Whether he’s working on a keyboard or a fretboard, acoustically or amplified, before large audiences or individual students, Rick Strauss masterfully exceeds every musical challenge, with passion as a key element

Strauss resists a single stylistic category and proves his versatility be it an up-tempo be-bop burner, a free-jazz jam, or a gut-bucket down-home blues shuffle. An insightful composer, talented guitarist, and imaginative producer, Strauss has two, internationally released, discs on the ProJazz Label. The first, Jump Start reached # 20 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart, 13 on the Cashbox Indie Jazz chart, and in the top 15 on all major radio trade reports. Body Lines, his second album, also reached the top 15 in all major radio trade reports. Both albums continue to receive worldwide exposure on Jazz and Adult Contemporary radio formats.

Strauss’ work and experimentation began in the 1970’s while writing and playing with Flight, a budding group of young musicians from upstate New York. Interweaving elements of Jazz, Rock and World Music, the musical explorations of Flight helped spawn the formation of the internationally acclaimed Spyro Gyra. Strauss played and composed for that group’s Morning Dance album, which rose to the top of the charts and received Platinum status. Their biggest selling album to date!

Strauss has an impressive educational background in music. He has studied composition with Livingston Gearhart and Edgar Grana. His guitar studies include stints with Frank Gerard, Joe Pass, Ed Arkin and the legendary Ted Greene. Rick earned his Masters Degree at the State University of New York College in Buffalo, composing music for orchestra, brass quintet, big band and guitar, under the direction of Dr. James Mabry. Rick also works as a music educator at the Buffalo Academy of Visual and Performing Arts where he directs the Guitar Ensemble and teaches Music Theory.

Determined to remain on the cutting edge of new musical styles, composition and technique, Strauss is constantly refining his work by engaging in a host of musical settings. As a well-respected and innovative guitarist, Strauss has performed in Genoa Italy at the Fritz Lang Theatre; concerts in Germany, Sweden, Canada and across the U.S. with – aside from pops concerts with the Buffalo and Rochester Philharmonic Orchestras – many well-know names in contemporary Jazz, including: Bobby Short, Dianne Reeves, Bobby Militello, Don Menza, John Dankworth, and Dave Brubeck. Rick has been a featured artist at the Sammons Jazz Festival in Dallas, the Lewiston Jazz Festival and the New York State Wine Festival. His compositions include music for film, television, theatre, and concerts.