Rich Perry has been living and performing in New York City since 1976. His beautiful tone and sophisticated harmonic conception have given him a unique creative voice which critics have described as “eloquent,” “inventive,” “thoughtfully lyrical” and “impassioned yet cerebral.”
Born in 1955 in Cleveland, Ohio, Perry became interested in jazz in high school, and studied briefly at Bowling Green State University, before moving to New York. In 1977 he joined the Thad Jones /Mel Lewis Orchestra—which at that time included Pepper Adams, Jerry Dodgion, Rufus Reid, and Harold Danko—and spent the next two years touring the U.S. and Europe. After Thad Jones left the band, Perry continued playing with Mel Lewis, recording three LP’s with him, including “Live in Montreux”, and “Naturally”. The band, with Perry as a key member, is now known as The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and continues to tour and record. Four of their recent cds have been nominated for Grammy awards and the last one “Monday Night Live At The Village Vanguard,” won the Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble recording.
A highlight of Perry’s career has been his association with the gifted composer and arranger Maria Schneider. As a charter member of her orchestra, Perry has been featured on all of her cds including, “Allegresse”, “Coming About”, “Evanesence” , and the Grammy award winning “Concert In The Garden”. Her latest recording, “Sky Blue”, features “Rich’s Piece”, a beautiful composition written for him. He has performed with her in Europe, Asia, and throughout the U.S.
He has maintained a long-term friendship and collaboration with Harold Danko, begun during their days with Thad Jones/Mel Lewis. . This relationship has been well documented on the Danko cds “Prestigious”, “Nightscapes”, “Stablemates”, “Tidal Breeze”, “New Autumn”, “The Feeling of Jazz”, “Next Age”, “Oatts &Perry” and also on many of Perry’s own recordings.
Perry has recorded extensively for SteepleChase.. The 16 cds he has recorded as a leader have featured such greats as George Mraz, Fred Hersch, Victor Lewis, Dennis Irwin, Scott Colley, Billy Hart, Frank Kimbrough, Jay Anderson, Renee Rosnes, Billy Drumond, Jeff Hirschfield, George Colligan, and Tom Rainey.
He is also a member of the Rufus Reid Quintet, the Dave Scott Quintet, the Christian Finger Band, the George Mraz Quartet, and the John Fedchock New York Big Band. He has also played in and recorded with several groups led by Fred Hersch
Perry is a skilled instructor of jazz improvisation and is on the faculty ofWilliamPatersonUniversity. He has led clinics and workshops at schools in the U.S. and abroad including The University of North Texas, The Eastman School of Music, Northern Iowa State University, University Of Oregon, IACP, Paris, and the AMR in Geneva,Switzerland, to name a few.
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