SPECIAL GUEST: Emil Richards is an American percussionist who plays a variety of different percussion instruments.
Richards started playing the xylophone at age six. In the 1950s and 1960s he played various percussion instruments with jazz ensembles first in New York and then in Los Angeles, where he settled permanently in 1959. He became known as one of the most desirable percussionists in jazz, rock and other popular music and was called on to play in countless movie and television soundtracks.
In 1954 Emil moved to New York where he played jazz gigs with Charles Mingus, Ed Shaughnessy and Ed Thigpen while doing studio recordings for artists such as Perry Como, the Ray Charles Singers and Mitch Aires. In 1959 he moved to Los Angeles where he worked with the Paul Horn Quintet, Jimmy Witherspoon, the Shorty Rogers Big Band, Don Ellis, Lenny Bruce and Lord Buckley. He also recorded with Frank Sinatra, Nelson Riddle, Judy Garland, Sarah Vaughan and Doris Day. In 1962, in response to a request from President John F. Kennedy, Emil and a small jazz combo joined Sinatra on a tour around the world for the benefit of underprivileged children.
After this world tour, Richards returned to Los Angeles where he recorded with such artists as the Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, Bing Crosby and Nat Cole. He became a member of Frank Zappa’s Abnuceals Emuukha Electric Symphony Orchestra and recorded several albums with this large orchestra, including Zappa’s first solo album, Lumpy Gravy, in 1967. He also worked on film scores for Jerry Goldsmith, John Williams (Stars Wars series), Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein, Johnny Mandel, Quincy Jones, Oliver Nelson, Neal Hefti, Lalo Schifrin, Dave Grusin, Michel Legrand, Alex North and Bill Conti, to name a few.
Richards is a "first call" percussionist for the Hollywood film industry, and has played for hundreds of films.