Having enjoyed one of instrumental music’s most dynamic and multi-faceted careers, Richard Elliot’s sound has played a huge part in pioneering the genre and radio format that has become today’s contemporary urban jazz.
Born in the Scottish highlands and transplanted to Los Angeles at the age of three, Richard was captivated by R&B and smitten with the Motown sound from an early age. As a teenager, he was taken by the tenor sax and charmed to find himself capable of expressing his own musical voice through it.
Many first heard the saxophone virtuosity of Richard Elliot in the 1980s, as a touring musician with the treasured Bay Area soul-funk outfit, Tower of Power. In that time, he released his debut solo album, Trolltown, and the ensuing success encouraged him to make a name for himself as a solo artist. His subsequent career has been nothing short of phenomenal. By the late ’80s, Elliot was signed to Blue Note Records, where he worked with the legendary record executive, Bruce Lundvall, an early champion of Elliot’s work.
Since then, Elliot has released more than 20 albums as a leader, and has also polished his chops serving as a sideman for a considerable list of diverse giants, including the Yellowjackets, Natalie Cole, and Motown hitmakers Smokey Robinson and the Temptations. One of Elliot’s favorite projects was the collaborative 2013 release Summer Horns, which found him teaming up with fellow sax-slingers Dave Koz, Gerald Albright, and Mindi Abair. The album was nominated for a Grammy® in the category of Best Pop Instrumental Album.
His numerous #1 albums include On The Town, Soul Embrace, After Dark, and Jumpin’ Off, and he has held a consistent presence at the top of the Billboard charts. Elliot has also enjoyed the distinction of having two releases chart simultaneously; Chill Factor remained on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart for over 94 weeks, 26 weeks simultaneously with the greatest-hits collection, The Best of Richard Elliot.
Inspired by the inventive sensation of his 2016 release, Summer Madness, Richard formed West Coast Jam, a touring ensemble of funky improvisational jazz featuring some of the genre’s biggest names. West Coast Jam 2019 assembles Richard together with longtime collaborator Peter White, vocal/percussion group DW3, and the West Coast Horns, into a dazzling kaleidoscope of funk.