Saxophonist Kim Richmond and the K Project Band

Kim Richmond’s well earned notoriety stems from educating, arranging, and performing which puts him on par with some of the best. Some of his musical contributions include credits with Stan Kenton, Frank Sinatra Jr., Smokey Robinson, and many others.


Part of Richmond’s success has been in writing film music. As an orchestrator, he worked in the music department for hit ‘80s TV show “Knight Rider.” For those who don’t remember, the show featured a talking car driven by TV icon David Hasselhoff. Contrary to this level of commercial success in film music, not all of Richmond’s acclaimed achievements are rooted in wide-scale commercial success; some are high culture. His band, the Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra, has rich textural elements one could normally expect to hear when listening to a composition somewhere between Duke Ellington and Wagner. “I never was in on the commercial end of, or the film end of, doing that with my orchestra,” says Richmond.

On the subject of the future of acoustic and orchestral music in the film business, Richmond explained, “The whole recording industry has been affected greatly by electronics replacing acoustic music, and so I think everybody is feeling it from top to bottom and we just regret the fact that acoustic music is not in the forefront of film and TV music and soundtrack music, so it’s kind of a drag. But the last year it feels like it is coming back a little bit."

Richmond’s career as a professional musician started to blossom with a performance on Eric Dolphy’s classic “Illinois Concert” (released on Blue Note). The opportunity to play reed instruments surfaced during Richmond’s final year at the University of Illinois. The performance not only elevated his career at an early age, but it also provided him with a critical learning experience. “I was trying to figure out some things on my own, and I never took classes in jazz or anything. There were not any classes,” says Richmond, then going on to describe the session with Dolphy's band that enhanced his musical education.

“They were setting up with Eric’s group. I went over to the piano and was trying to find out these voicings, and the pianist came up to me from Eric's group and tapped me on the shoulder, I think he wanted to warm up, and said ‘you want me to show you some voicings.’” Richmond says that in the moment, he knew exactly what he was going after—"So he sat down at the piano and showed me a lot of stuff and that was Herbie Hancock. He was not well-known then. It was 1963. He really helped me in about 60 seconds, showing me some things that I have been looking for. He really took me to another plateau,” says Richmond with a grin.

Richmond fuses the music of Hancock with his colleague, Kimberly Ford’s, expertise in the music of Joni Mitchell, and they develop some exciting combinations. Their group is called the K-Project Band, and they performed at Santa Monica College’s Performing Arts Center (PAC) on March 8, but will have future performances around the Santa Monica area for those who wish to check them out.