossover virtuoso John Clayton, and soon began working with Buddy Collette, Teddy Edwards, Plas Johnson and Art Hillery. Singers dig him too; he has worked frequently with Ernie Andrews, Maxine Weldon, Lorez Alexandria and Sue Raney, and occasionally with Keely Smith, Maria Muldaur, and Rosemary Clooney. From be-bop and mainstream jazz, he branched out into "trad" and swing, playing festivals with the likes of Dan Barrett, Ed Polcer, Allan Vache, Rebecca Paris, and Joe Ascione. Richard toured Japan and recorded with Ken Peplowski's "Last Swing of the Century," a Benny Goodman-styled big band. His recording highlights include "Bophead," with vibraphonist Dave Pike; "Evening Delight," with Plas Johnson, and 2006's "How About Me," led by Ernie Andrews & Houston Person. He's recorded three--so far--on his own UFO- BASS label: "Groove Therapy," "Covering the Basses," and "Pacific Standard Time." New in summer 2006 is "The Buddy Collette Big Band - Live at El Camino College" (UFO Bass #006). The tape of this performance from 1990 was lost, then found, and fortunately, restored. It features four of LA's most respected jazz artists--Red Callender (tuba), Thurman Green (trombone), Allen Jackson (bass) and Bobby Bryant (trumpet).


Album Review

Betty Bryant: Lotta Livin'

Read "Lotta Livin'" reviewed by Jack Bowers

First, double-check to make sure there aren't any misprints. No, it's an honest-to-goodness fact that Betty Bryant--who sings, plays piano, wrote four of the nine numbers and arranged half a dozen on her fourteenth album--really was almost ninety-four years old when Lotta Livin' was recorded in 2023. Bryant's rough and edgy voice is remarkably strong and steady, while her piano playing simply defies any generational labels. As a vocalist, no note seems out of her reach, and ...

Album Review

Richard Simon: Pacific Standard Time

Read "Pacific Standard Time" reviewed by Jack Bowers

If one harbors any doubt that there is life after seventy (or even eighty!) — and an abundance of swinging Jazz to be produced by those who’ve reached those plateaus — he or she need only listen attentively to bassist Richard Simon’s Pacific Standard Time to erase any such misgivings. While Simon himself is a (relatively) young whippersnapper, his guests — guitarist Al Viola and reedman Sam Most — are eighty–three and seventy–one, respectively, and weren’t much younger when PST ...

Album Review

Richard Simon: Covering the Basses

Read "Covering the Basses" reviewed by AAJ Staff

Here’s a concept album with a fun concept: a melodic bassist playing the compositions of other bassists. Richard Simon has surrounded himself with top West Coast talent (Buddy Collette, Al Viola, Art Hillery) and made a session that shows the group as well as his technique.

It’s a broad spotlight, and everybody gets to shine. Simon’s “Melatonin” uses the chords on “In a Mellow Tone”, and is a relaxed swinger of the old school. Collette struts his confident sax through ...

Album Review

Richard Simon: Covering the Basses

Read "Covering the Basses" reviewed by Jack Bowers

On the second release for his own UFO-Bass label, bassist Richard Simon pays tribute to a number of other well-known timekeepers with a laid-back session whose aura is one of a late-night club date in which everyone is simply having a grand time grooving on the music they love and appreciate. After opening with a pair of disarming originals by Simon ("Melatonin," which brings Duke's “In a Mellow Tone" up to date, and “Theme from Poultry-geist"), the group essays tunes ...

Read more articles
Primary Instrument

Bass, acoustic

Willing to teach

Beginner to advanced


BA and MA degrees in English Community College Instructor credential Music instructor in JazzAmerica since 1994; now its Program Director (see www.JazzAmerica.org) Two types of instruction available: (1) JazzAmerica classes - Saturdays from May through August - tuition-free - For students 11 to 20 years of age only - Combo and Big Band classes available - Must know how to read music, identify chord symbols, and have some interest in and familiarity with jazz - Classes meet weekly - your commitment is required (2) private/individual instruction on upright bass - all ages welcome - must have your own bass, or the use of one for practice - lessons are one hour @ $50 per hour - weekday afternoons and occasional evenings available in my home



Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.