Short Biography

Longer Biography

Tim's first encounter with a piano was at the age of 8 in a dentist's waiting room. After classical piano lessons he taught himself jazz and blues from the age of 14, after seeing Thelonious Monk on TV.

He is best known as the leader of the long-lived modern jazz quartet SPIRIT LEVEL, formed in Bristol in 1979, a band that performed at jazz clubs and festivals in almost every European country alongside such names as Miles Davis, Horace Silver, McCoy Tyner and many others. In 1999, Tim expanded SPIRIT LEVEL to a nine-piece, renaming it GREAT SPIRIT and recording a first CD with an all-star line-up that included Denys Baptiste, Gilad Atzmon, Dick Pearce, Roger Beaujolais and Tony Kofi. The nine-piece toured the UK several times, featuring some of Britain's top jazz musicians such Pete King, Ed Jones, Jason Yarde, Seb Rochford and many others. Their second CD 'Epistrophy' received rave reviews, eg:

"Jazz supergroup whose passion proves inspirational... not a dull moment from beginning to end."
OBSERVER MUSIC MONTHLY

Tim has released over a dozen albums under his own name, featuring line-ups from duo to nine-piece, including two with Austrian saxman SIGI FINKEL and three TRIO albums. His playing has been described thus:

“Luminously funky, laced with the blues”
THE ROUGH GUIDE TO JAZZ

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

His latest project is the HEXTET, a six-piece inter-generational line-up featuring GREAT SPIRIT founder members Dick Pearce and Ed Jones alongside up and coming names such as Ralph Wyld (vibes) and Peter Ibbetson (drums). Their CD 'Telegraph Hill' was released in 2015 and can be purchased or downloaded at bandcamp.com. Reviews have been very positive, eg:

"It's the energy of his compositions that, as ever, grab the ear and the heart."
JAZZWISE MAGAZINE

"Tim Richards is one of the cornerstones of British jazz... A joy from beginning to end."
THE OBSERVER

Tim also enjoys playing blues and has toured and recorded with many well-known blues artists including the award-winning Otis Grand, Dana Gillespie and Earl Green, US guitarists Joe Louis Walker and Larry Garner, and Muddy Waters harmonica player Mojo Buford.

Apart from his playing activities, Tim is one of Britain's best-known jazz educators, a jazz examiner and contributor to the ABRSM jazz piano syllabus, and the author of four acclaimed tutors including IMPROVISING BLUES PIANO (1997) and EXPLORING JAZZ PIANO (2005), published by Schott Music (with CDs). The latter won the prestigious MIA award for 'Best Pop Publication' in 2006. Tim has taught jazz piano at The University of Surrey and at Goldsmiths (University of London). He currently teaches jazz piano and blues piano classes at Morley College and The City Lit in London.

"Tim Richards plays bluesy jazz piano with a fiercely contemporary edge and his compositions are lushly melodic."
EVENING STANDARD