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Music maestro and father-of-nine dies

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One of the greats of Bermuda's music scene, Cyril Richardson, has died at the age 78.

Mr Richardson was well on his way to being inducted into the Bermuda Music Hall of Fame for his long career dedicated to entertaining as a pianist and organist.

Family and friends say there wasn't a major Bermuda venue he hadn't played at and he had performed with all of the best musicians the island had produced.

Aside from his music he was a loving family man — father of nine children, one of whom, Ralph — passed away last year.

His son Cyril Jr said: “He was a devoted father. He raised and took care of nine children and managed to keep us all fed, clothed and schooled and he was a real strict disciplinarian.

“He was loving and supportive of whatever endeavours we pursued. He would always help if someone wanted to take up music and would send us to music lessons.

“He has always had his own band and if you can name all the greats that played on the island he definitely played with them. He had the Richardson Quartet — he always had his own thing going. He toured Europe and did some stints in the US and all around playing his music.

“Music was his life but he didn't start up with music, he started in construction and in the stone quarry.

“He was an outstanding person and a role model. He is going to be one of those greats of Bermuda who will be missed greatly.”

Throughout the years Mr Richardson played at countless venues including the Jungle Room, the Musicians Club, Sea View, Clayhouse Inn and Swizzle Inn. He was known in recent years for performing in the Doc Simons Trio with Edwin ‘Doc' Simons on saxophone and Clarence ‘Tootsie' Bean on drums.

Mr Bean recalled: “I met Cyril years ago. I went abroad to play music and came back about nine years ago. When I came back Doc Simons came and got me and said him and Cyril wanted to form as trio — the Doc Simons Trio — so we did some rehearsing and we went to work down at Swizzle Inn.

“We used to play down the Jungle Room. We played together about three years, then Doc Simons got sick. Cyril and I played with Max Maybury for a while.

“Cyril was a very good musician — any tune you called he knew and he was good at learning new tunes. He had a drive on the organ bass that I don't think anyone else in Bermuda ever had. We played a little jazz, a little rock and calypso and blues because Doc liked to sing blues.

“Cyril was a good guy, easy going, never complained about anything — we were always joking.

“He was well versed in all the happenings in Bermuda and about the world. He took some trips too, I believe. When I came back from abroad Cyril had retired and when he heard that I was joining the band he said “well, if Tootsie is going to play, I'll come back out”.

Publisher and author of Music on the Rock, Dale Butler, said he was planning to enter Mr Richardson into the Bermuda Hall of Fame, which can still be done posthumously, and was saddened that he didn't get to interview him on video before his passing.

Mr Butler said: “He was about to be inducted. Had we not lost the facility it was my intention to induct him given his outstanding service which meant we would have had an opportunity to interview him on video but I never got the chance.

“He was an organist — one of the best ever produced.

“In his last combo he was playing with Clarence ‘Tootsie' Bean and Edwin ‘Doc' Simons. They played for a number of shows including at the Swizzle Inn. He was known as a jazz performer — piano but mainly organ.

“I would say he played in every single hotel and nightclub in Bermuda. He was a very likeable and quiet sort of guy. He took his music very, very seriously. It is a great loss to Bermuda because he gave first class service in everything he did.

“He played a number of years ago at the Showcase for local talent over at Elbow Beach and he was really able to captivate the audience's attention. He did a first class job.”

Mr Richardson leaves behind Marlene Scraders, Cyril Jr, Dianne, Michelle Lewis, Neville, Jean Ann Edwards, Rachael Robinson, Leon, Leo and the mother of his children Phyllis Gayle.

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Published August 27, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated August 27, 2016 at 1:18 am)

Music maestro and father-of-nine dies

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