Los Angeles-based saxophonist and composer Richard Elliot is widely considered one of the architects of urban contemporary jazz. After indulging his lifelong love of funk and R&B as a studio ace and spending five years as a member of Tower of Power, Elliot and his fat, reedy tone began braiding soul, funk, and hip-hop grooves with smooth jazz on his albums including 1986's Trolltown. After signing to Blue Note in 1989, he issued a host of charting albums for the label including 1992's On the Town, and 1997's Jumpin' Off. Elliot's records helped to define the contemporary jazz radio format. During that period he also helped launch the annual franchised Guitars & Saxes tours. He continued developing his own accessible sound into the 21st century on two charting outings for GRP including 2001's Crush and 2003's Ricochet. 2005's Metro Blue spent 42 weeks on the charts and peaked at number two, while his album with trumpeter Rick Braun on 2007's RnR topped the contemporary jazz chart during its 47-week stay. He was among the saxists (who also included Gerald Albright and Mindi Abair) to appear on Dave Koz and Friends' number one Summer Horns (it remained on the charts for more than eight months). Elliot followed with his own chart-topping, jazz-funk outing Summer Madness in 2016. He joined Koz and crew again for Summer Horns II: From A to Z and returned to solo work on 2021's funky Authentic Life. Elliot was born in Scotland but emigrated with his parents to Los Angeles at age three. He began his musical studies on the clarinet at seven and switched to saxophone in junior high school. His music of choice while growing up was soul, in particular the sounds of Motown and Philly International. He moved to Los Angeles from Detroit in 1972, which allowed the young saxophonist to indulge his obsession. He landed his first professional jobs behind Natalie Cole and the Pointer Sisters, and after playing and recording with fusion outfit Kittyhawk (with Jeff Lorber) and touring with Melissa Manchester, he was invited to join the Tower of Power Horns in 1982. He soaked up everything he could from the group's veterans and continued to forge his own meld of genres. Elliot worked with the Yellowjackets on their second album Mirage a Trois, and recorded with his idols the Temptations, the Four Tops, and Smokey Robinson, as well as Deniece Williams, Rick Springfield, and others. In January of 2021, the saxophonist released Authentic Life. The set included contributions from a plethora of contemporary jazz artists including Braun, Koz, Lorber, Chris "Big Dog" Davis, Philippe Saisse, David Mann, and Lenny Castro.