Richard studied clarinet at the Royal College of Music with international soloist Michael Collins. Self-taught on saxophone, he formed his own jazz quartet and big band while still at college and quickly became a familiar figure on the London jazz scene, playing with a wide range of bands and artists from the National Youth Jazz Orchestra to the Ink Spots.
After leaving college Richard juggled a career in the classical and jazz worlds, playing with the London Symphonietta among others, and finding regular work in the West End. Joining forces with American trombone player Rob Killips, Richard was a founder member of the jazz quintet 'Root Position', which soon established itself as one of Europe’s best young jazz groups by winning awards at both the Getxo and Leverkusen international Jazz Festivals, and regularly performing at Pizza Express Jazz Club (Dean St), Blackheath Concert Halls and throughout the UK.
In the 1997 Richard toured the United States and Europe with Jesus Alemany’s renowned band Cubanismo, in which he had the honour of being the only non-Cuban member. He was also a regular musician with Orchestra La Clave, Robin Jones’ King Salsa, Viramundo, Roberto Pla and Tumbaito. Richard worked alongside many of the great names in the latin music world including Carlos Del Puerto, Mario Rivera, Orlando Watussi, Tito Allen, Alfredo Rodriguez and Tata Guines.
Richard has worked with most of the established big bands, such as The Glenn Miller Orchestra (UK), The Ross Mitchell Band and Singers, The Memphis Belle Orchestra, Freddie Staff’s Manhattan Big Band, the London Swing Orchestra and The Nelson Riddle Orchestra (UK). In the late 1990’s Richard became a more regular name in the vintage jazz fraternity playing regularly with the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, Harry Strutters Hot Rhythm Orchestra and the Charleston Chasers. Richard became a regular member of the Big Chris Barber Band in 2004, leaving at the end of 2014 to focus on his own career.
As a composer and arranger, Richard has produced work for many groups and ensembles, including the acclaimed saxophone ensemble Saxtet, which he joined in 1996. He has performed regularly with contemporary jazz groups and classical ensembles such as the Mike Westbrook big band, Hugh Warren’s Barrel Organ Band, The London Jazz Composers Orchestra, the Matrix Ensemble and a performance at the Barbican Centre with the world famous Big Carla Bley Band. His recording and touring credits include The United Funk Organisation, William Orbit, PJ Proby, Martha Reeves, The Selector, Beat International and Ronnie Spector.
More recently, Richard has worked with Kenny Ball and toured with American pianist Johnny Varro’s Swing Seven throughout Germany and Switzerland, and runs his own band “Richard Exall’s Shooting Stars” which is a favourite at jazz clubs and festivals. Other recent projects include “The Krupa Connection”; a trio dedicated to the music of Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman. “The Magnificent Seven” ; a hard-core swing/latin, traditional/mainstream band formed from the top players on the jazz scene today. “Sugar Ray’s Lucky Strikes” , Jackson Sloan and The Rhythmtones, and the award winning Amy Roberts/Richard Exall Quintet.
As an educator, Richard has being involved in workshops and tutorials at various Universities and Music Colleges including Goldsmiths College, Trinity College of Music and the City of Birmingham Conservatoire, and was a resident professor of clarinet at Middlesex University for four years and professor of saxophone at The Centre For Young Musicians in London.
“Saxophonist Richard Exall deserves special mention for his ability to be creative over such a wide array of grooves and moods.” -Musician magazine.
“Richard Exall’s stunning clarinet improvisations…….must rate him amongst the country’s best” -Stafford jazz festival
“…exciting, fast and furious Tenor player……masterful in the latin jazz idiom” -Jazz UK
“And Richard Exall on tenor and alto saxes, was excitingly energetic and intense right from the first note” -The Spin jazz club, Oxford
In no particular order
Coleman Hawkins - tenor sax
Benny Goodman - clarinet
Johnny Hodges - alto sax
Ben Webster - tenor sax
Arty Shaw - clarinet
Benny Carter - everything
Charlie Ventura - tenor sax
Cannonball Adderley - alto sax
Buddy DeFranco - clarinet
Lester Young - tenor sax
Barney Bigard - clarinet
Sam Butera - tenor sax
Ken Peplowski - clarinet
Micheal Brecker - tenor sax
Paquito D'Rivera - clarinet
Stan Getz - tenor sax
Earl Bostic - alto sax
Charlie Parker - alto sax
Louis Jordan - alto sax
Harry Carney - baritone sax
Reed players top 20....
It would be fair to say that I've been influenced by many musicians over the years. Most are familiar saxophone and clarinet players known world-wide, but also some of my hugely talented friends and colleagues, who like me, continue to struggle against all odds to maintain a career in the jazz world.