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Rich Willey

As both a player and composer, Rich Willey is firmly rooted in the jazz tradition. His trumpet and bass trumpet playing draw upon the wellspring of bebop with a contemporary freshness; brash and forceful, but also lyrical and warm. His compositions and arrangements are thoughtful and substantial, yet always accessible and listenable, combining a solid sense of swing with an overriding concern for melody.

Rich was active on the New York scene in the 1980s to the mid 1990s, handling a wide range of Latin and jazz gigs, most notably backing up legendary vocalist Mel Tormé. He is the author of I’d Rather Be Boppin’ -- 24 Jazz Duets, Volumes 1, 2 & 3 (Boptism Music Publishing), Home Cookin’ Fer Young ‘Uns -- 24 Dixie Jazz Duets, and The Melody Lingers On -- 24 Melodic Jazz Solos, companion to Vol.1 of his bop duets (Boptism Music Publishing).

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“Rich Willey is an inspiration. His lines bubble . . . his sound is smooth to the touch. Rich had me popping my fingers and begging for more!” -- BYRON STRIPLING, recording and performing artist, former lead trumpeter and soloist with the Count Basie Orchestra

“Rich Willey’s trumpet playing and his use of bass trumpet is especially refreshing. A no-nonsense player.” -- MICHAEL ABENE, jazz pianist, arranger, composer, faculty member at Manhattan School of Music, NYC

“Rich’s arrangements are thoughtful and swinging. His bass trumpet sound and style really knocks me out.” -- TED ROSENTHAL, jazz pianist, clinician, faculty member at The Juilliard School and Manhattan School of Music

“Rich is not only a prodigious trumpet talent but also a remarkable composer and arranger.” -- RICK SIMERLY, Conn/Selmer artist, Jamey Aebersold clinician

“I'll take a couple moments to talk about Rich Willey

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Primary Instrument



Candler, NC

Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced students



1999–2001: Manhattan School of Music, Masters degree in Jazz Performance/Trumpet, May 2001, 3.84 GPA

1996–99: University of South Florida; graduated cum distinction from College of Fine Arts, May ‘99, 3.74 GPA, B.A. in Music Ed

1995–96: St. Petersburg Junior College, Associate of Arts Degree

1989–90: BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, studied with Bob Brookmeyer and Manny Albam

1979: Jamey Aebersold Winter Jazz Clinic in Dallas, TX, studied with David Baker, Jack Petersen

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4 Photos


The Rich Willey Quintet -- Gone With The Piggies
The Rich Willey...
Consolidated Artists Productions
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