Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Zellon, Richie, guitarist, composer, producer, educator; b. Lima, Peru, 28 December 1954. He was born to Brazilian and American parents, father James Zellon (b. 1914) and mother Sarita Zellon (b. 1930). His brother is Ronald Zellon (b. 1960). After a brief period of classical composition studies with Edgar Valcarcel, at the time conductor of the Lima Symphony Orchestra, Zellon decided to pursue some Jazz studies at Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music. After leaving Boston, Zellon spent several years teaching privately and doing clinics at different Music Institutions throughout the US and Latin America. In 1990 after moving to Orlando, Florida, Zellon spent several years as Director of the "Music Workshop". Before making Miami his home in 2000 he spent a year as Professor of Graduate Jazz Guitar studies at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He has performed in clubs and jazz festivals throughout the US., Latin America, Europe and Israel.
In 1995 he established Songosaurus Music, a label devoted to the promotion
of new Latin Jazz artists from all over the continent. In the years following his national recording debut with the Songosaurus label, he has spent most of his time as Producer for dozens of CD projects. These recordings have featured some of the newest talent in Latin Jazz in the company of such world-class artists as Paquito D' Rivera, Gato Barbieri,
John Pattitucci, Alex Acuna, Danilo Perez, Dave Liebman, Abraham Laboriel,
Justo Almario, Bob Moses, Dave Samuels, George Garzone, Manfredo Fest and
Jerry Bergonzi among others. In 2004 he became Professor of Jazz Guitar Studies at Florida International University (Miami).
Retrato en Blanco Y Negro; Cafe Con Leche; The Nazca Lines; Metal Caribe; An Evening of South American Jazz Live; The Afro Peruvian Jazz Sessions
Jose Luis Madueno: Chilcano; Eddie Marshall: Cookin' For You; The High Pockets: Picasso's Dog; Maria Farinha: Planeta Banana; Laura Valle: Luces da Cidade; Oscar Feldman: El Angel; Oscar Stagnaro: Mariela's Dream; Richard Drexler: Senor Juan Brahms; Lee Miles Stone: The Blues: Lee's Way, Songs from Planet Love
In 1998 the first book to document the history of Latin Jazz, "El Diccionario de Latin Jazz" by Nat Chediak , devoted a chapter to Zellon's music. In 2000 a chapter in the French book on Latin Jazz, "Caliente" by Luc Delannoy was also dedicated to Zellon's work. Delannoy entitled the chapter, "Richie Zellon: The Frank Zappa of Latin Jazz". There is also a historical outline of his career in the book "Mixtura: Jazz con Sabor Peruano" by Jorge Olazo as well as a special mention in "Cuban Fire: the story of Salsa & Latin Jazz" by Isabelle Leymarie.
He has written a regular column on Latin American music since 1999 for
"Jazz Improv" magazine, a national publication for musicians