Richard Drexler is a bassist, pianist and composer/arranger who has performed with many of the biggest names in jazz. Recently he’s been working with the Jeff Berlin Trio, Woody Herman Orchestra, Kenny Drew Jr. and others.
Multi-instrumentalist, composer/arranger and producer Richard Drexler, an Illinois native, has been based in Florida since 1985. A couple of long house pianist stints kept him busy for nine years in the Tampa Bay area, where he performed with many visiting artists. More recently he has toured regularly with the Jeff Berlin Trio since 2001 and on occasion with the Woody Herman Orchestra and trombonist John Allred, among others. He has been working as bassist in the Kenny Drew Jr. trio and regularly appearing as a bassist or pianist/vocalist in the jazz clubs of central Florida. Singers he has accompanied include Mel Torme, Tony Bennett, Diahann Carroll, Frankie Laine, Bob Dorough, Mose Allison, Roseanna Vitro, Vic Damone, Al Jarreau, Connie Francis and Dena DeRose. He is an adjunct faculty member in the jazz department of the University of Central Florida in Orlando and has his own private teaching studio.
He has been active in the studios, appearing on or producing over a hundred CDs ranging from salsa to avant-garde to country and western to the thrash metal group Saigon Kick. He has assisted guitarist/composer/producer Richie Zellon on much of the Songosaurus label catalog, devoted to jazz fused with South American rhythms. On these projects he has recorded with Bob Mintzer, Paquito d’Rivera, Jerry Bergonzi, Gato Barbieri, Claudio Roditi, Alex Acuna and others. He has produced and/or arranged several other musicians’ projects that have garnered widespread radio airplay. The list of noted jazz musicians Richard has gigged with runs in the hundreds. His playing has had very favorable reviews in magazines such as Jazz Times, Down Beat, Jazz Improv, All About Jazz New York and Jazziz, and in dozens of online publications.
Richard produced his first album of originals, “Flaming Spirit” in 1978 with Dave Liebman, Tom Harrell, Steve laSpina and Clay Hulet. His compositions and arrangements include chamber music, symphonic works and concertos as well as several dozen recorded jazz tunes. A major direction in his music has been combining classical music with jazz and Latin forms, as in his Songosaurus CD “Senor Juan Brahms” and arrangements of works by Mahler, Chopin and other composers.
Richard has recorded with Nat Adderley, Gato Barbieri, Jay Beckenstein, Bob Berg, Chuck Berghofer, Jeff Berlin, Brian Bromberg, Gary Burton, Dave Carpenter, Terri Lynn Carrington, Stanley Clarke, Vinnie Coliauta, Paquito d’Rivera, Al DiMeola, Kenny Drew Jr., Oscar Feldman, David Friesen, Danny Gottlieb, Tom Harrell, Woody Herman Orchestra, Dick Hyman, Hank Jones, Dave Samuels, Mike Stern, Ira Sullivan, Toots Thielemann, Dave Weckl, Rachel Z, and many others.
He has performed with Peter Appleyard, Sam Brown, Billy Cobham, Chick Corea, Buddy deFranco, Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Carl Fontana, Joe LaBarbara, Othello Molineaux, Alphonse Mouzon, New Dorsey Orchestra, Larry Novak, Adam Nussbaum, Chris Potter, Tito Puente, Sam Rivers, Arturo Sandoval, Ed Shaughnessy, Ernie Watts, Woody Herman Orchestra, A Chorus Line, Jesus Christ Superstar, Coasters, Diamonds, Four Aces, Four Freshmen, Four Lads, Guy Lombardo Orchestra, Bob Hope, Rich Little, Rockettes and many others.
“Playing through the Markbass amp gives great clarity, particularly in the upper register while soloing, far beyond my previous amp,” says Richard. “The sound is now much truer to the actual instrument: a louder version of the way my bass sounds unamplified. I’m very happy with the sound, and also happy it takes less trunk space and is much easier to transport. I was really surprised when I did an outdoor gig on electric bass, which I don’t play very often. The amount of sound was plenty for a huge park, and the 1970 Fender Precision sounded like a whole new instrument, again with a flat EQ. I’ve never heard that bass sound so good.”