Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Cummings, Richard (Richard Ainsworth Cummings, Jr.)

Cummings, Richard [Richard Ainsworth Cummings, Jr.], pianist, composer, songwriter, producer; b. St. Albans, NY, 16 July 1951. He currently lives in Brooklyn, NY. Richard Ainsworth Cummings is the eldest of five musical sons: Richard Ainsworth, Bryan Wayne, Kevin Darnley, Terrance William and Gary Scott. He was born to Ruby (nee Campbell) and Richard Cummings Sr.

At the age of five years, he was given his first piano and music theory lessons by his grandmother. Maude Bascome Cummings Taylor, a renowned piano teacher and organist/choirmaster of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Brooklyn, N.Y. was his next teacher. After four years of lessons, he entered New York's Juilliard Preparatory School of Music where he studied piano for four years under the Russian pianist, Anna Shenderoff. In addition to the study of western European classics, he also became well versed in the many other ethnic musical forms into which he found himself immersed daily.

Before the end of his teenage years, his musical styles also reflected jazz of the 50's and 60's, Rhythm & Blues, Soul music and the "Motown" sound, Inspirational church choir music and rhythms of the Caribbean Islands, Cuba and South America. In 1971, after majoring in piano and composition at the University of Detroit / Marygrove College, he began his professional music career with various local groups, experimental bands and eclectic, "tribal" orchestras in New York City and along the U.S. east coast.

Since then, his talents have been visited upon such luminous artists as Noel Pointer (Pianist), Jon Lucien (Pianist), Harry Belafonte (Music Director, Conductor, Pianist, Producer), Letta Mbulu (Pianist), Dianne Reeves (Pianist, Music Director), Hugh Masekela (Pianist, Sekunjalo South Africa Repatriation Tour), Wayne Shorter (Lyricist), Zubin Mehta (Pianist, Oslo Peace Accord Concert), George C. Wolfe (Pianist, Conductor, Bring In 'Da Noise Bring In 'Da Funk), Sherry Winston (Pianist), Iyanla Vanzant (Pianist, Music Director), Three Mo' Tenors (Synthesizer) and a host of other wonderful performers home and abroad.

Recordings as sideperson (musician only unless otherwise noted):
Seguida: Love Is (1974), On Our Way to Tomorrow (1976); Jon Lucien: Song for My Lady (1976), Jon (1977); Norman Connors: This is Your Life (1977); Harry Belafonte: Loving You is Where I Belong (Music Director/Pianist/Back Vocals) (1981); Kleeer: I Love To Dance (1981); Beat Street: Motion Picture Sound Track (Keyboards/Arranger/Vocal Arranger) (1984); Dianne Reeves: For Every Heart (Music Director/Keyboards/Back Vocals) (1984); Carol Lynn Townes: Try Me Out (Synthesizer/Synth string arranger) (1987); Wayne Shorter: Joy Ryder (Co-Lyricist) (1988); Harry Belafonte: Paradise in Gazankulu (Music Director/Keyboards/Back Vocals) (1988); Dianne Reeves: I Remember (Arranger) (1988); Harry Belafonte: Europe '89 (Co-Producer/Pianist/Arranger) (1989); Gloria Dennard: Come Feel the Things You Cannot Touch (1989); Dianne Reeves: Palo Alto Sessions (1991); Hugh Masekela: Beatin' Aroun' De Bush (1992); Kleeer: Very Best Of Kleeer (Keyboard/Synthesizer Programming) (1998); Jon Lucien: Sweet Control: The Best Of Jon Lucien (1999); Venus Dodson: It's Time (Co-Producer/Music Director/Keyboardist/MIDI Programmer) (2001); Branice McKenzie: I Am Me (2002); Tina Andrews: Sally Hemings, An American Scandal: The Struggle To Tell The Controversial True Story (Audio Engineer/MIDI Programmer) (2002); Steve Kroon: Se-or Kroon (Arranger/Co-Writer) (2002); Ojoyo: Forward Motion (2002)

Contact information:
Richard A. Cummings
IMARA Music Enterprises
295 Decatur Street
Brooklyn, NY 11233-1704
718 774 8095 (hm)
917 282 9429 (cl)
718 604 9148 (fx)

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