Tim Richards Tim Richards

Tim Richards was born in London and was drawn to music at an early age, his first encounter with a piano being at the age of 8 in a dentist’s waiting room. He studied classical piano with the renowned Carola Grindea until the age of 14, when he began attempting to teach himself jazz and blues after seeing Thelonious Monk on TV.

Tim’s seminal modern jazz group SPIRIT LEVEL was formed in Bristol in 1979, a quintet with saxophonist Paul Dunmall and trumpeter Dave Holdsworth, and released seven albums between 1979 and 1999. After appearing at the 1985 Vienne jazz festival on the same bill as Miles Davis, they teamed up with US trumpeter Jack Walrath (ex-Mingus) for a series of UK and European dates, recording the acclaimed 'Killer Bunnies' album (Spotlite). In 1989 Jerry Underwood replaced Paul Dunmall and the band continued touring throughout the 90s, performing at jazz clubs and festivals in almost every European country, with appearances in double bills opposite such names as McCoy Tyner, Horace Silver, Joe Zawinul and Joe Henderson. They were nominated 'Best Small Group' in the 1995 British Jazz Awards.

In 1999 Tim expanded the group to a nine-piece, renaming it GREAT SPIRIT and recruiting some of Britain's most dynamic jazz musicians, including Tony Kofi, Gilad Atzmon, Denys Baptiste, Dick Pearce and Roger Beajolais, who all appear on the bands first CD 'Suite for The Shed', released on the 33 Records label back to back with a Best of Spirit Level compilation (33Jazz051). The Suite is a 60-minute piece in seven sections, commissioned in 1999 by Yorkshire venue The Shed, premiered on the band's first UK tour and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 the same year.

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“Jazz supergroup whose passion proves inspirational... Not a dull moment from beginning to end.”

“Richards' arrangements are terrific, and the choice of material is just as good... A landmark achievement in a long career.”
John Fordham - THE GUARDIAN

“Everyone who reads this magazine should buy this album it's British jazz at its best.” 4 stars (an outstanding release).
Stuart Nicholson - JAZZWISE


“Tim Richards... moves with impressive confidence from boiling Latin rhythms to bebop, ballads and even a tinge of gospel, while still retaining his own recognisable style.”

“A unique mixture formed from his admiration of both the expansive, robust playing of McCoy Tyner and the luminous delicacy of Abdullah Ibrahim.”

“Exuberantly swinging… gospel-tinged bop, freshly served.”

“Something of a master class in contemporary jazz piano from a vigorous, vibrant but tastefully interactive band.”
Chris Parker VORTEX JAZZ

“Strong melodic lines, muscular rhythms, ear-catching harmonies..

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Primary Instrument




Willing to teach

Intermediate to advanced


Private piano lessons (blues, jazz, improvisation, composition) since 1980.
Group evening classes at Goldsmiths (University of London since 1990.
Jazz tutor at Morley College, London since 1997.
Teaching qualification: GDMTA (Graduate Diploma in Music Teaching to Adults), Goldsmiths, 2006.
Also MMus in Composition, Trinity College of Music, London 2006-8.

Clinic/Workshop Information

Workshops for jazz and blues pianists, intermediate - advanced.
Director of 'Premises Jazz Piano Summer School' at Premises Studios, Hackney, London since 1997 (annual course - 5 days in August).
Tutor on 'ABRSM Jazz Piano Syllabus' (short course for piano teachers) at The City Lit, London (annual course - 4 Sundays in November).
Occasional tutor on ABRSM and other ensemble courses for all instruments, including 'Let's Teach Jazz' weekends.
Short weekend courses for jazz pianists - professional bassist and drummer provided.


Albums by Tim Richards


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