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Richards, Steph / Joshua White: Zephyr (Relative Pitch)

Exploring the sonic and visual territory of water, centering on concepts of metamorphoses and breathing underwater, pianist Joshua White and trumpeter & flugelhorn player Steph Richards also employ resonating water vessels and percussion as they present three fluid and introspectively fathomed works in multiple movements: "Sacred Sea"; "Sequoia"; and "Northern Lights".

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product information:

UPC: 5904224870119

Label: Relative Pitch
Catalog ID: RPR 1132
Squidco Product Code: 31209

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded in Studio A, at the Warren Music Center, in the U of C San Diego, in 2019, by Andrew Munsey.


Steph Richards-trumpet, flugelhorn, resonating water vessels

Joshua White-piano, preparations, percussion

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Artist Biographies:

"Trumpeter and composer Steph Richards has steadily established herself in as an engaging experimentalist on the jazz and creative music scenes, working with pioneering artists ranging Henry Threadgill and Anthony Braxton to Laurie Anderson and David Byrne. Her work is driven by a curiosity of what sensory variables are open to experimentation- often resulting in interdisciplinary works that include scent, dance, and performed in unexpected spaces such as carousels or underwater. Her works have been featured stages as iconic and varied as Carnegie Hall, the Blue-note and Lincoln Center.

Originally from Canada, Richards has spent much of her career in Brooklyn, NY. Dedicated to experimental music without regard to genre, she is fluid in the contemporary music scene (she has performed alongside the Kronos Quartet and the International Contemporary Ensemble) as well as in the jazz and creative scenes, working with the many musicians such as Jason Moran, Ravi Coltrane and Sylvie Courvoisier.

As a soloist, Richards' solo records explore improvisation, spectral experimentation, groove and, in her more recent release, scent. Supersense (Northern Spy Records, 2020), is an inter-sensorial body of works by Steph Richards in collaboration with scent artist Sean Raspet. It is an exploration of the emotional dialogue between sound and scent, which evokes sensations that linger in the wordless space of sonic vibration and chemical reaction. "Supersense makes for high-grade experimental avant-garde and then some" (All About Jazz ****1/2).

Her debut record Fullmoon (Relative Pitch Records) was hailed as a "bold pronouncement" by the New York Times and voted on multiple "Best of 2018" year end lists, including as the #1 Record of the Year by Free Jazz Collective. An electronic exploration of trumpet/resonating percussion and sampler, the record featured the work of pioneering electronic artist J.A. Dino Deane. Steph immediately followed up with her 2019 release Take The Neon Lights, a quartet situated between experimental jazz, free funk and avant rock, It also received high praise from critics, with Downbeat calling Steph "a virtuoso of nonlinear trumpet playing" .

For years she co-produced the NYC-based FONT Music festival alongside trumpeter Dave Douglas and now produces FONT West on the West Coast. She is on faculty at the experimentally driven University of California San Diego and is a Yamaha artist."

-Steph Richards Website (

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Pianist Joshua White (born August 17, 1985) had parallel musical training in both classical and gospel music traditions before encountering the music most commonly referred to as "jazz", at the University of California, San Diego summer camp in 2003. He began formal piano training at the age of seven with a private instructor, and was subsequently immersed into the music of Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Rachmaninoff, and others. After competing in several classical piano music competitions and also becoming the organist/pianist at his local Church, Joshua (at the age of 18) chose to focus his musical studies on "jazz" and improvised music traditions, drawing inspiration from its many innovators. He dove into the music head first with the help of world-renowned musicians like composer Anthony Davis, saxophonist David Borgo, flutist Holly Hofmann and piano master Mike Wofford. "Joshua was the most devoted student I've ever worked with by far," says Wofford. "Absolutely focused and with a great intuitive grasp of the music, even at that early stage."

In the years following, White made incredible strides through the Southern California jazz community, playing with virtuoso trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos, alto saxophone legend Charles McPherson, bassist Marshall Hawkins, tenor saxophonist Daniel Jackson, and former Anthony Braxton sideman, Mark Dresser. Dresser hand- picked the young musician for his West Coast Quintet, which featured saxophonist Ben Schachter, virtuoso trombonist Michael Dessen and drummer Kjell Nordeson. "Josh is a super-bad young pianist," Dresser said. "I see him as a singular talent. He brings so much to the table." White's virtuosity is never about empty displays of technique. He has the uncanny ability to blend the overtly lyrical with passages of tumultuous tension without losing the listener in the process. He is, in short, a cultural improviser, taking his inheritance and venturing into possibility.

In 2011, White entered the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition in Washington D.C., ultimately placing second out of 160 competitors from around the world. Herbie Hancock was one the judges. "Joshua has immense talent," Hancock told music critic George Varga of the San Diego Union Tribune. "I was impressed by his daring and courageous approach to improvisation on the cutting edge of innovation. He is his own man. I believe that Thelonious Monk would have been proud of the performance of this great young artist..."

For the last several years, White has been in demand as one of Southern California's most creative and technically accomplished pianists. He performs regularly at Dizzy's (San Diego), Blue Whale (Los Angeles), The Loft (La Jolla), the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library (La Jolla), and numerous other venues on the West Coast. Formed in January 2014, the Joshua White Quartet is a bi-coastal group focused on interpreting original compositions, as well as exploring the boundaries of collective improvisation. The JWQ features David Binney (Alto Sax) Harish Raghavan, Hamilton Price (bass) Damion Reid, Mark Ferber (drums). Pianist Joshua White has also worked /recorded with Chrisitan McBride, Dayna Stephens, Ambrose Akinmusire, Walter Smith III, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Tim Lefebvre, Joe LaBarbera, Hugh Ragin, Anthony Wilson, Derrick Hodge, and many more...

-Joshua White Website (

Have a better biography or biography source? Please Contact Us so that we can update this biography.
track listing:

1. Sacred Sea: Zephyr 4:05

2. Sacred Sea: Anza 3:42

3. Sacred Sea: Amphitrite 1:05

4. Sacred Sea: Nixie 2:33

5. Sacred Sea: Sacred Sea 5:33

6. Sequoia: Cicada 2:21

7. Sequoia: Sequoia 3:13

8. Sequoia: Heeyyookkee 3:05

9. Northern Lights: Aurora I 2:15

10. Northern Lights: Aurora II 2:11

11. Northern Lights: Aurora III 4:26

12. Northern Lights: Aurora IV 3:23
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Steph Richards' latest record Zephyr explores the sonic and visual territory of water, in collaboration with pianist Joshua White. With her trumpet playing in various water vessels, the music centers on concepts of metamorphoses and breathing underwater; abilities possessed by both Amphitrite, Greek goddess of the sea, and Richards' in utero child at the time of recording."-Relative Pitch

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
West Coast/Pacific US Jazz
Recordings featuring brass instruments - trumpets, trombones, tubas, other horns
Piano & Keyboards
Objects and Home-made Instruments
Instruments with Preparations
Duo Recordings
New in Improvised Music
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