For other people named Richard Williams, see Richard Williams.
Richard Gene Williams (May 4, 1931 - November 4, 1985) was an American jazz trumpeter.
Williams was born in Galveston, Texas, and played tenor saxophone early in his life before picking up trumpet as a teenager. He played in local Texas bands and attended Wiley College, where he majored in music. After serving in the Air Force from 1952-56, he toured Europe with Lionel Hampton, and upon his return took a master's degree at the Manhattan School of Music.
Williams played with Charles Mingus at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1959, and recorded with Mingus starting in that year. He recorded his only session as a leader, New Horn in Town (1960) for Candid Records, and featuring Reggie Workman, Leo Wright, Richard Wyands, and Bobby Thomas. Williams was a sideman on many releases for Blue Note, Impulse!, New Jazz, Riverside, and Atlantic in the 1960s. Among the musicians he worked with, apart from Mingus, are Oliver Nelson, Grant Green, Lou Donaldson, Yusef Lateef, Gigi Gryce, and Duke Jordan and the big bands of Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, Thad Jones and Mel Lewis, Sam Rivers and Clark Terry.
He also found work on Broadway in pit orchestras, in particular the premiere productions of The Me Nobody Knows and The Wiz. He appears on the original Broadway cast recordings of both musicals. Williams also led bands under his own leadership, playing in New York jazz clubs such as Sweet Basil's, the Village Vanguard, and Gerald's. In addition to jazz trumpet, Williams also performed with classical orchestras, playing piccolo trumpet and fluglehorn.
Richard Williams died on November 4, 1985 from kidney cancer in his Jamaica, NY home.