“Once jazz is in your blood, you never escape,” says pianist, singer, and impresario Neal Richardson. With his second album, The Maximalist, released on Splash Point Records on 16th June 2023, Richardson brings an eclectic mix of re-worked standards and his own thought-provoking compositions.
Reworked Standards and New Compositions
Among the covers on The Maximalist is a version of “You Are My Sunshine,” a 1940s classic that is guaranteed to lift your spirits. Another standout track is Richardson’s rendition of Ray Charles’ “Come Rain or Come Shine.” The album explores a range of emotions about life’s testing journey, delving into themes such as false riches, belief, folly, greed, love, connection, and hope.
A Talented Band and Diverse Influences
Richardson’s band features a talented lineup, including Jo Fooks on saxophone, his wife Sue Richardson on trumpet, Mark Bassey on trombone, Luke Rattenbury on guitar, Alex Eberhard on drums, and Miles Danso on double bass. Each musician brings their unique flavor to The Maximalist, with influences ranging from Duke Ellington to Afrobeat and salsa.
Personal Stories and Audience Connection
Richardson’s album includes several personal tracks, such as a cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “Help Me Make it Through the Night,” a song he says is about needing support during difficult times. Other tracks, such as “Opium” and “The Cage (When Will It End?),” showcase Richardson’s introspective and questioning nature. He hopes that his album will bring pleasure to listeners and encourage them to think about life’s complexities.
The Impact of Brexit and the Pandemic on the Music Industry
Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic have both had significant impacts on the music industry and touring artists like Richardson. As he rebuilds his career, he remains focused on the power of music as a healer and on connecting with audiences around the world.
Upcoming Performances and Social Media
To catch Neal Richardson live and learn more about his work, visit his website at nealrichardson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @splashpointjazz. The Maximalist is now available to order via Proper Music.