"A trumpeter whose skillset explodes every category,” (WBGO) Steph Richards “composes in ways that standard notation could never document" (New York Times). Richards has recorded with pioneering artists ranging from Henry Threadgill, Anthony Braxton and John Zorn to St. Vincent, David Byrne and Yoko Ono and her sonic explorations have led to collaborations with performance artists Mike Kelly, Laurie Anderson/Lou Reed. Richards has also worked with creative jazz masters Jason Moran, Ravi Coltrane, Sylvie Courvoisier and others. Driven by a curiosity how listeners interact with music and what sensory variables are open to experimentation, her own compositions have featured across the US, Mexico, Canada and Europe and premiered on stages at Carnegie Hall, the Blue-note and Lincoln Center, to include works for carousel and choreographed ensemble, underwater percussion and 600 found objects.
Originally from Canada, Richards has spent much of her career cultivating a presence while living in Brooklyn, NY. Richards has performed alongside the Kronos Quartet, the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), The Pixies and Kanye West and co-produces the FONT Music festival alongside trumpeter Dave Douglas. She is involved with Henry Threadgill’s Kestra, Bang on a Can’s Asphalt Orchestra of which she is a founding member and through which she has worked with St. Vincent, Tyondai Braxton and choreographer Susan Marshall. She holds degrees from the Eastman School of Music, McGill University and California Institute of the Arts and is on faculty at UCSD.
Her debut record Fullmoon (Relative Pitch Records) was hailed as “a bold pronouncement” (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. Steph's “ingenious” (WBGO) 2019 record “Take The Neon Lights” earned high praise, with NextBop calling the record "mesmerizing...fans of avant-garde jazz should definitely give this one a listen” and was voted Best of 2019 by The NYC Jazz Record Review. Her upcoming 2020 Fall release SUPERSENSE (Northern Spy Records) features the interactions of scent and sounds, featuring renowned bandmates Jason Moran (piano), Stomu Takeishi (bass), Kenny Wollesen (drums). Richards is a Yamaha Artist.
- March 2019, Steph Richards: Take the Neon Lights (Birdwatcher Records). Downbeat: 4/5 stars MUSIC: https://stephrichards.bandcamp.com/album/take-the-neon-lights . VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QhZVAjeK2c
- February 2018, Steph Richards: FULLMOON (Relative Pitch Records). Free Jazz Collective, 5/5 stars. MUSIC: https://stephrichards.bandcamp.com/album/fullmoon VIDEO: https://vimeo.com/258685528
- April 2018, Trio Music (Steph Richards, Vinny Golia, Burt Turetzsky) (PfMentum Records). MUSIC: https://stephrichards.bandcamp.com/album/trio-music
- April 2018, THAW (Steph Richards, Andrew Drury) (Different Track Recordings). MUSIC: https://resonantbodies.bandcamp.com/album/thaw
Steph Richards: SUPERSENSE featuring Jason Moran (piano), Stomu Takeishi (bass) Kenny Wolleson (percussion). A record of music for scents and sounds.
Anthony Braxton: ZIM Music, Tricentric Records
James Carney Sextet: Pure Heart (Sunnyside Records), featuring Ravi Coltrane, Oscar Noriega, Steph Richards, Tom Rainey and Dezron Douglas.
released records (collaborator)
Henry Threadgill: Dirt...and More Dirt. Featuring: David Virelles, Liberty Ellman, Elliot Humberto Cave and others. PI Recordings, 2018. (Pulitzer-winning composer’s album on “Best of 2018” lists: NPR, Stereogum, New York Times)
Deerhoof/Coverband: Coverband, Joyful Noise Records, 2017.
Taylor Ho Bynum Plustet: Enter the PlusTet, Firehouse 12 Records, 2016.
Anthony Braxton: Composition No. 46 (+168 and Language Music), New Braxton House Records NBH048, 2014.
John Zorn: There is No More Firmament, Tzadik Records, 2017.
Anthony Braxton: Trillium J: The Non-Unconfession- ables - Composition No 380. New Braxton House Records, 2016.
Asphalt Orchestra: The Pixies’ Surfer Rosa, Cantaloupe Records, 2014.
Joseph C. Phillips Numinous: Changing Same, New Amsterdam Records, NWAM068, 2015.
"Steph Richards has become a cutting edge jazz star ..." Jazz Times: https://jazztimes.com/reviews/albums/steph-richards-take-the-neon-lights-birdwatcher/
****1/2 stars, Free Jazz Blog, "both virtuosic and beautiful in equal measure": https://www.freejazzblog.org/2019/02/steph-richards-take-neon-lights.html
**** Jazzwise "I suspect we'll be hearing a lot more from Steph Richards... https://drive.google.com/file/d/10Pm0qcbKomLnRXcf04Eng_Zxyte-TFX4/view?usp=sharing
March 12, 2019 “Steph Richards is one to watch…” NPR, Fresh Air Record Review (National Broadcast): https://www.npr.org/2019/03/12/702528976/trumpeter-steph-richards-follows-her-horns-lead-on-take-the-neon-lights
March 4, 2019, Album Review, NextBop “Fans of Avant-Garde Jazz should definitely give this one a listen” https://www.nextbop.com/blog/steph-richards-take-the-neon-lights-album-review
March 12, 2019, Album Review, Salt Peanuts (norway) http://salt-peanuts.eu/record/steph-richards/
March 2, 2019, Concert Review, London Jazz Review “Steph Richards and her quartet put together a gripping set…” http://www.londonjazznews.com/2019/03/review-steph-richards-at-owl-music.html
March 2019, Downbeat Magazine, Album Review (Giovanni Rusonnello). Four stars**** “Richards is the latest figure of note in a field of young, avant-garde trumpeters” + March 2019, Downbeat HotBox Review: Four critics, four stars, four stars, four stars, ½ star “In an era of astounding trumpeters, Richards is a distinctive voice, full of plangent asides and vertical dexterity”.
March, 2019, album review, New York City Jazz Record Review (March edition)
March 1, 2019, album review, All About Jazz “Steph Richards kicks ass and she wants you to know it” https://www.allaboutjazz.com/take-the-neon-lights-stephanie-richards-birdwatcher-records-review-by-mike-jurkovic.php
February 26, 2019, Album Review, Jazz Trail, “A” rating, “outstanding”. https://jazztrail.net/blog/steph-richards-take-neon-lights-album-review
February 15, 2019, Album Review, Free Jazz Collective: 4.5 stars, “astonishing...both virtuosic and beautiful in equal measure”. http://www.freejazzblog.org/2019/02/steph-richards-take-neon-lights.html
February 15, 2019, Album Review: Downbeat (digital). “Richards proved herself a virtuoso of non-linear trumpet playing...the music’s sense of scale truly lives up to the title.” http://downbeat.com/reviews/detail/Take-The-Neon-Lights1
December 2018: Fullmoon Voted Best Album of 2018 by Jazz Right Now, Avant Music News, San Diego Union Tribune, Muzica de Vest (Romania), Giomalla Della Musica (Italy), Free Jazz Collective, Feminist Jazz Review,
June 2018, Album Review, 5 stars *****, Free Jazz Collective “Fullmoon is remarkable, full stop.” http://www.freejazzblog.org/2018/06/three-from-stephanie-richards-plus-live.html
May 2018, KPBS, NPR Radio, Interview: Musician Steph Richards hopes ‘Fullmoon” Resonates with Listeners” https://www.kpbs.org/news/2018/may/22/musician-stephanie-richards-hopes-fullmoon-resonat/
May 2018, San Diego Union Tribune: "Steph Richards gets good vibrations, literally, on her absorbing new album” https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/entertainment/music/sd-et-music-stephanie-richards-20180517-story.html
May 2018, Exclaim Canada, Album Review. “these nine works are ambitious to the point of rendering categorization meaningless” https://exclaim.ca/music/article/stephanie_richards-fullmoon
April, 2018, NPR Review: Stephanie Richards' 'Gong' Resonates The Body's Frequency. “spellbinding...Stephanie Richards' trumpet sounds like deep space wrapped around your head, a flood in the endless void” https://www.npr.org/sections/allsongs/2018/04/11/601173383/stephanie-richards-gong-resonates-the-body-s-frequency
September 2016, Feature Interview, “Up Close with Trumpeter Stephanie Richards” https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/entertainment/music/sdut-stephanie-richards-interview-2016sep13-htmlstory.html
November 2016, Concert Review “Richards needs to do this more often.” https://www.nbcsandiego.com/blogs/sounddiego/Stephanie-Richards-Quintet-at-The-Loft-400176491.html