Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Vitale, Richard, trumpet, flugelhorn, instructor; b. Rochester, NY, 23 September 1954. His mother was Lula Mae Rollins, (1918-1983), his father, Vincent Michael Vitale Sr. (1922-1999). He has five brothers and two sisters (Charles, b. 1946; Michael, b. 1948; Josephine, b. 1951; John, b. 1952; Daniel, b. 1957; Jo Ann, b. 1962). Charles was second in the nation as in the 1962 national Classical American Accordion Association Contest (he also played piano), and his brother Michael taught him his first scales on the trumpet. His brother John is a fine musician in his own right and currently plays tenor in NYC while his brother Danny is a bassist living and working in their hometown of Rochester.
Monroe High School afforded him many teachers from the Eastman School of Music to study with, later he entered the Barley School of Music which had a fine jazz ensemble and learned from the drummer Vinnie Ruggerio. The Inter high Jazz Band and Orchestra afforded Richard the opportunity to play with the best players in the New York State area.
Richard played with Miles Davis' drummer, Philly Joe Jones at the early age of sixteen. After locating to New York City, Richard has performed with such jazz luminaries as Barry Harris, Sal Nistico and Joe Morello (longtime drummer with the Dave Brubeck Quartet).
His experience with big bands has been no less impressive, performing as jazz soloist with Frank Sinatra, and in the jazz chairs of the Buddy Rich Big Band, the Count Basie Orchestra, the Duke Ellington orchestra as well as the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Big Band--now the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.
BMI offered an arranging class which Richard attended for two semesters lead by Manny Album and Bob Brookmeyer. He has arranged and composed several tunes for the Chris Byars Octet and his own quintet.
He has led his quintet on tours of Japan and Korea, performs in San Francisco and LA and frequently appears in clubs throughout the New York Metropolitan area.
Richard received a grant from The National Endowment for the Arts in to perform with Barry Harris at Symphony Space in New York City in 1991.
Dreamsville (featuring) (1988); Live at Smalls (1996); Shake It! (1999)
Frank Sinatra Jr.: As I Remember It (1996); Lee Greene: New York Calling (1996); Chris Byars Octet: Village Beauty (2001), Chris Byars Octet featuring Sasha Dobson (2001)