|Posted on July 23, 2013 at 7:20 PM|
Richard began playing brass instruments at the age of eight when his grandfather taught him to play a rare kind of mellophone which he had acquired while serving with the RAF in India. Euphonium lessons at school followed shortly afterwards and in a few months Richard was good enough to join Northamptonshire junior wind band. He continued to progress rapidly on the euphonium, but regular exposure to his father's collection of jazz and big band records inspired him to take up the trombone two years later, and he played both instruments in the county system of bands and orchestras for the rest of his school career. In 1987 he went to Trinity College of Music in London with the aim of becoming an orchestral trombonist, but he also gained valuable experience in the college big band under the direction of the great jazz trombonist and arranger Bobby Lamb.
After graduating from Trinity, Richard pursued a freelance career predominantly as a classical musician working with such organisations as the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Northern Ballet, the Royal Shakespeare Company and Birmingham Opera. For several years he was sub-principle trombonist of the English Symphony Orchestra, during which time he worked with artists such as Nigel Kennedy and Natalie Clein. He also worked with a number of touring shows including The Blues Brothers Party, The Rat Pack Vegas Spectacular and the Opera Dudes as well as work on transatlantic cruise ships with the Nick Ross Orchestra and in Germany with Suzi Quatro.
During this period Richard was also teaching for the Northamptonshire music service and at Oakham School. From 1997 until 2005 he was director of the Northamptonshire Youth Big Band and under his leadership the band won numerous national awards and performed at three consecutive Schools Proms in the Royal Albert Hall. The need to nurture the improvisational skills of the young musicians in the band led Richard to develop his own own interest in playing jazz and a long period of intense study and practice followed. He is now a highly regarded and sought after jazz soloist playing regularly with his own quintet, Richard Exall's Shooting Stars and the bands Jucamaya and Interplay, as well as big bands such as the Nick Ross Orchestra and the John Miller Orchestra. He is also a frequent guest soloist at venues around the country and has had the good fortune to work with musicians such as Mark Nightingale, Lee Hallam, Bryan Corbett, Percy Pursglove, Chris Bowden, Karen Sharpe and Jack Cooper.
Richard continues to combine his busy performing schedule with teaching as well as composing and arranging for his quintet.