The Jazz Session #391: Doug Richards

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

The Jazz Session #367: Chris Brubeck

Multi-instrumentalist and composer Chris Brubeck’s latest CD is Live At Zankel Music Center with his band Triple Play. In this interview, conducted at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Brubeck talks about his orchestral compositions; how he gets inside the lives of the people he writes music about; the history of the band Triple Play; and writing music with his father, Dave Brubeck. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter at @ChrisBrubeck.

The Jazz Session #349: Darcy James Argue

Composer Darcy James Argue’s latest work is a multimedia piece called Brooklyn Babylon. In this interview, he tells the amazing story of how he and visual artist Danijel Zezelj created the piece; goes behind the scenes of the composition and the technical aspects of producing such a large work; and also talks about a performance on March 9, 2012 at which his band Secret Society will play his works and the works of other composers. Learn more at, see much more of Brooklyn Babylon at and follow Darcy on Twitter at @darcyjamesargue.

NOTE: This interview is part of a new monthly collaboration with JazzDIY, the online journal for the 21st century jazz musician. Visit to see a video interview with Darcy James Argue in which he talks about the business of music.

The Jazz Session #319: Gerald Wilson (Part 2)

Composer and bandleader Gerald Wilson’s new CD is Legacy (Mack Avenue Records, 2011). This is part two of a two-part conversation. (Listen to Part 1.) In this part, Wilson talks about his time in the Navy during World War II; his subsequent work as an arranger for record labels and Hollywood studios; the development of his own band; and his new CD.