February 10th, 2021.

Local jazz musician and producer Neal Richardson presents a weekly, online, livestream gig called, the Splash Point Jazz Show. Haven News asked Neal to tell us how it came about....

Up to March 2020 I had been running six regular jazz clubs around Sussex, with occasional excursions up to Ronnie Scott's in London and abroad in France, Germany, Holland and more. But, the pandemic put paid to all of that.

The day before the first Lockdown announcement I was on local TV in blissful ignorance, being interviewed about the Splash Point Jazz Clubs and my life as a musician. Then the Lockdown hit! In the space of two hours, I lost over 200 gigs, as all the venues closed, so I had to think about what I would do...

I got very down for a few days, but then thought, "I'm lucky. I have access to a studio. I'll start doing livestreamed gigs from there”.

I was dithering about when to start when BBC South TV asked me to talk about how I and other local businesses were coping. So I thought "Now's the time!"

The first livestreamed gig was on March the 24th 2020, and other than a summer break it's been weekly show ever since, and now on a Thursday.

It's gone from being just me and an iPhone in mono, to a five-piece band, six cameras and studio-quality sound. I have produced over 20 albums, so I got it right eventually! Having said that, the tech side of it has been a nightmare - It's very resource-hungry and involves three computers, so it still gives me the occasional heart failure!

I've been a pro musician for over 25 years, so I know a lot of the best jazz musicians in the UK and beyond, and many have guested on the show already, with more to come.

The current Lockdown is stricter, so I've returned to it being just me and three cameras, with my wife and trumpeter/singer Sue Richardson joining for a few numbers each show, and the audience numbers have continued to climb.

My heroes are people like Oscar Peterson, Nat King Cole, Ella, Frank, Chet etc., so the music is very accessible to everyone.

I try to make it fun. There is a lot of banter between me and the online audience, which is only possible because of the Chat facility on YouTube and Facebook, and the interaction is key I think.

We're building a nice feeling of a little community, with people "chatting" between themselves too, as well as me doing the odd CD giveaway, requests, beat the intro etc. People even say it's the highlight of their week - Thanks, Lockdown!

People have been very kind in supporting the show through voluntary donations too, which seems to be the way paying for entertainment is now heading.

I'd really like more local people to join in as well as the far-flung ones in other countries, so I'm delighted to now be included in the excellent Haven News What's On listiing.

The Splash Point Jazz Show is streamed live at 7.00pm every Thursday. Links to the show are at www.splashpointjazz.club and voluntary tips can be made at paypal.me/nealpiano

Neal Richardson Profile
Neal is a powerful and rhythmic piano/vocalist, playing jazz, blues and originals, as well as an award-winning producer.

Neal cut his teeth performing in jazz clubs, hotels, and cruise ships in over 50 countries from Rio to Raffles, Norway to New Orleans, Vietnam to Venezuela. His Quartet has entertained Royalty, Hollywood celebrities and VIPs at world-renowned venues, including playing for George Clooney on his yacht at the Cannes Film Festival.

Neal's arrangements and original compositions display his wide-ranging tastes and influences, and he and his band have a great swinging style influenced by Oscar Peterson, Nat King Cole and Gene Harris. He has played in the London Jazz Festival eight years running, including launching his debut album “Better Than The Blues” at the London Jazz Festival 2014, and his nine-piece band sold out Ronnie Scott’s in 2016.

His "Not King Cole" show sold out performances in the London Jazz Festival 2019, garnering excellent reviews in the jazz press - "Jazz of the purest" UK Jazz Journal.

As a Producer he has made 30 albums for various jazz artists, including two at London's Abbey Road Studios, and ran his own award-winning Label, Splash Point Records, for 10 years.

He now runs the hugely popular Splash Point Jazz Club nights @splashpointjazz - which have expanded to six regular venues - and heads-up Splash Point Music Ltd.

A recent huge honour was to collect a Gold Badge Award at the BASCA ceremony at The Savoy on behalf of Dame Cleo Laine.

Neal is also the Festival Director for the Eastbourne Splash Point Jazz Festival.
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