Johnny Richards

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Johnny Richards
Clockwise from left: Eddie Sauter, Edwin Finckel, George Handy, Richards, Neal Hefti, and Ralph Burns at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, c. 1947[1]
Clockwise from left: Eddie Sauter, Edwin Finckel, George Handy, Richards, Neal Hefti, and Ralph Burns at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, c. 1947[1]
Background information
Birth nameJuan Manuel Cascales
Born(1911-11-02)November 2, 1911
Querétaro, Mexico
DiedOctober 7, 1968(1968-10-07) (aged 56)
New York City, U.S.
Occupation(s)Composer, arranger

Johnny Richards (born Juan Manuel Cascales, November 2, 1911 – October 7, 1968) was an American jazz arranger and composer scoring numerous sound tracks for television and film.[2] He was a pivotal composer/arranger for cutting edge, adventurous performances and recording sessions by Stan Kenton's big band in the 1950s and early 1960s; such as Cuban Fire!, Kenton's West Side Story and Adventures in Time.[2]


Richards was born in Toluca, Mexico, to a Spanish father (Juan Cascales y Valero) and a Mexican mother (Maria Celia Arrue aka Marie Cascales), whose parents were Spanish immigrants to Mexico. He entered the United States on August 4, 1919 at Laredo, Texas, along with his mother, three brothers (also professional musicians) and sister:


Richards' father, Juan Cascales y Valero, immigrated earlier, crossing the border at Laredo, Texas, on June 4, 1919.[4] The family lived first in Los Angeles, California[5] and later in San Fernando, California, where Joe, Johnny, and Chuck attended and graduated from San Fernando High School. In 1930, Richards was living in Fullerton, California, and attending Fullerton College.[6]

Richards worked in Los Angeles, California, from the late 1930s to 1952. In 1952, he moved to New York City. He had been arranging for Stan Kenton since 1950 and continued to do so through the mid-1960s.[2] He also led his own bands throughout his career. In addition, he wrote the music for the popular song "Young at Heart" (1953), made famous by Frank Sinatra and others.[2]

Richards died October 7, 1968, in New York City, of a brain tumor.[7][8] Reviewers have deemed his style as being influenced by Duke Ellington and Pete Rugolo.[9]


As leader[edit]

  • Annotations of the Muses (Légende, 1955)
  • Something Else by Johnny Richards (Bethlehem, 1956)
  • Wide Range (Capitol, 1957)
  • Experiments in Sound (Capitol, 1958)
  • The Rites of Diablo (Roulette, 1958)
  • Walk Softly/Run Wild! (Coral, 1959)
  • My Fair Lady – My Way (Roulette, 1964)
  • Aqui Se Habla Español (Roulette, 1967)
  • Mosaic Select 17 (Mosaic, 2005)

As sideman/arranger[edit]

With Charlie Barnet

  • The Capitol Big Band Sessions (Capitol, 1948–1950)

With Harry James

With Stan Kenton

With Hugo Loewenstern

  • Who Said Good Music Is Dead? (Jazz Art Spectacular LP 1103, 1965)[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Portrait of Ralph Burns, Edwin A. Finckel, George Handy, Neal Hefti, Johnny Richards, and Eddie Sauter, Museum of Modern Art, New York, N.Y., ca. Mar. 1947 - William P. Gottlieb, accessed January 2011
  2. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Fifties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. p. 358. ISBN 1-85227-937-0.
  3. ^ U.S. Department of Labor, Immigration Service, Laredo, Texas, receipt #106831/14989 and United States of America Declaration of Intention #11261, certification No. 23 103364, dated November 21, 1941, Los Angeles, California
  4. ^ "Ancestry® | Genealogy, Family Trees & Family History Records". Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  5. ^ 1920 United States Federal Census, Los Angeles Assembly District 74, Los Angeles, California; roll T625_115; page 2B; Enumeration District 429, image 140
  6. ^ 1930 United States Federal Census, Fullerton, Orange, California; roll 181, page 3B, Enumeration District: 33, Image 311.0
  7. ^ "Yahoo". Retrieved October 27, 2019.
  8. ^ Feather, Leonard. "Johnny Richards, Noted Composer, Dies in N.Y." Los Angeles Times. October 10, 1968. PART II, pp. 8
  9. ^ Johnny Richards at AllMusic
  10. ^ "Harry James And His Orchestra – Harry James And His Orchestra 1948-49". Discogs. Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  11. ^ "Album Reviews". Billboard. January 30, 1965. Retrieved March 21, 2017.

External links[edit]

Media related to Johnny Richards at Wikimedia Commons