Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Stepton, Rick (Richard Arnold)
Stepton, Rick (Richard Arnold), trombonist; b. Fitchburg, MA, 28 February 1942. His father was Lawrence Edson Stepton Sr (born Fitchburg, MA, Dec 18 1923, died July 18 1993). He played trombone. His mother is Beatrice Estelle Teto (born Waltham, MA, Feb 21 1924). His sister is Marcia Lee Membrino (born Fitchburg, MA, Jan 14 1944).
A third-generation trombonist (after his father and grandfather), he played in local town bands as a youth and the 118th army band in France in the early '60s. He worked in the "Territory Bands" of Bruce Stevens, Dean Hudson, and Buddy Bair (1962-1966). He performed in the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra (1966). He studied at Berklee College of Music (1966-68). He joined Buddy Rich and played lead with him on and off from 1968-86. He also toured with Woody Herman and Maynard Ferguson, performing in virtually every U.S. state and in countries all over Europe, Asia, and South America, on the "Ed Sullivan Show" and Johnny Carson's "Tonight Show" as well as on British and Canadian TV, at the Newport, Monterey, Concord, and Boston Globe jazz festivals, for the Queen of England and for Jimmy Carter's Inaugural Ball. He has also worked with Chuck Mangione (1972), the Canadian jazz-rock band Lighthouse, and the Phil Nimmons Orchestra (197 2-75). He was rated 11th in the trombone category of the 1970 Down Beat Readers' Poll. He played at the Guinness Jazz Festival with Ted Curson and Leroy Vinnegar. He returned to Massachusetts in 1977 and taught at the Berklee College of Music for four years, subsequently putting in nine years of service on the jazz faculty at New England Conservatory. He has played about 30 Broadway shows in the Boston theatres and backed up Natalie Cole, Tony Bennett, and Ella Fitzgerald.
In 1992, he was attacked by a dog, leaving him with severe injuries to his face and an almost completely severed lip; he needed reconstructive surgery and months of practice to re-learn how to play the trombone. Now he is a member of the Orange Then Blue Jazz Orchestra and the Herb Pomeroy Orchestra. He is the leader of the Rick Stepton Quartet. He has performed in virtually every U.S. state and in Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America, and the Far East. Rick has recorded with Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Greg Hopkins, Orange Then Blue, Herb Pomeroy, and Gunther Schuller. Rick was awarded the 1998 Lifetime Achievement Award in Jazz by the Massachusetts Chapter of the International Association of Jazz Educators.
Most recently, Rick relocated to the New York City area, where he has performed, videotaped, and recorded with a big band featuring Phil Collins, has performed and toured with Chico O'Farrill's Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, as well as the Charles Mingus Jazz Orchestra, Mingus Big Band, and Tom Harrell; and is currently featured with Richie Cole's "Alto Madness Orchestra." Rick's wife is Jane Stepton. They have two kids: Paul Bamba (born November 1976) a recent graduate of Tufts University and Koji Bamba (born c. 1979), curently a student at New York University.
Inspiration (1996); Blue Collar (1996, 1997); Stiff Upper Lip (1999)