Red Young - A Fort Worth, Texas native (born May 8, 1948), Red Young has covered a great deal of musical ground from the beginning – learning piano taught from his grandmother at age 3, classical piano at age 5 including studying with a world renowned touring classical organist and the founder of the Van Cliburn competition in Ft Worth. He gave his first concert at age 10 and studied at TCU when he was 14. He was transcribing jazz, blues, pop and rock music in the 60s.
While serving in the Air Force during 1968-72, Young played in service bands, learned how to write for horns, and performed at many concerts. Based in Springfield, Massachusetts during his last period in the military, he traveled to New York once a month to see the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, always being amazed and inspired by Jones’ writing.
After his discharge, Red spent time living and working in Texas where he performed and recorded with such artists as Lloyd Price, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. In 1977 he moved to Los Angeles to play and arrange for Sonny & Cher, a long-term association. During the next seven years Red also worked in the studios with all-stars from several genres, played in Victor Feldman’s Generation Band, and during 1983-84 toured and recorded as an arranger-singer with Linda Ronstadt and the Nelson Riddle Orchestra. While he found all of this work challenging, he eventually grew a bit frustrated, wanting to create and play his own music. In 1985 he moved back to Ft. Worth where he formed Red and The Red Hots.
Red and the Red Hots, a ten-piece swing band with two female singers, featured Red Young as pianist, lead vocalist, arranger-composer and musical director. The spirited group caught on, performing more than a thousand shows all over the world and recorded four albums. Their success continued after Red’s return to Los Angeles in 1988. Red and The Red Hots preceded the Retro Swing movement of the 1990s. Red worked with and wrote horn parts for many of the movement’s pacesetters including the Royal Crown Revue, Brian Setzer and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. “I brought the influences of Dixieland, Neal Hefti and Duke Ellington into the music and could play like Count Basie.” Red also toured with Juice Newton, recorded with the legendary tenor-saxophonists Plas Johnson and Big Jay McNeely, led his organ trio Brother Red, and worked and recorded with Dan Hicks and such blues artists as Janiva Magness and Marcia Ball. His life was a whirlwind of activity with his playing, singing and writing abilities being in great demand.
In 2002, Red Young moved to Austin, then to Dallas, becoming part of a nightclub Django On The Parkway. While he loved the music end of it, the business side and the endless details of running a club began to wear him out. “I thought it would be great to have a nice club halfway between New York and the West Coast, but the work in taking care of the place never stopped.” In 2005 when Eric Burdon of the Animals asked him to tour and play keyboards with his band, he jumped at the chance. Red had first worked with Burdon in 1982 and has enjoyed being a major part of his music.
While he is often associated with bluesy jazz, as an organist, pianist, arranger, composer, producer and bandleader, Red has performed jazz, blues, rock and roll, pop, r&b, soul and classical music while always sounding like himself.
Upon arriving in Austin in 2002, Red started playing his own solo, duo, trio, quartet and quintet groups on both piano & organ. In 2007 he married Silvie Rider Young, a talented singer songwriter from Switzerland and asked if she would join him in Austin. They continue to perform in and around Austin.
Red Young has become a major musical force in Austin, Texas, invigorating the local jazz scene. “I play in clubs at least 15 days a month when I’m not on tour including twice a week with Black Red Black. When I left L.A. in 2002, I wanted to concentrate on jazz organ. The guys who I learned the organ from are now all gone. That is one of the reasons that I moved down to Austin where there is a lot of live playing, I can encourage the younger players and help make an impact.” While there were few organists in Austin when Red Young arrived, there are now many performers who have been inspired by him.
Among Red Young’s current projects are Red Young & His Hot Horns, which has been performing regularly at the legendary Antone’s in Austin since January 2016 and has recently put out their first live CD. It is music in the style of Percy Mayfield, Ray Charles and Jimmy Witherspoon, with a horn section (5 of them) that Red arranges for. Another project is Tenor Madness that teams his organ and a drummer with two tenor-saxophonists, and another project he is doing is a jazz quintet featuring saxophone, trombone, drums, acoustic bass and Red on piano playing obscure jazz tunes and Red’s original compositions. He also works with his wife when his schedule permits, the talented jazz singer Silvie Rider Young whose recordings he produces. Other projects include solo piano recordings (originals & obscure songs), music for string quartet and in the future compose a classical concerto for piano and orchestra. After all of this time, his potential is still endless.
Red Young’s enthusiasm for music has certainly not diminished through the years. “If someone called me for a classical gig or to play Scott Joplin’s music, I would do my best at that. Jazz, classical, orchestra music, the blues and many different styles flow through what I do. For the future, I want to keep on doing what I’m doing. I don’t see myself ever being retired; in fact I’m just getting started.” And like many artists with eclectic and far reaching tastes, you never know what this master of music will present next.
Click below to view Red's youtube performances: