Richard Underhill

Saxophonist/Composer/Arranger/Film Composer

Contact: richardunderhill3@gmail.com @RichUnderhill

Find all of Richard's music at Bandcamp or on Spotify.

Juno award winning international touring artist Richard Underhill is one of Canada’s most distinctive jazz performers. His wonderfully melodic alto sax playing, accomplished composing and arranging skills and in-from-the-outside soloing have garnered him significant national acclaim. Richard won a 2003 Juno Award for his jazz debut Tales from the Blue Lounge, was nominated for the Prix du Jazz at the 2003 Montreal Jazz Festival and won the prestigious Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition presented by the Toronto Arts Council Foundation in 2008. He has toured the world extensively with Canada's magnificently outrageous Shuffle Demons, playing festivals from Bangkok to Buenos Aires, Montreal to Mumbai, Tokyo to Torino and 100s of places in between.  His latest album Live at Lula features Lincoln Center Jazz and Wynton Marsalis alum trombonist Ron Westray and Snarky Puppy drummer Larnell Lewis. His 3rd album Kensington Suite garnered significant critical acclaim and was nominated for a 2008 Juno Award and his 2nd album Moment in Time was also nominated for a Juno Award in 2007. A truly original jazz composer and arranger, Richard’s exciting original music captivates audiences with singable melodies, outstanding musicianship and engaging performances. 

Richard was honoured to perform at Roy Thomson Hall for the state funeral of his old friend, the honourable Jack Layton in 2011 and was inspired by Jack’s commitment to public service to run for mayor of Toronto in 2014.

Richard has performed and recorded with Dr. John, Jane Bunnett, Rob McConnell, Barenaked Ladies, the Neville Brothers, Blue Rodeo, Kathleen Edwards, Taj Mahal, Maria Muldar, Molly Johnson, Colin James, Han Bennink, Kevin Breit, Julius Hemphil, Andy Stochansky, Colin Linden, Hawksley Workman, Stephen Frearing, The Sadies, Tom Cochrane, Wide Mouth Mason, Luke Doucet, Holly Cole, Julie Michaels, Paul Cram, Terry Clarke, Alex Lifeson, Mendelson Joe, Amos Garrett, Bobby Wiseman, Soul Rebels, the Mighty PoPo, the Hemispheres Orchestra, Daniel Janke, Tom Walsh, Don Thompson, Jake Langley, Hilario Duran, Mellissa McClelland, NOMA Dave Young, Reg Schwager, Jake Langley, Steve Koven, Ron Davis, Wayne Cass, Tyler Yarema, Tory Cassis, and George Koller. In demand as a session player and sideman, he has written horn and string arrangements for Kathleen Edwards, Molly Johnson, Andy Stochansky, Hawksley Workman, Blue Rodeo, Bobby Wiseman, Big Rude Jake and Lorraine Segato. 

He leads several diverse groups including the Richard Underhill trio, quartet and quintet, the Shuffle Demons, the Rider Raiders brass band, the Kensington Horns Community Band and the improvising electronic groove ensemble Astrogroove

The founding member of Toronto's outrageous Sun Ra influenced Shuffle Demons, Underhill took this ground breaking Bop Rap ensemble from the streets of Toronto across Canada and to Europe. This audacious group played jazz, folk, world and rock festivals from Halifax to Vancouver and from Italy to Estonia from 1986 – 1997, touring across Canada 15 times and through Europe 15 times. The Shuffle Demons featured a fusion of hard bop and rap combined with exotic costumes and a no-holds-barred performance style. Over the course of 15 European tours they were a hit at several Jazz festivals including the North Sea Jazz, Molde Jazz, London’s Outside In Jazz festival, the Edinburgh Jazz festival, the Sfinks festival, and Jazz a Vienne. They recently celebrated their 25th Anniversary with a cross Canada tour and by breaking the Guinness Book World Record for most sax players performing a song. (900). The Shuffle Demons continue to tour and between 2006 and present have performed at festivals in Japan, Europe, China, S. Korea, Thailand, India, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Mexico, Guatemala, and the U.S. with great success. They released their 9th album “Crazy Time’ in 2020 and their 10th album ‘All In’ in 2021.


Toronto Arts Council Foundation - 2008 - Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition


2008 - Nominee - Kensington Suite - Instrumental Recording of the Year
2007 - Nominee - Moment in Time - Contemporary Jazz Recording of the Year 2003 - Award Winner - Richard Underhill - Tales from the Blue Lounge Contemporary Jazz Recording of the Year
1988 - Nominee - Paul Cram - Beyond Benghazi - Best Jazz Recording
1987 - Nominee - Shuffle Demons - Streetniks - Best Jazz Recording 


2008 – 2nd place, Jazz Composition of the Year

PRIX DU JAZZ - Festival International de Jazz de Montréal
2008 – Finalist – Daniel Barnes Quintet
2003 – Finalist – Richard Underhill Sextet
1989 – Finalist - Walsh/Underhill Duo 

Join my mailing list for the latest news!

Latest Track

Surfing is the first track from my latest album 'Live at Lula'.'

Live at Lula

Richard Underhill

In cart Not available Out of stock

Recorded live at Lula Lounge in Toronto on October 19th, 2009, ‘Live at Lula’ features outstanding performances from alto saxophonist Richard Underhill, trombonist Ronald Westray, guitarist Eric St-Laurent, pianist Dave Restivo, bassist Artie Roth and drummer Larnell Lewis. Ron Westray is a Lincoln Center Jazz and Wynton Marsalis Alum who is in

Recorded live at Lula Lounge in Toronto on October 19th, 2009, ‘Live at Lula’ features outstanding performances from alto saxophonist Richard Underhill, trombonist Ronald Westray, guitarist Eric St-Laurent, pianist Dave Restivo, bassist Artie Roth and drummer Larnell Lewis. Ron Westray is a Lincoln Center Jazz and Wynton Marsalis Alum who is in Toronto as the Oscar Peterson Jazz Chair at York University. His trombone playing on the album CD will knock you out! Larnell Lewis has recorded and performed with Snarky Puppy among others and is heavily featured on the album with ample space for virtuosic solos.

The album features adventurous modern jazz with hard bop, boogaloo, and modern rhythmic influences. The tunes are memorable, the performances compelling and the album has a vibrant live sound. Video of the performance shot on HD by a 5-camera crew (Stephan Chung DOP) will be released on YouTube and captures the excitement of this top-notch band performing live in concert. credits released March 30, 2022

Richard Underhill - alto sax • Ronald Westray - trombone • David Restivo - piano Eric St-Laurent - Guitar • Artie Roth - bass • Larnell Lewis - drums • Michel DeQuevedo - djembe

Recorded by Livewire Remote Recorders at Lula lounge in Toronto October 19, 2009 Recording Engineer: Doug McClement, Assistant Engineer: Jonathan Adediji Mixed, edited and mastered by Jono Grant at Victory Drive Music Photography: Stephen Chung • Produced by Jono Grant and Richard Underhill

Read more…
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9

Latest News

Comings and goings!