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Rick Bogart  •  back to the catalog

Rick Bogart
is on a relentless quest to bring the clarinet back to jazz, as a lead instrument. While he is certainly appreciative of other styles and techniques, Rick’s personal musical path is along the same vein as the great players of the past who always kept sound and melody at the forefront of their performances.

Rick worked in New Orleans during the heyday of the French Quarter, during the mid 1970s. In the first five blocks of Bourbon Street there were fifteen full-time jazz bands. Rick, 23 years old at the time, was thrilled to be playing music with so many great musicians and working six nights a week.

Rick began his first formal lessons at age 12 with a retired big band musician, Mr. Reader. Gumming the tenor sax that had been his mainstay throughout the big band days, Mr. Reader gave Rick a lesson in the blues ''before anything else.” This grounding in the traditions of the music would lead Rick on his lifelong musical path. Rick eventually went on to more formal studies in music at Philadelphia's prestigious Curtis Institute of Music and at North Texas State University, eventually making his move to New Orleans.

In New Orleans Rick continued to gain valuable experience playing in the bands of Snookum Russell and Wallace Davenport at the Paddock Lounge, and with June Gardner, Nick Gagliardi, Milton Ziedrich, and Thomas Jefferson at the Famous Door. With Thomas Jefferson, Rick had the privilege of playing during the day-time slot at the Famous Door from noon to five, six days a week, for 14 months. Jefferson’s music greatly influenced Rick, especially his singing, and Rick developed an appreciation for musicians who could sing and play an instrument. It was purely inspirational for him.

Rick eventually moved to New York City to refine and broaden his playing. He furthered his formal training in clarinet and voice and started leading a quartet, leading to performance opportunities in New York, Cleveland, and Miami. He also maintained a lengthy engagement in Atlantic City and toured to Europe, South America and the Pacific. Rick’s concerts include those given at the United Nations, University of Donetsk, Ukraine and the Kiev Opera House. Rick has also written songs for major movies and is the subject of a documentary film, When the Clarinet Swings.


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