Richard Dean Pratt was born to a musical family at Olathe, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City. His natural talent
was enhanced by the musical environment in which he grew through his formative years. As a youth he studied music
and attended various music camps.
He grew into a rather large, muscular man, earning a four year scholarship to play varsity football at the University
of Kansas. He was a starting tackle, a U of K letterman 1963-1965 on the Jayhawk Team. He blocked for Gayle Sayers
who became an NFL Hall of Fame running back.
However, Richie never stopped studying and performing music. While attending U of K he performed as a percussionist
with the Orchestra, the Wind Ensemble and the Jazz Ensemble. He was a unique individual; a scholarship athlete
minoring in music.
His college career ended when he was drafted by the NFL New York Giants bringing him to the "Apple" with
its world renown music scene. In 1970 a knee injury ended his football career prior to his second season with the
Richie was then employed as a host at the world famous Jazz Club, the Village Gate, planting him firmly in the
New York Jazz scene. Intermission pianist, Jaki Byard, invited Richie to sit in with him on drums. Word quickly
spread about the big guy from Kansas City who played great Jazz drums.
Legendary bassist, Major Holley, invited Richie to jam with him Sundays at Jaques where he was heard by pianist,
Junior Mance, who hired him for his first paid gig as a professional New York Jazz Drummer.
Richie expanded his sphere of musical activities performing with the American Symphony, the Joffrey Ballet, Alvin
Ailey and the Broadway productions of "Ain't Supposed to Die", "Dude", "Raisin" and
"Sophisticated Ladies" the tribute to Duke Ellington. The New York press described Richie Pratt as, "A
bubbling cauldron of musical vitality".
He spent three + years applying the lightness and sensitivity of his drumming as a member of the New York Jazz
Quartet with Sir Rolland Hanna, piano, Frank Wess, tenor and flute and George Mraz, bass.
Richie has drummed his way into the hearts of Nancy Wilson, Aretha Franklin, Marlena Shaw, Barry White, Melba Moore,
the Temptations, Della Reese, Johnny Hartman, Carol Sloane and Johnny Desmond.
His experience account includes deposits with Billy Taylor, Milt Jackson, Milton Hinton, Frank Foster, Monte Alexander,
Michel LeGrand, Lionel Hampton, Benny Goodman and Benny Carter.
Several of his Jazz compositions are featured on his CD, "The New York Jazz Sessions", soon to be retitled,
"Olathe" in homage to his birthplace. He is working to complete his "Drumasaurus Suite" and
programming his new compositions for the upcoming CD.
Richie Pratt continues to live
by his longtime motto, "Have sticks, will travel", and his musical story continues to develop. We anticipate his continuing contributions to the musical arts.
This man is indeed a unique artist.