April 21, 2020

Gospel Jazz Saxophonist & Music Entrepreneur Richard D’Abreu Readies Brand New Release, Jazz in the Spirit

Artist & Minister of Music Encourages His Hometown of Richmond, VA During COVID-19 Pandemic

The musical genres of Gospel and Jazz thrive beautifully within the African American experience. Shining light on both styles and flaunting his musical prowess within them, Saxophonist Richard D’Abreu, Jr. skillfully knows how to weave his talents with improvisation and passion, delivering moving performances in the process.

A musician’s musician, D’Abreu has worked with legends and one listen to any song in his discography and it’s apparent that he did indeed learn from the best. Born in Brooklyn, NY, the current resident of Richmond, VA has toured the world over during the past two decades as a recording artist, musical director and bandleader. During his time as a music student and his seven international tours, he’s shared the stage with musical greats such as Max Roach, James Taylor, Patti LaBelle, Natalie Cole and Bishop T.D. Jakes. A graduate of Brown University and Berklee College of Music, D’Abreu is embracing his season to shine. A musical entrepreneur as well, he is currently putting the finishing touches on his brand-new release, Jazz in the Spirit. Scheduled to drop in summer of 2020, its lead single, “Look and Live,” is currently available in digital music outlets.

A stunning representation of a gifted musician, the new project, Jazz in the Spirit, is a collage of inspiring and uplifting tunes. It’s a collection of tracks destined to move the soul from note one. The first song, “Look and Live,” is a festive, yet relaxing tune accented with captivating vocals. Delivering a variety of cultural masterpieces on Jazz in the Spirit, tracks like “I AM” and “La Pureza del Amor de Cristo” take the listener on a musical trip around the world. Jazz fans and Gospel fans alike will enjoy songs like “Wednesday Afternoon,” “Only Want to Serve You,” “Count Your Blessings” and “By and By.” Another favorite will surely be the mesmerizing “23rd Psalm,” and the celebratory “Superhuman,” original pieces by the artist. Each track speaks to the musical heart in its own unforgettable way.

Just like King David, Richard has witnessed the healing power of music. Moved by this current COVID-19 crisis, he was determined to use his gift to encourage those who are ill, and family members of those who are ill or have succumbed to the Coronavirus. His city of Richmond has been hard hit with fatalities, especially older residents at the Canterbury Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center. On Easter Sunday, he got his opportunity. Richard D’Abreu performed during a short ministry program in the parking lot of the Center. Although the residents couldn’t come outside, they were able to hear the music as Richard played the keyboard (with gloves and mask on), accompanying two other singing ministers. Although he was a little apprehensive at first, he says, “once we got going in the parking lot, the Holy Spirit took over. We all knew why we were there and took the call to minister seriously.”

He’s been following that call almost since he was born. Richard’s musical journey began in New York City at the tender age of 3 when his parents noticed him taking rubber bands, wrapping them around coat hangers, strumming and singing. They started him on guitar lessons at 4. His father, a jazz lover, played piano and taught his son some of the basics of the keyboard, but much of Richard’s training was self-taught. It wasn’t just the piano that he gained an affinity for; he started writing songs at the age of 6, using the piano to pen songs as well as arrange them. With the sounds of Cannonball Adderley and Sonny Rollins records’ wafting through his home, it was hard for jazz not to take hold of his heart. He mimicked the greats with his saxophone, an instrument he picked up at the age of 11. Later, he received formal training at two renowned schools: Brown University, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Music, specializing in Ethnomusicology, and Berklee College of Music, where he graduated with a Professional Diploma in Professional Music, specializing in Saxophone Performance and Songwriting. All of it set the stage for an impressive career as a Gospel Jazz artist.

With his vast experience and education, it was only natural that he venture into the business of music. His company, RD3 Music, focuses on publishing, performance and production. A prolific songwriter and composer, the publishing arm of his company seeks to exploit the hundreds of compositions and arrangements he’s penned. A producer as well, his production arm offers recording and production services for artists. He is already a gifted producer of his own works. A sought-after performer, Richard uses his talent as a member of two groups, Jazz In The Spirit and Soul Expressions, and as a solo artist. In addition, he teaches private saxophone, piano and songwriting lessons and, as a freelance musician, he plays numerous instruments and serves in a variety of musical capacities including arranger, musical director and accompanist. Every single aspect of his business highlights the many skills he brings to music.

Where he is in his career musically has been a natural progression. “My entrance into the genre of Gospel Jazz was literally an organic fusion that happened as a result of my life experiences,” Richard says of his foray into the unique genre. “The combination of listening to my father’s records and being a member of the youth choir at Concord Baptist Church in Brooklyn, as well as playing jazz on my sax and Gospel on the piano created this unique synergy between two styles of music I adored.” He calls his special blend “Jazz in the Spirit,” the same name as his debut project. A composer and arranger of over 350 songs, he has presented his original music through the Richmond Jazz Society and the Richmond Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA). Seven of his choir songs have been featured at the GMWA National Convention. He’s received rave reviews for his spirited rendition of “Because He Lives,” performed live at the 2013 Hampton Ministers’ Conference and “My Favorite Things,” with smooth jazz artist Stix Bones. Richard has also served as the Director of Music and Minister of Music at several churches including Second Baptist Church-Idlewood Avenue and currently, Fourth Baptist Church, also in Richmond.

Fans of the artist may have caught him during his recent appearance on the local CBS affiliate, WTVR-TV, on Virginia This Morning. They can also catch him on Instagram for his next Friday Night Inspiration on May 1st at 7:30PM ET. For more information about Richard D’Abreu, Jr., connect with him at www.jazzinthespirit.com and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.