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Rich Rosenthal

has weathered a life of hard work, hard study and hard knocks, on the way developing a jazz-derived avant grade style in his music that is original, spontaneous, the ultimate intense expression of straight-forward emotion. Rich's goal, above all, is to communicate on a profound level. In that quest, he draws from not only the obvious inspirations - rest free jazz artists like Omette Coleman and Cecil Taylor - but also from straight-ahead jazz guitarists alike. His parents moved to Wappingers Falls, NY, where Rosenthal attended Roy C. Ketcham High School. He joined the school’s jazz ensemble and took guitar lessons from Poughkeepsie guitarist Dave Woods. He also studied with jazz guitarist Eddie Diehl. 

Rich resumed lessons with his mentor. He studied mostly classical guitar with Moreno for two years, before deciding once and for all to concentrate on his own jazz-based music. To that end he studied with the composer Edgar Grana, and began attending college classes, first at Mercy College, where he studied with, among others, Ornette Coleman’s guitarist, Kenny Wessel. At the same time, he worked as a pipe-fitter for the MTA and played standard jazz gigs around Westchester County. 

The 2000s saw Rosenthal’s music career gain momentum. In 2005 he recorded the critically-acclaimed album Red Morocco with Giardullo for RogueArt Records. A year later, he graduated from the New School with a B.F.A. in Jazz and Contemporary Music. In the last several years he’s gigged extensively - around his home base in the Hudson Valley with a band that included Giarullo, bassist Steve Rust, and drummer Harvey Sorgen, and in NYC with a trio featuring Giardullo and drummer Todd Capp. Rich has played NYC’s Knitting Factory and CB’s Gallery, as well as pianist David Arner’s “New Vanguard” series in Kingston N.Y. He has performed as a member of composer Sarah Weaver’s Soundpainting Orchestra at Roulette in NYC. Other collaborators have included bassists Mark Dresser, Michael Bisio, Lisle Ellis, and Dominic Duval; composer Pauline Oliveros; saxophonists Joe McPhee, Jim Finn, Elliott Levin, and Chris Kelsey; drummers Jackson Krall and Donald Robinson; and fellow guitarist Dom Minasi. 

Rosenthal began playing with saxophonist/composer Joe Giardullo, who became a major influence on his work. They played free and developed arrangements of compositions by Thelonious Monk, Paul Motian, and Anthony Braxton, to name a few. Giardullo also introduced him to George Russell’s Lydian Chromatic Concept, as well as the compositional techniques of Wadada Leo Smith, and Giardullo’s own Gravity Music concept. Summing up his philosophy, Rosenthal says, “What I strive for in my music is to let all my life experiences come out through the music. My personal struggles and triumphs. Music to me is not about doing fancy or tricky things on an instrument, but to make music that moves people.”