Juno Award Winning Jazz Artist
Richard Underhill’s wonderful warm alto sound, great writing and arranging skills and in-from-the-outside soloing make him one of Canada’s most distinctive jazz performers. Richard won a 2003 Juno Award for his jazz debut Tales from the Blue Lounge and was nominated for the Prix du Jazz at the 2003 Montreal Jazz Festival.
His latest album Kesnington Suite has garnered significant critical acclaim and has been nominated for a 2008 Juno Award. His 2nd album Moment in Time was also nominated for a Juno Award in 2007. His debut video ‘The Old Guys’ climbed to No.1 on the Bravo! video chart and won a 2004 SOCAN Number 1 award. A truly original jazz composer and arranger, Richard’s exciting original music captivates audiences with singable melodies, outstanding musicianship and engaging performances.
Richard Underhill has performed and recorded with Han Bennink, Julius Hemphil, Dr. John, Paul Cram, Kevin Breit, Jane Bunnett, the Neville Brothers, Kathleen Edwards, Taj Mahal, Maria Muldar, Rob McConnell, Molly Johnson, Blue Rodeo, Colin James, Andy Stochansky, Colin Linden, Hawksley Workman, Stephen Frearing, The Sadies, Tom Cochrane, Wide Mouth Mason, Luke Doucet, Holly Cole, Julie Michaels, Alex Lifeson, Mendelson Joe, Amos Garrett, Bobby Wiseman, Soul Rebels, the Mighty PoPo, the Hemispheres Orchestra, Daniel Janke, Tom Walsh, Luke Doucet, Mellissa McClelland, NOMA and Toronto jazz stalwarts like Reg Schwager, Jake Langley, Steve Koven, Ron Davis, Wayne Cass, Tyler Yareema, Tory Cassis, and George Koller. In demand as a session player and sideman, he has written horn and string arrangements for Kathleen Edwards, Molly Johnson, Andy Stochansky, Hawksley Workman, Blue Rodeo, Bobby Wiseman, Big Rude Jake and Lorraine Segato. He leads several diverse groups including his jazz quintet, the Funk Explosion, The Kensington Horns Community Band, and the improvising electronic groove ensemble Astrogroove.
The founding member of Toronto’s outrageous Sun Ra influenced Shuffle Demons, Underhill took this ground breaking Bop Rap ensemble from the streets of Toronto across Canada and to Europe. This audacious group played jazz, folk, world and rock festivals from Halifax to Vancouver and from Italy to Estonia from 1986 – 1997, touring across Canada 15 times and through Europe 15 times. The Shuffle Demons featured a fusion of hard bop and rap combined with exotic costumes and a no-holds-barred performance style. Over the course of 15 European tours they were a hit at several Jazz festivals including the North Sea Jazz, Molde Jazz, London’s Outside In Jazz festival, the Edinburgh Jazz festival, the Sfinks festival, and Jazz a Vienne. They recently celebrated their 20th Anniversary with a cross Canada tour and by breaking the Guinness Book World Record for most sax players performing a song. (900). The Shuffle Demons continue to tour and in 2006 performed at festivals in India, China and Europe to great success.