Another prestigious award for renowned Fife jazz musician

Kirkcaldy'Jazz teacher Richard Michael,  who has won another jazz award'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON
Kirkcaldy'Jazz teacher Richard Michael, who has won another jazz award'Photo ; WALTER NEILSON

Kirkcaldy jazz musician Richard Michael has hit the high notes once again to scoop another prestigious award.

Richard (64) was presented with the accolade for services to jazz education at the 2013 Scottish Jazz Awards held in Edinburgh last week.

Kirkcaldy jazz teacher Richard Michael with his award

Kirkcaldy jazz teacher Richard Michael with his award

He told The Press: “I was thrilled to receive the education award,” he said. “The icing on the cake, though, was the tribute paid to FYJO from ex-players Sam Firth and David Webster who both said that their success in winning the best CD award for their band Das Contras, was due to their early experiences playing in Fife Youth Jazz Orchestra.

“That, more than any award, shows the value of keeping a group together and constantly challenging yourself to keep on grooving and improving.”

Richard was a music teacher at Beath High School in Cowdenbeath for 31 years before he retired six years ago.

But this isn’t the first time the hard work and dedication of the jazz musician has been recognised. Last June Richard was given the British Empire Medal for his services to music education in Her Majesty the Queen’s birthday honours.

This was for having spent more than 30 years teaching students in Fife. He is now a visiting professor for St Andrews University and a broadcaster on Radio Scotland’s Jazz House.

But among many in Fife, Richard may possibly be best known for his role as director of FYJO, a position which he has held for 37 years. Richard is also organist at the town’s Abbotshall Church.

Richard and parents of FYJO members are seeking sponsorship to enable his work to continue with the Fife Jazz course next July.

Anyone wanting to make a donation should email Richard at: r.e.michael@blueyonder.co.uk.

He can also be heard fortnightly on Radio Scotland’s ‘Jazzhouse’, and his next big gig is playing Gershwin’s ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ with the University of St Andrews brass section, in the Younger Hall on November 16.