picture of Richie McCrae
Richie McCrae
Richie, a pianist and organist, was born on 11th July, 1936 in Newark, NJ. There was an old piano left in his house on South Orange Ave so he tried to play it. That was the start to an ongoing love affair with the piano and organ for Richard. Newark has spit out a bunch of extraodinary organ players, and Richie can be included with the best of them. He started as a young boy and played piano with various teachers and eventually started playing in the local clubs. One of his first major influences early on was the Nataniel Phipps Jazz Big Band and many other musicians in the Phipps Family. One of his first club date experiences was the 42nd Club in Orange, NJ. It was there that he met and played with all the jazz cats on the scene: Connie Lester, Willie Wright, John Byrd, Jimmy Anderson, Hank White, Jimmy Jones, Lonnie Youngblood, Leo Johnson and many more musicians. He then went on a five year gig with Organ Group Paul Ferano and Pearl Reeve. He played all over the East Coast. In 1958, Jimmy Smith blew everyone away with a new sound on the organ and all the club owners started putting Hammond Organs in the clubs. There was more work for organ players, and you kind of had to sink or swim. Richie met and played with many of the major organists at this time. To name a few: Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Richard Groove Holmes, Don Patterson, Charles Earland and Johnny Hammond Smith.
Richie got married and had children and helped support his family. He started a day job in the mail room for the Board of Education in Trenton, NJ. He sacrificed music for his day job as many great musicians do. He tried to play on weekends and summers in New Haven, CT for a while but eventually was worn out and had to concentrate on his day job and his family. Eventually around 1978, he stopped playing all together because of his other responsibilities. Thankfully for all of us he was brought out of retirement around 2002 by his friend and band member Don Williams. Richie was a true living legend. He passed away on 09th October 2017.
by courtesy of Jeanne Lozier (CDBaby)
facebook www.facebook.com/Richie-McCrae-B3-Hammond-111366188879917


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recorded 2007 in USA
Richie McCrae, organ
Eric Johnson, guitar
Don Williams, drums

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