Born in Glasgow, Scotland, saxophonist Richard Elliot moved with his family to Los Angeles when he was three. He learned to play the accordion as a child but admits he was initially attracted to the sax for its interesting shape! While still in high school, Elliot landed touring gigs with Natalie Cole and the Pointer Sisters. He also spent some time doing sessions for Motown artists including Smokey Robinson and the Four Tops, before joining the legendary Tower of Power horn section.
After deciding to branch out into a solo career, Elliot took out a second mortgage on his house to finance the move. His 1986 release, Trolltown, set the stage for one of the most successful careers in smooth jazz. Since then, Elliot has released over a dozen solo projects and been a founder of the popular touring franchise Guitars and Saxes. The sax man also founded the ArtiZen record label with fellow artist Rick Braun and is an entrepreneur in the internet space.
- Elliot is passionate about flying and once dreamt of becoming a fighter pilot. In fact, he purchased a used French fighter jet for his own use!
- Among Elliot’s internet businesses are Pacific Net, a multi-media company for the sports and entertainment industries, and World Processing, which provides convenient ways to move money through mobile devices and “stored value cards.”
- He is sometimes referred to as “James Brown of contemporary jazz” both for his funky grooves and energetic stage shows.
“Ironically, most of us who make this music consider ourselves more contemporary instrumentalists. In my case and a lot of my peers, we were influenced more by R&B music than jazz as we grew up. For marketing reasons, what was needed to kind of get a bit more focus, for lack of a better word, and that’s fine…. call it polka music if you want, I just know that I enjoy playing the music and making the music and as long as people seem to enjoy listening to it, then I’m happy.”
Purchase Richard Elliot’s Music HERE