Howard Riley

Photograph by Nick White

Born Huddersfield, Yorkshire, 1943; Piano, composer.

Began playing piano at the age of 6 and, while playing in jazz clubs, gained Master's degrees in music from the University of Wales, Indiana (US) and the University of York (UK). His first record, coincidentally Barry Guy's first record, began a long association with the bass player that also takes in the London Jazz Composers' Orchestra. The record is now virtually unobtainable, not surprisingly, considering that only 99 were pressed and around one third of those were distributed for publicity purposes. Since establishing himself on the free jazz/improvised music scene his work has broadened considerably to cover extensive solo piano, duos with Jaki Byard and Keith Tippett, a trio with Castronari and Marsh and two quartets, co-led respectively with Elton Dean and Art Themen. He has made 13 solo recordings and 'always the objective is to arrive at freedom through spontaneity'. In addition his composed works have been performed by the Nash Ensemble, the Welsh String Quartet and the New Jazz Orchestra.

As an educator he has run jazz piano and workshop classes since the late 1960s at Guildhall School of Music and Goldsmiths College; he was resident composer at the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts, Buffalo, New York during 1976/1977.

Further information

Heining, Duncan (2013), Howard Riley: live with repertoire. All About Jazz.
Parker, Chris (1989), The freedom attitude. The Wire, no. 67, (September), pp. 36-37.


1967, Discussions. Opportunity CP2500. Trio with Barry Guy and Jon Hiseman.
1968/1969, Angle, CBS Realm 52669/Sony-Columbia 494433. Trio with Barry Guy and Alan Jackson (+ Barbara Thompson).
1970, The Day will come, CBS 64077//Sony-Columbia 494434. Trio with Barry Guy and Alan Jackson.
1971, Flight, Turtle TUR301. Trio with Barry Guy and Tony Oxley. Re-released on FMR in 1995.
1971, Tony Oxley Incus 8.
1972, Ode, Incus 6-7/Intakt 041. London Jazz Composers' Orchestra.
1972/1973, Sequences 72 & 73, Emanem 4018. Paul Rutherford/Iskra 1912.
1973, Synopsis, Incus 13 LP/Emanem 4044 CD. Howard Riley Trio.
1974, , Singleness, Jazzprint JPVP110. Solo.
1974/75, Overground, Emanem 4054 CD. Howard Riley Trio.
1977, , The Toronto concert, Jazzprint JPVP112. Solo.
1977, Improvisations are forever now Vinyl VS 113. Guy/Riley/Wachsmann.
1977/79, Improvisations are forever now Emanem 4070. Re-issue of Vinyl LP with extra tracks from 1979: Guy/Riley/Wachsmann.
1979, Organic, Impetus 38002. Trio with Barry Guy and John Stevens (one third of 3LP set).
1979, Organic, Jazzprint JPVP115. Howard Riley/Barry Guy/John Stevens.
1979, Endgame, JAPO 60028. Howard Riley/Barry Guy/John Stevens/Trevor Watts.
1980, Trisect, Impetus 38002(one third of 3LP set)/Jazzprint JPVP 116CD. Music for 3 pianos [all Riley] .
1980, Study II/Stringer, Intakt CD095. London Jazz Composers Orchestra.
1981, , Duality, Jazzprint JPVP113. Solo.
1981, First encounter, Impetus 38002. Duo with Keith Tippett (one third of 3LP set).
1981, , First encounter, Jazzprint JPVP114. Duo with Keith Tippett; CD issue of Impetus disc.
1981, Trio & triangle, Emanem 4150. SME & SMO.
1981, SME+SMO in concert, Sweet Folk & Country SFA 112.
1981, Search & reflect, Emanem 5209. Spontaneous Music Orchestra.
1984, Live at the Royal Festival Hall, Leo Records LR133. Duo with Jaki Byard.
1984, , In focus, Jazzprint JPVP111. Duo with Keith Tippett; CD issue of Affinity disc.
1987/1988, Two's and three's, Voiceprint VP167CD. Elton Dean.
1987/1988, Zurich concerts, Intakt 005. London Jazz Composers Orchestra.
1988, Feathers, Spotlite SPJ 536. Trio with Castronari and Marsh.
1989, Harmos, Intakt CD013. London Jazz Composers Orchestra.
1989, Double trouble, Intakt CD019. London Jazz Composers Orchestra.
1990, Procession, Wondrous WM0101. Solo.
1990, The Holywell concert, SLAMCD302.
1990, All the tradition, SLAMCD 201.
1990, The Vortex tapes, SLAMCD 203. Elton Dean.
1991/1992, The heat of moments, Wondrous WM0103. Solo.
1992, Level two, SLAMCD303. George Haslam group.
1993, Beyond category, Wondrous WM0104. Solo.
1993, The Bern Concert, FMR CD08-071994. Duo with Keith Tippett.
1993, Interchange, Jazzprint JPVP109CD; re-issue of The Bern concert. Duo with Keith Tippett.
1993, Wishing on the moon, FMR CD14-V0595. Trio with Mario Castronari and Tony Marsh.
1993, Portraits, Intakt CD 035. London Jazz Composers Orchestra.
1995, Three pieces for orchestra, Intakt CD 045. London Jazz Composers Orchestra.
1995, Descending circles, Blueprint BP221CD. Howard Riley/Elton Dean Quartet.
1996, Inner minor, ASC CD 16. Solo.
1996, Classics (live), SLAMCD 222. Howard Riley/Art Theman Quartet.
1997, Making notes, SLAMCD 230. Solo.
1993/1999, One to one, SLAMCD234. Duo with Elton Dean.
1999, Slamfest, SLAMCD 405. Duo with Elton Dean on compilation 2-disc set.
2000, Air play, SLAMCD 244. Solo.
2001, Four in the afternoon, Emanem CD 4067. Tony Wren/Howard Riley/Larry Stabbins/Mark Sanders.
2002, Duology, SLAMCD 249. Riley/Coxhill.
2002, Another part of the story, Emanem 4088. Riley/Tilbury/Tippett.
2002, Sleeper, FMR CD196-i0506. Larry Stabbins/Howard Riley/Tony Wren/Mark Sanders.
2002, St Cyprians 3, FMR CD331-0212. Howard Riley/Philipp Wachsmann/Tony Wren.
2003, St Cyprians 2, FMR CD320-0811. Larry Stabbins/Howard Riley/Tony Wren/Mark Sanders.
2003, Pianoforte, SLAMCD 257. Tippett/Riley/Grew/Thomas.
2005, Two is one, Emanem 4127. Overdubbed duets.
2004/2006, Short stories (volume two), SLAMCD 270. Solo.
2008, Harmos, Intakt DVD 151. LJCO.
2009, Solo in Vilnius, NoBusiness Records NBCD 12-13.
2009, Solo in Vilnius, NoBusiness Records NBLP 12-13.
1998/2010, The complete short stories, NoBusiness Records NBCD 21-26 (6CD box set).
2011, Live with repertoire, NoBusiness Records NBCD 58.
2012, 10.11.12, NoBusiness Records NBLP 85.

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