Born on Vashon Island, and raised in Seattle, Richard Person came from an old-world family that believed every child must learn an instrument. He picked up his dad's trumpet at age five and was fronting dance bands by age thirteen. In his high school years he also studied saxophone and piano, and worked in bands playing all styles. Drafted after three years of college, he played in the army concert band and big band performing swing and jazz. After his time in the military he went on the road with several different types of groups, and played almost all fifty states. Finally landing in southern California, Richard hooked up with several influential players while fine-tuning his musical style. There he worked in the recording industry and in clubs. His credits include Hollywood studio stints with Billy May, Les Baxter and the Della Reese Big Band.

Since returning to his roots on Vashon Island, Richard Person has been performing regularly in the greater Seattle area, appearing with many notable Northwest musicians. On the island he is artistic director of the Portage Fill-Harmonic, Vashon's own big band. It was in 1988 that Person began collaborating with pianist Tom Wilkins. This twosome forms the nucleus of the group that later becomes the Island Jazz Quintet.


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