About Richie McCrae RICHIE McCRAE- ORGAN Richard McCrae - Piano/Organist was born on July 11th, 1936 in Newark NJ. There was an old Piano left in his house on South Orange Ave so he tried to play it. That was the start to an ongoing love affair with the piano and organ for Richard McCrae. Newark has spit out a bunch of extroadinary organ players and Richie can be included with the best of them. He started as a young boy and played piano with various teachers and eventually stareted playing in the local clubs. One of his first major influences early on was the Nataniel Phipps Jazz Big Band and many other musicians in the Phipps Family. One of his first club date experieinces was the 42nd Club in Orange.NJ. It was there that he met and played with all the Jazz cats on the scene. Connie Lester, Willie Wright, John Byrd, Jimmy Andersn, Hank White, Jimmy Jones, Lonnie Youngblood, Leo Johnson and many more musicians. He then went on a five year gig with Organ Group Paul Ferano and Pearl Reeve. He Played all over the East Coast. In 1958 Jimmy Smith blew everyone away with a new sound on the organ and all the clubs owners started putting Hammond Organs in the clubs. There was more work for organ players and you kind of had to sink or swim. Richie met and played with many of the major organist at this time. To name a few; Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Richard Groove Holmes, Don Patterson, Charles Earland and Johnny Hammond Smith. Richie got married and had children and to help support his family he started a day job in the mail room for the Board of Education in Trenton NJ. He sacrificed music for for his day job as many great musicians do. He tried to play on weekedends and summers in New Haven CT for a while but eventually was worn out and had to concentrate on his day job and his family. Eventually around 1978 he stopped playing all together because of his other responsibilities. Thankfully for all of us he was brought out of retirement around 2002 by friend and band member Don Williams. Richie is a true living legend. He can currently be seen in local venues in the NY/NJ Metropolitan Area.''