Rick Olson is a musician and composer based in the Los Angeles area. Born into a musical family on April 6, 1963 in Massachusetts, he grew up in Washington D.C. By junior high school he was already listening to recordings by Armstrong, Brubeck, Corea, Davis, Ellington, Martino, Monk, and Parker, among others, as well as a wide range of rock, blues and reggae releases. In 1977 Olson’s family moved to Minneapolis, where he began to sit in at local clubs and to play gigs.
His instrumental and compositional skills developed steadily, and by 1982 he had won two Student Recording Awards from Downbeat magazine, and had won a scholarship to attend the Berklee School of Music in Boston. After a stint at Berklee, Olson returned to Minnesota and worked as a performer, arranger and composer (in 1986 he received a grant for Composition from the Minnesota State Arts Board). In 1988 he moved to Los Angeles where he still resides.
Olson’s formal musical training includes Jazz studies at Berklee, classical piano studies with pianist Alexander Braginsky at the University of Minnesota, Film Scoring studies with at UCLA.
Additional Jazz studies include lessons with Cedar Walton, Stanley Cowell, Marian McPartland, and Bobby Peterson.
As an instrumentalist, he has played with a wide range of jazz, blues, rhythm and blues, and rock musicians, including:
vocalists Little Jimmy Scott, Ernie Andrews, Dee Dee McNeil, Chaka Khan, Leslie Lewis, Sandra Booker, Freda Payne, Carl Anderson, Jeff Robinson, Michole Briana White, Thisbe Vos, Donna Butler Blut,
guitarists Phil Upchurch, Wah Wah Watson, Bruce Conte, Rick Zunigar, Jinshi Ozaki, Robbie Krieger, Larry Carlton, Jacques Lesure, Yarone Levy, Skunk Baxter, Angelo Metz, Billy Wolfe, Joe Gaeta, Mark Waggoner, Dean Magraw,
bassists: Buell Neidlinger, Bob Maize, Jeff Littleton, Dr Art Davis, Abe Laboriel, John Heard, Tony Dumas, Nathan East, Jim Hughart, Bill Markus, Michael Saucier, Ernest Tibbs, Kevin Oneal, Chris Conner, Jimmy Earl, Dave Carpenter, Eric Von Essen, Al McKibbon, Andy Simpkins. Bobby Haynes, James Anton.
drummers/percussionists: Alex Acuna, Larance Marable, Roy McCurdy, Quentin Dennard, Fritz Wise, Ralph Penland, Kenny Elliott,, Raymond Pounds, Scott Kay, Otis Hayes, Cecil Brooks, Thomas White, Billy Higgins,
trumpet players: Nolan Shaheed, Hugh Schick, Sal Marquez, Carl Saunders, Elliott Caine, Stacy Rowles, Jeff Kaye, Jerry Rusch, Jack Shelden, Mike Price, Conti Candoli, Walter White, Andrew Carney, John Williams, Josh Ginsberg,
saxophonists Dale Fielder, Pat Patrick., Curtis Peagler, Herman Riley, Doug Webb, Chuck Manning, Justo Almario, Benn Clatworthy, Red Holloway, John Bolivar, Marty Krystall, Mark Henderson, Fernando Harkless, David Patterson, Javier Vergara.
Also, Olson has arranged for Herbie Hancock’s 1989 Headhunters II Band, R&B artist “Maxwell”, Carly asunder n/Doug Webb QE2, David Dahlsten -Rainbow Dancing, Harvey Mason and the band Fourplay.
He has created many new jazz and jazz fusion compositions as well as arrangements and reharmonizations of standard tunes.
Olson currently performs around California as a piano player and is teaching in the South Bay area..
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https://www.startribune.com/obituaries/detail/0000386451/Claire Thomes Olson 10/8/1927-3/19/2021
We love you Mom.
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