Richard first played trombone at Bushey Grammar School near Watford in 1962. After five years classical training he ventured into the London jazz scene and experienced playing alongside Humphrey Lyttelton, Acker Bilk, Ken Colyer, Terry Lightfoot, Johnny Dankworth and many others.
He led his own Northside Jazz band for 26 years with top names such as George Webb, Harry Gold, Joe Daniels, John Bastable, Bruce Turner, Beryl Bryden, Roy Williams and Digby Fairweather all guesting with the band.
In 1998 Richard turned to jazz professionally for a third time and joined the Pete Allen Jazz Band touring Europe and the UK for the next six years.
After parting company with Pete Allen in September 2004 Richard channelled his efforts into a new band, Richard Leach’s 7 Stars of Jazz, formed the previous year and making a large impact on the UK jazz club and festival scene.
In 2012 Richard Leach’s Street Band came into being when he was asked to provide a strolling traditional jazz ensemble to play at various town centre locations during the annual Food & Music Festival in his home town of Droitwich, Worcestershire. The infectious two-beat nature of the band’s rhythm is helped along by the inclusion of a sousaphone in it’s lineup and the band is fast gaining fans on the jazz club circuit along with a festival debut at Upton-on-Severn made at Upton-on-Severn in 2018 and is already booked to play for a Saga river cruise down the Rhine and Moselle in August 2020.
An exciting project for Richard is Slide By Slide, the idea of fellow trombonist Kevin Grenfell. With the backing of a high-class rhythm section including some of Britain’s top musicians Slide By Slide is a trombone duo playing a diverse repertoire from show songs and ballads to jazz of varying styles and contemporary tunes.
Although the aforementioned bands occupy a lot of Richard’s playing time he still greatly enjoys freelancing with other bands, giving him the opportunity to play different styles of jazz.
Along the way in his playing career Richard has collected three awards for his musicianship including Trombonist of the Year in the Jazz Travel awards of 1993, Musician of the Year in the Stafford Jazz Society Awards of 2005 and Band of the Year with Kevin Grenfell & Richard Leach’s Slide By Slide in the Stafford Jazz Society Awards of 2012.