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Richard Gene Williams (May 4, 1931 – November 5, 1985) was an American jazz trumpeter.

Richard Williams
Richard Gene Williams, Trumpet Player (1931-1985).jpg
Williams in 1961
Background information
Birth nameRichard Gene Williams
Born(1931-05-04)May 4, 1931
Galveston, Texas, U.S.
DiedNovember 5, 1985(1985-11-05) (aged 54)
Jamaica, Queens, New York, U.S.
LabelsCandid Records


Williams was born in Galveston, Texas, and played tenor saxophone early in his life before picking up trumpet as a teenager. He played in local Texas bands and attended Wiley College, where he majored in music. After serving in the Air Force from 1952–56, he toured Europe with Lionel Hampton, and upon his return took a master's degree at the Manhattan School of Music.

Williams played with Charles Mingus at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1959, and recorded with Mingus starting in that year. He recorded his only session as a leader, New Horn in Town (1960) for Candid Records, and featuring Reggie Workman, Leo Wright, Richard Wyands, and Bobby Thomas. Williams was a sideman on many releases for Blue Note, Impulse!, New Jazz, Riverside, and Atlantic in the 1960s. Among the musicians he worked with, apart from Mingus, are Oliver Nelson, Grant Green, Lou Donaldson, Yusef Lateef, Gigi Gryce, and Duke Jordan and the big bands of Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, Sam Rivers and Clark Terry.

He also found work on Broadway in pit orchestras, in particular the premiere productions of The Me Nobody Knows and The Wiz. He appears on the original Broadway cast recordings of both musicals. Williams also led bands under his own leadership, playing in New York jazz clubs such as Sweet Basil's, the Village Vanguard, and Gerald's. In addition to jazz trumpet, Williams also performed with classical orchestras, playing piccolo trumpet and fluglehorn.

Williams died on November 5, 1985 from kidney cancer in his Jamaica, New York home, at the age of 54.[1]


As sidemanEdit

With Ahmed Abdul-Malik

With Mose Allison

With Jaki Byard

With Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis

With Booker Ervin

With Bill Evans and George Russell

With Red Garland

  • Soul Burnin' (Prestige 1960)
  • Rediscovered Masters (Prestige 1970)

With Gigi Gryce

With Slide Hampton

With John Handy

With Noah Howard

  • Red Star (Boxholder, 2001)

With Sam Jones

With Duke Jordan

With Rahsaan Roland Kirk

With Yusef Lateef

With Les McCann

With Jack McDuff

With Charles McPherson

With Carmen McRae

With Charles Mingus

With Mingus Dynasty

With Oliver Nelson

With John Patton

With Hilton Ruiz

With Jimmy Smith

With The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra

With Charles Tolliver

With Randy Weston

With Leo Wright


  1. ^ Yanow, Scott (2001). Trumpet Kings: The Players Who Shaped the Sound of Jazz Trumpet. Backbeat Books. p. 384. ISBN 978-0879306403.

External linksEdit