Born: January 19, 1964 Primary Instrument: Sax, tenor
an Ritchie has had a long and varied career in music. Originally inspired to play the saxophone from listening to Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, his first band was light years away from jazz. Deaf School were a theater rock band from Liverpool that had a profound influence on the Merseyside music scene for years after their demise. After relocating to London, Ritchie became a popular studio session player. He is featured on recordings by Wham, The Beach Boys, Dee C Lee, Ash, Aswad, Steel Pulse, David Grant and many others. His interest in all things electronic sparked a new phase in his career. His group Miro Miroe were one of the leading lights in the Electro / New Romantic era. This led to extensive programming, arranging and eventually production work. His production credits during this period include Radio Kaos - Roger Waters, Strange Angels - Laurie Anderson, Sinful - Pete Wylie, Wolf - Hugh Cornwell ..... the list goes on. Having spent years working on other peoples music, he decided to concentrate his energies on his own compositions. The fruits of his labours in this area include scores for many documentaries including The Real James Bond Gadgets, Supertwins and the Lonely Planet / Globetrekker series plus innumerable TV adverts. With more free time he was able to return to his first love, jazz and refine his tenor and soprano saxophone playing to suit this technically demanding style. The first music to be released featuring Ritchie jazz compostions is Ian Ritchie's SOHO Project soon to be followed by South Of Houston. Recently he has toured the world with Roger Waters playing sax on Dark Side Of The Moon and other Pink Floyd favourites to massive audiences. Other bands he is a member of include John Henry Lambert's Going Away, the Harry Waters Band and various Holly Penfield lineups.
Hitherto, Ian Ritchie has hidden his jazz light under a bushel of studio activity, producing, composing and doing session work for the likes of Aswad, the Beach Boys and Laurie Anderson; here, he leads a sparky but intense quartet through a selection of his own tunes, all dedicated to an area of Soho. Ritchie's themes are unfussy and immediately accessible, but come into their own as hospitable chord sequences for extended soloing both from his own tenor, a breathy, occasionally pleasantly fruity sound utilizing an emotive vibrato where needed and propelled by a sinewy energy, and from pianist Alex Hutton. The latter is a real find, capable of slow-building, intelligently worked solos that specialize in teasing rhythmic displacement and a cunning use of space, and often culminate in splashy but carefully controlled climaxes. The album's overall atmosphere is relaxed and wholly unpretentious, but the band's sound, whether spearheaded by Ritchie's engagingly bleary tenor or his more strident soprano, is confidently interactive, vigorous and punchy, propelled as it is by the unshowy but powerful rhythm section of bassist Tony Fry and drummer Vladimiro Carboni. Promising much for live performances, this is one of the most assured and listenable debut albums in recent years.
Chris Parker. ( for the Vortex jazz magazine )
Willing to teach:
Experienced professional saxophonist Ian Ritchie is taking new pupils in the New Year. Having returned to London after a two year world tour with Roger Waters playing "Dark Side Of The Moon" and other major works from the Pink Floyd catalogue, he now has time to devote to aspiring saxophonists seeking improvement. Ritchie has played on records by Wham, The Beach Boys, Ash, Aswad and many more. He is active on the London jazz scene with his group Ian Ritchie's SOHO Project. He can be heard every day on TV playing the "Working Lunch" theme as well as his own "Globetrekker" theme. He is offering tuition in the basics of saxophone technique, embouchure etc. through to the intricacies of jazz improvisation and harmony. Beginners to advanced players welcome. Please email initially to discuss arranging a course of lessons and fees etc.