Richard Underhill

Richard Underhill

 Toronto, Ontario, CAN

One of Canada’s most interesting jazz composers and performers, alto saxophonist Richard Underhill won Juno Award for his debut CD ‘Tales from the Blue Lounge.' Richard's exciting original music captivates audiences with singable melodies, outstanding musicianship and engaging performances.


Richard Underhills wonderfully melodic alto sax playing, great writing and arranging skills and in-from-the-outside soloing make him one of Canadas most distinctive jazz performers.

A truly original jazz composer and arranger, Richard's exciting original music captivates audiences with singable melodies, outstanding musicianship and engaging performances.

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. Richard's video The Old Guys climbed to No.1 on the Bravo! video chart and won a 2004 SOCAN Number 1 award.

His 3rd album Kensington Suite garnered significant critical acclaim and was nominated for a 2008 Juno Award and his 2nd album Moment in Time was also nominated for a Juno Award in 2007. He was awarded the Toronto Arts Council Foundation Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition in 2008.

His latest album Free Spirit is a DVD/CD featuring Lincoln Center Jazz and Wynton Marsalis Alum trombonist Ron Westray. Richard embarked on an extensive cross Canada tour of Jazz Festivals in 2010 to promote the release of his 4th CD and debut live DVD Free Spirit, playing to large enthusiastic crowds from coast to coast.

In 2011, Richard was honoured to perform at Roy Thomson Hall for the state funeral of his old friend the honourable Jack Layton.

Richard 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, NOMA and Toronto jazz stalwarts like Reg Schwager, Jake Langley, Steve Koven, Ron Davis, Wayne Cass, Tyler Yarema, 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, Londons Outside In Jazz festival, the Edinburgh Jazz festival, the Sfinks festival, and Jazz a Vienne. They 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 performed at festivals in India, China and Europe in 2006 and in Thailand, South Korea and the USA in 2010 with great success. The band is currently working on a new album and will play the Rochester, NY and Kingston, ON Jazz Festivals in summer 2011 as well as touring Australia and New Zealand.

'one of the best-sounding (CD's) of the year

RICHARD UNDERHILL Moment In Time (Stubby) Rating: NNNN

It's hard to believe this follow-up to his 2003 Juno winner, Tales From The Blue Lounge, is only Underhill's second solo album. As a founding member of the Shuffle Demons and a noted session sax player who puts in time with Blue Rodeo, Underhill seems to have been around forever. This album, co-produced by Jono Grant and Underhill, continues to deliver the goods, and may be one of the best-sounding of the year. All the better to hear the intense rhythm section, especially on Perry's Place and Day Off, where the drums and bass create an organic, driving force for Underhill and keys master Luis Guerra to go off on wild warring solos. Competition here is healthy, bringing out the best in everyone, with Bob Brough's tenor sax sweetly countering Underhill's alto. A thoroughly modern take on modern jazz, la Coleman and Hawkins.
Brent Raynor

'a resolutely swinging affair, focused and mature'
Eye Weekly - Toronto - November 24/2005 - CD guide - Moment in Time ***



Written By: Richard Underhill

Instrumental Song

In the Shadows

Written By: Richard Underhill

No Lyrcs


Free Spirit (2010) CD and DVD

Kensington Suite (2008)
Nominated for a Juno Award

Moment in Time (2006)
Nominated for a Juno Award

Tales from the Blue Lounge (2003) Juno Award Winner
Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year

Duets • Tom Walsh: 2005 - composer, arranger, alto sax
Luke Doucet • Luke Doucet: 2005 Six Shooter Records - alto sax, baritone sax
Back to Me • Kathleen Edwards: 2005 Zoe Records - alto sax, horn arrangement
Blue Mythos • Geordie Macdonald 2004 Sonavista - alto sax
Mungle Music • Ron Davis Trio: Davinor 2004 - alto sax, composer
Seriously Happy • Jaymz Bee’s Royal Jelly Orchestra: 2004 Linus - alto sax, arranger
Release • Z’Howndz: 2004 Scratch Records - alto sax
Oh Susanna • Oh Susanna: 2003 Nettwerk Records – alto sax, horn arrangement
That’s how I Walk • Stephen Fearing: 2002 True North Records - alto sax
Palace of Gold • Blue Rodeo: 2002 WEA - alto & bari sax, horn arrangements
Greatest Hits • Blue Rodeo: 2001 WEA - alto sax, horn arrangements
Mela • Trio David Parker: 2001 Woolly Records - alto sax, composer, arranger
Work Songs • Various Artists 2001 DROG Records - alto sax, programming
Rhythm of Love • David Wilcox: 2000 Stony Plain - alto saxophone
AstroGroove • AstroGroove: 2000 - Spinning Round the World - co-producer, saxes, flute, samples, drum programming, composer
Radio Fuse Box • Andy Stochansky: 2000 The Orchard – saxes, horn arrangement
The Tonight Album • Johnny Favorite: 2000 Alert Music - saxophones, arranger
The New Piano • Wayne Cass: 1999 - Alto Saxophone
Molly Johnson • Molly Johnson: 1999 Alert Music - alto sax
Blue Willow • Blue Willow: 1999 Iridescent Music – alto sax
ClintEastWoodyAllenAlda • Jaymz Bee’s Royal Jelly Orchestra:1999 Leisure Lab
saxophones, composer, arranger
A Christmas Cocktail • Jaymz Bee’s Royal Jelly Orchestra:1998 Leisure Lab/BMG
saxophones, arranger
Shaken and Stirred • Jaymz Bee’s Royal Jelly Orchestra:1997 Leisure Lab/BMG
saxophones, arranger
How do you feel about that? • Jennifer Ryan: 1996 Go Play Records - producer
Get Right • Shuffle Demons: 1996 Stubby Records - co-producer, saxes, composer
Extra Crispy • Shuffle Demons: 1993 Stubby Records - co-producer, saxes, composer
Alive in Europe • Shuffle Demons: 1992 Stubby Records - producer, saxes, composer
What do you Want • Shuffle Demons: 1990 Stony Plain - co-producer, saxes, composer
Bobby Wiseman • Bobby Wiseman: 1989 Risque Disque/WEA - alto sax
Born to Cuddle • Mendolson Joe: 1988 Anthem Records -saxes, horn arrangements.
Bop Rap • Shuffle Demons: 1988 Stony Plain Records. - producer, saxophones,vocals
Beyond Benghazi • Paul Cram with Julius Hemphill: 1987 Apparition - bari sax
Streetniks • Shuffle Demons: 1986 Stony Plain/Stubby Records - co-producer,
saxophones, vocals, composer nominated for a Juno award 1987 – best jazz album
Live In Toronto • The Bill Smith Ensemble: 1986 Onari – alto sax, composer
Live at the Cabana Room • The Shuffle Demons: 1985 Stubby – alto and bari sax

Set List

All original Music from my 4 albums. All songs composed by Richard Underhill

This House
Blakey's Bounce
Meet me in the Market
Bike Lane
Be Strong, Be Strong
Mr Fezziwig
Blues for Suze
Morse Code
Will of the People
Day Off
The Old Guys
Waiting for Something to Happen
Where were you when the lights went out?