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Rick Crittenden: Bio

Full Bio

The son of Claude Crittenden, a tenor saxophonist with the Woody Hite Orchestra, top NW jazz and big band musicians of the 1940’s were part of Rick Crittenden’s life from an early age. At the age of six, he picked up the trumpet and excelled quickly; reading and playing jazz standards with his father in only a few months. His precociousness was recognized by his teachers and he was often playing in school band with much older students.

At 12 yrs., Rick picked up the bass guitar and, with some friends, formed a rock band and began playing at school dances, supermarket openings, and grange halls throughout Oregon and SW Washington. The band became known as The Outer Edge, (ca.‘67-‘71); a popular NW band.

rickintheouteredge1970.jpgBy 1969, the band was working steadily, as house band at “D Street”, a famous Portland venue for rock music, and traveling throughout the NW during the summer months. The band was signed to talent management agency, Headwater Talent and Booking and The Outer Edge soon had a single on the regional charts. The band performed as opening act for many popular bands of the '60's; including The Animals, The Turtles, Deep Purple, Grass Roots, Shocking Blue, and The Seeds; while the band members were still in high school.



The Outer Edge - Left to right, Rick Crittenden, Dan Adams, Greg Hanson, David Adams



Throughout the 70’s, Portland had abundant venues for live music and Rick was working in many diverse musical situations; playing fusion music with Cal Scott and Dan Siegel, straight ahead jazz with Don Alberts and Dave Hagelganz, and world music with Puck Fair and Brian Dunning.

In 1979 at a fund raising gig for KBOO community radio, Rick met Oregon bassist, Glen Moore, which began a long and beneficial friendship. Through Glen, Rick was exposed to the values and disciplines of the previous generation of jazz musicians. He began a period focused on jazz of the early 60’s, particularly the Bill Evans trio with Scott Lafaro and Paul Motion. His active curiosity inspired a complete piano and bass transcription of the Lafaro tune, Gloria’s Step, from the Village Vanguard Sessions, which led to a new challenge.

The Don Alberts Quartet -David Hagelganz, Rick, Jeff Cumpston, Don Alberts

Glen Moore suggested that the Gloria’s Step transcription could be arranged for string quartet. At that point, Rick began another long and beneficial association; he called on Czech composer, Tomas Svoboda to learn about writing for string quartet. The piece was later performed by the Portland Jazz String Quartet, led by jazz violinist, Rob Thomas.

Throughout the 80’s, Rick worked on hundreds of recording projects with producers, Cal Scott, John Newton, and Billy Oskay; among many others. These projects ranged from radio and television advertisements to film scores and CD’s by other artists. He worked as a contract musician for record companies, Narada Records and Windham Hill.  In 1989 he produced a section of music by John Cage for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in New York. His arranging talent won him the position of Music Director for Portland Civic Theater’s production of Jesus Christ Superstar.

Recently, Rick has renewed his association with renowned Czech composer, Tomas Svoboda and began composing contemporary classical music. Two of his recent compositions had their world premier performances in Los Angeles as part of the West Coast Composers Forum. Two of his chamber pieces have been selected and included in recent concert seasons of The Epicenter Music Performance Organization based in Los Angeles. His “Five Variations for String Quartet” was selected by Cascadia Composers/NACUSA for inclusion in their 3rd Season Autumn Concerts. Currently, Rick’s jazz compositions are featured in the repertoire of Art Lande’s Russian Dragon Band.

Rick has performed with: Glen Moore, The Patrick Lamb Band, Christopher Parker, Skip Battin (of The Byrds), Dan Seigel, Tangier, Craig Caruthers, Gary Ogan Band, Brian Dunning and Puck Fair, the Cal Scott Group, Don Alberts Quartet, Carl Smith and the Natural Gas Co, Wesak, Michael Jarrett, and The Outer Edge.

Partial discography: Passages with Art Lande and Paul McCandless Narada Wilderness Collection (Narada) - nominated for Grammy Award Brian Dunning and Jeff Johnson, Albion 1, Albion 2, Celtic Legends (Windham Hill) Born Of Water - with David Friesen and Dave Hagelganz (Ark)

short bio

Rick Crittenden is a bass guitarist and composer. His professional career began early as a teenager playing with The Outer Edge a popular Portland rock band. The band opened for many popular bands of the '60's including The Animals, The Turtles, Grass Roots, Shocking Blue, and The Seeds. At twenty, he took time off to study at the jazz department of Mt. Hood Community College. Private study was with Glen Moore, Mel Graves and Tomas Svoboda.

Rick has written for the Portland Jazz String Quartet. He also produced a section of music by John Cage for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company in New York. Currently, Rick’s compositions are featured in the repertoire of Art Lande’s Russian Dragon Band. His compositions have been performed in Los Angeles as part of a West Coast Composers Forum and in Portland, OR as part of Cascadia Composers/NACUSA. Rick has worked extensively in the studio on hundreds of recordings, including projects for Windham Hill and Narada Records, as well as releasing his own chamber-jazz CD, Passages, with Paul McCandless, Art Lande, and Chris Lee and produced by inovative bassist, Glen Moore.