Richard occupies a unique place in the musical life of his native Scotland, as he has the versatility to improvise on any theme, in any key and in any given style.
He has a virtuosic piano technique enabling him to give recitals on “The History of Jazz Piano”, encompassing every major jazz pianist from Fats Waller to Keith Jarrett, and is a master of stride piano playing.
Years spent as Head of Music in Beath High School have led to an easy rapport with audiences explaining how music works. A popular broadcaster on Radio Scotland since 2007, he has revealed to thousands of listeners the secrets of the jazz masters in his role as “Jazz Jargonbuster”.
He is Honorary Professor of Jazz Piano at the University of St Andrews, and played a major role in the development of the ABRSM jazz Piano Syllabus.
Richard, through his pioneering work with Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra, has been influential in the development of many of our finest musicians such as Calum Gourlay, Helena Kay, Fergus McCreadie and Kim Macari. Richard currently runs a ”Virtual” FYJO with members from the length of the UK.
He has had a regular feature on BBC Radio Scotland’s “Jazz Nights” for the past 14 years, opening up and explaining how jazz works to thousands of listeners, and is one of the countries most experienced educators.
He is currently working on a book and DVD for Hal leonard inc. entitled “Jazz Piano for Kids”, teaching improvisation on Nicola Benedetti’s Foundation, and playing the organ in Abbotshall Church, Kirkcaldy.
CDs – mostly available from iTunes, Bandcamp, Spotify, Amazon and Birnam CDs.
“The Diel’s Awa’ Wi’ The Jazzman”
“The Michaels play the Great American Songbook”
“The Brothers” (with Richard’s late brother Will Michael)
“A History of Jazz Piano”
“Anything But A Silent Night”
Piano lessons are available from his website.