Fife jazzman receives Lifetime Achievement Award at Scottish Jazz Awards
The acclaimed pianist received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his varied career, including his pioneering work with the Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra, where he influenced the development of many of Scotland’s top musicians such as Calum Gourlay, Helena Kay, Fergus McCreadie and Kim Macari. .
He received the distinction at the Scottish Jazz Awards which took place on Wednesday evening in Glasgow.
A popular broadcaster of BBC Radio Scotland’s Jazz Nights since 2007, Richard is also Honorary Professor of Jazz Piano at the University of St Andrews and spent many years conducting music at Beath High School in Cowdenbeath.
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Richard has led FYJO for over 40 years as Music Director and has seen the orchestra work with many greats like Carol Kidd and Tommy Smith.
Richard, who learned he would be receiving the award three weeks ago, said: “At first I didn’t feel very good about receiving this award because I didn’t accomplish anything the way I wanted. I feel a lot better about the price now, but what I want to accomplish is see every music teacher in the country with the skills to create instant music with mixed-ability kids on the go. any instrument and in any style.
Richard said he was particularly proud of his work with the Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra which he created in 1976.
“When I was a music student, if you wanted to play jazz you would go to the Berkley School in Boston. For me, Montrose was the end of the world living in Stonehaven, let alone Boston!
“And so – FYJO, for 46 years has been my Berkley. I learn something new every time I stand in front of the group.
“I am constantly trying new ideas and am constantly inspired by new players. “
He revealed a highlight of his career: “A wonderful gig with singer Annie Ross and drummer Jack Parnell in 1997,” he said.
“She watched the BBC2 show ‘Jazz in a cold climate’ which was all about FYJO and our relationship with Fife-born jazz baritone sax virtuoso Joe Temperley. Annie asked her bassist who was the young man who led the group?
“He’s my teacher Richard Michael” said Andy Hamill of Kinghorn who left FYJO to play with Kylie Minogue and then Annie Ross! “
Richard added that one of the most emotional parts of the awards ceremony came after he gave a short tribute to Joe Temperley on the piano: Morag “- then my wife Morag and I heard Robin, Joanna and Hilary (all professional musicians in their own right) and their childhood memories and crazy races in the car to go to concerts!
“I said to the audience, ‘This award should really go to Morag for all the encouragement, support and recording of musical pieces over the years! “
FYJO is open to young people and adolescents (up to the age of 20) and meets every Thursday evening at the Lochgelly Center at 7.15pm. Information from [email protected]