Doug Richards is a professor of music at Virginia Commonwealth University. He also founded the school’s jazz program in 1980, one year after he started teaching there. Richards’ former students include Steve Wilson, James Genus, Nate Smith, Clarence Penn, Mark Shim, Alvester Garnett, Scott Clark and Darius Jones. In this interview, Richards talks about discovering his love for composing and arranging; how he started the VCU jazz program at a time when very few such programs existed anywhere; his successful professional big band, the Great American Music Ensemble; and playing more than just the notes and rhythms. Learn more at www.vcu.edu/arts/music/dept/faculty/richards.html.