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Richie Beirach

Richard Alan Beirach was born on 23 May 1947 in Brooklyn, New York City. Having a sheltered childhood, he started playing the piano at the age of 5. From age 6 to age 18, Beirach was given lessons by the pianist und composer James Palmieri. "James Palmieri showed me everything that I know about music,...he made me understand the deeper meaning of music."

Palmieri's lessons were strictly classic and until age 13, Beirach exclusively dealt with classical music.When, at the age of 13, he stayed at a friend's place, he heard Red Garland's version of "Billy Boy" from Miles Davis' album "Milestones": "I could hardly believe it. This was exactly what I was looking for, what I needed. Until then, I had only had a classical musical education: Mozart, Beethoven, no improvisation. I took the album to my teacher. He hated it, he hated it a lot…"Beirach realized that he wanted to devote himself to improvisation and Jazz. He tried and got in touch with Jazz musicians, while continuing to take lessons with Palmieri.

In the middle of the 1960s, Richard Beirach entered the New York club scene, played innumerable gigs and jam sessions, with, among others, Freddie Hubbard and Lee Konitz, while, at the same time occasionally working as a longshoreman at the docks of New York.In 1967, he went to Boston in order to study at the Berklee College Of Music, where Keith Jarrett, Miroslav Vitous and John Abercrombie were enrolled as well at that time. But he only stayed for one year and returned to New York in 1968, where he started a composition degree with Ludmilla Ulehla at the Manhattan School Of Music, from which he graduated in 1972 with a "Master Of Music".

Soon afterwards, he played in the band of Stan Getz, together with bass player Dave Holland and drummer Jack deJohnette. The band largely went on worldwide tours.In 1973, he joined the group "Lookout Farm" of the saxophone player Dave Liebman. "Lookout Farm" became one of the most outstanding groups of the Fusion movement and the cooperation between Beirach and Liebman beyond the group, which broke up in 1976, developed to a close musical partnership. Together, as a duo, they recorded "Forgotten Fantasies", "Omerta" and "Chant"". In 1976, the first album under Beirach's own name was released: "Eon", recorded with drummer Eliot Zigmund and bass player Frank Tusa. For the label ECM, Beirach worked as a leader, e.g. on the albums "Eon" in 1976, "Elm" in 1979, "Elegy for Bill Evans", and as a sideman respectively (for John Abercrombie and George Adams) from the middle of the 1970s until the beginning of the 1980s.

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Richie Beirach: Sea Priestess

Read "Richie Beirach: Sea Priestess" reviewed by Scott Lichtman


Pianist Richie Beirach has been a foundation of the jazz community since the '70s, having released over 70 albums through 2022. His style combines romanticism with a dissonant compositional flair. His music, usually expressed in solo, duet and trio formats, sounds exceptionally intimate. Beirach could create chemistry with most anyone and has collaborated with luminaries such as saxophonist Dave Liebman, pianist Andy Laverne and guitarist John Abercrombie. “Sea Priestess," with bassist George Mraz and drummer Jack DeJohnette, epitomizes the beauty ...

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Album Review

Richie Beirach: Leaving

Read "Leaving" reviewed by Chris May


On Leaving, recorded in France in 2022, Richie Beirach revisits thirteen evergreen standards, seven of them grouped together in two medleys, and two of his own compositions ("Leaving," “Sunday Song") written in the 1970s. The album is Beirach's first live solo recording since 1981. All of the material is more than familiar to Beirach and will be equally well known to seasoned jazz fans. In his liner note, Beirach says that this was intentional. He wanted to ...

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Liner Notes

John Abercrombie: The First Quartet

Read "John Abercrombie: The First Quartet" reviewed by John Kelman


With the release of Arcade (1979), Abercrombie Quartet (1980) and M (1981), John Abercrombie's entire ECM discography as a leader is finally available on CD. Looking back at these albums and their position in his oeuvre, they are revealed as seminal documents of Abercrombie's arrival as a distinctive writer, improvising guitarist and bandleader, delivering on the promise of his first two ECM recordings under his own name, Timeless (1975) and Characters (1977). Abercrombie's subsequent career has, in many ways, been ...

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Album Review

John Moulder: Metamorphosis

Read "Metamorphosis" reviewed by Jack Bowers


As approximately fifty of the sixty-eight minutes on Chicago-based guitarist John Moulder's new CD, Metamorphosis, are devoted to the seven-part “Metamorphosis Suite," that seems an appropriate point at which to start any appraisal of its contents and purpose. First and foremost, it is clear that considerable thought was given to mapping the structure of the suite, and that Moulder's quartet came well-prepared to accept and conform to his frame of mind. Whether the end result is worthy of approval is ...

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History of Jazz

Richie Beirach: Exploring Who Matters Most Among the Jazz Pianists

Read "Richie Beirach: Exploring Who Matters Most Among the Jazz Pianists" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer


[The following is a commentary on pianist Richie Beirach's 2020 e-book The Historical Lineage of Modern Jazz Piano: The 10 Essential Players (Conversations between Richie Beirach and Michael Lake), downloadable for free here.] Jazz piano has always garnered (no intended reference to Erroll Garner) special interest among the instruments because it is truly an orchestra in itself. Its keys cover the full range from low bass to highest soprano, and it is tailored (no allusion to Dr. Billy ...

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Interview

Richie Beirach: Indelible Memories and Thought-Provoking Reflections on a Life in Jazz, Part 2

Read "Richie Beirach: Indelible Memories and Thought-Provoking Reflections on a Life in Jazz, Part 2" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer


Part 1 | Part 2 Richie Beirach hovers somewhat mysteriously in the pantheon of the great modern jazz pianists. Some of the others in that category from his generation (coming up in the 1960s/'70s), like Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, and Kenny Barron have greater celebrity, but Beirach easily qualifies alongside them as one of the most accomplished masters. While the aforementioned have developed a signature style, emotional power, and virtuosic technique, Beirach, above and beyond those ...

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Interview

Richie Beirach: Indelible Memories and Thought-Provoking Reflections on a Life in Jazz, Part 1

Read "Richie Beirach: Indelible Memories and Thought-Provoking Reflections on a Life in Jazz, Part 1" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer


Part 1 | Part 2 Richie Beirach hovers somewhat mysteriously in the pantheon of the great modern jazz pianists. Some of the others in that category from his generation (coming up in the 1960s/'70s), like Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, and Kenny Barron have greater celebrity, but Beirach easily qualifies alongside them as one of the most accomplished masters. While the aforementioned have developed a signature style, emotional power, and virtuosic technique, Beirach, above and beyond those ...

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Crowdfunding Campaign

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise money for legendary pianist, composer, and educator Richie Beirach

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise money for legendary pianist, composer, and educator Richie Beirach

Source: All About Jazz

Richie Beirach has been fighting life-threatening health issues since the end of 2023. Best known for his five-decade-long collaboration with saxophonist Dave Liebman, and over 400 acclaimed recordings as a leader or sideman with the likes of Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Randy Brecker, Jack DeJohnette, and John Scofield, Beirach’s ongoing health situation has left him struggling with overwhelming medical expenses and unable to work for the foreseeable future. Dear Friends, Admirers and Supporters of Richie Beirach, We are reaching ...

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Recording

Laurie Antonioli's "Varuna," A Duo Session With Pianist Richie Beirach, To Be Released By Origin Records Sept. 18

Laurie Antonioli's "Varuna," A Duo Session With Pianist Richie Beirach, To Be Released By Origin Records Sept. 18

Source: Terri Hinte Publicity

Since returning to her native Bay Area in 2006 from a period of living and working in Europe, vocalist Laurie Antonioli has concentrated her creative energies on her American Dreams band, which backed her on last year’s breakthrough Origin Records release Songs of Shadow, Songs of Light. For her new Origin CD, Varuna, Antonioli returns to an important chapter in her musical life by recording intimate sessions with her collaborator of more than 25 years, the esteemed pianist Richie Beirach. ...

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Video / DVD

See The Music Of Laurie Antonioli and Richie Beirach

See The Music Of Laurie Antonioli and Richie Beirach

Source: Laurie Antonioli

A short improvisational piece from master pianist Richie Beirach and song stylist Laurie Antonioli taken from their Duo Session recording is a gorgeous series of brush strokes and images that capture the feeling and sound of this song. Laurie is the Director of the Jazzschool Institute Vocal program and her student, Susana Pineda created this video as a gift for her teacher. It turns out that her intuition was stunning as Richie Beirach's favorite artist is Paul Klee. Young Susana, ...

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Recording

Rad Jazz Music Introduces "The Tip Of The Sword"--The Latest Release From Conrad Herwig Featuring Richie Beirach and Jack DeJohnette

Rad Jazz Music Introduces "The Tip Of The Sword"--The Latest Release From Conrad Herwig  Featuring  Richie Beirach and Jack DeJohnette

Source: hubtone PR

AVAILABLE NOW AS CD OR DOWNLOAD EXCLUSIVELY THROUGH conradherwig.com NEW YORK,NY—Trombonist Conrad Herwig, known for “Latinizing" the classic compositions of jazz greats John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, among others, presents The Tip of the Sword, a vital new release featuring Richie Beirach and Jack DeJohnette. It is a courageous recording—freely interactive, oftentimes fierce—that focuses on daring improvisation within a trio context. It showcases seven originals and it couples Herwig with one of jazz's legendary figures (pianist ...

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Recording

Hubris (ECM 1104)

Hubris (ECM 1104)

Source: Between Sound and Space - An ECM Records Resource

Richard Beirach Hubris Richard Beirach piano Recorded June 1977 at Tonstudio Bauer, Ludwigsburg Engineer: Martin Wieland Produced by Manfred Eicher Classically trained pianist Richie Beirach has created some of ECM's most melodically engaging music. His first solo album is a keepsake to be treasured for its melodic detail and structure. “Sunday Song" embraces the album at either end with heartache and never lets go, even in silence. Within its fibrous interior, Beirach spins thematic ...

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Recording

Mosaic Select: Pendulum Featuring Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, Richie Beirach, Frank Tusa and al Foster

Mosaic Select: Pendulum Featuring Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, Richie Beirach, Frank Tusa and  al Foster

Source: All About Jazz

Explosive Post-Bop Jazz By Five Master Musicians In February 1978, saxophonist Dave Liebman assembled Pendulum, a formidable quintet with trumpeter Randy Brecker, pianist Richie Beirach, bassist Frank Tusa and drummer Al Foster. The group was assembled for a one-week engagement at the Village Vanguard in New York City. Sadly, its lifespan was that one gig, but fortunately John Snyder of Artists House Records and engineer David Baker were on hand to record the last two nights of the run. The ...

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Recording

David Liebman, Richie Beirach, Ron McClure, Billy Hart, Redemption: Quest Live in Europe on Hatology 642

David Liebman, Richie Beirach, Ron McClure, Billy Hart, Redemption: Quest Live in Europe on Hatology 642

Source: All About Jazz

Redemption: Quest Live in Europe on Hatology 642

David Liebman: soprano & tenor saxophones & flute, Richie Beirach: piano, Ron McClure: double bass, Billy Hart: drums

Recorded 2005 in Paris and Baden/Switzerland.

“To be back on tour with Quest after fifteen years was like going home. We are peers with a common language that traverses the past several decades of music; experience and commonality are intangibles which when present create a sum much greater than the individual parts. What a ...

Photos

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Leaving

Jazzline Records
2023

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Metamorphosis

New Origins Records
2021

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Crossing Borders

Zoho Music
2019

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The First Quartet

ECM Records
2015

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Summer Night

Venus Records
2008

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Manhattan Reverie

Venus Records
2007

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Game Changer

From: Metamorphosis
By Richie Beirach

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