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Rick laird

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Richard Quentin Laird (5 February 1941 – 4 July 2021) was an Irish musician, photographer, teacher, and author best known as the bassist and founding member of the jazz fusion band Mahavishnu Orchestra, with which he performed from 1971 to 1973.[1]

Laird was born in Dublin, Ireland, on 5 February 1941, to a musical family. His mother played the piano in a variety of styles and his father played the ukulele; Laird started playing both instruments when he was three.[2] At around five years of age, Laird started formal tuition in the guitar and piano, and he had already started to read sheet music. He soon quit the piano as he did not perform well, which led him to take up painting and drawing. At twelve, Laird began lessons in Spanish guitar, but his teacher used books that he felt were too difficult, so he quit. He then discovered jazz from his mother, who bought her son a pair of drum brushes and made him play along to records.[2]

At sixteen, Laird moved to New Zealand with his father and worked on a sheep farm. It was here where he took music seriously, first picking up an Australian Maton guitar, learning chords, and playing along to songs on the radio. After listening to an Oscar Peterson record featuring bassist Ray Brown, Laird noted Brown "doing such incredible things" and started to play bass lines on his guitar. He bought a string bass and played along to Brown's records, and two weeks later he joined a local group in Auckland. It was here, at eighteen, where Laird "quit his day job" and became a professional bassist.[2]

Laird's first band soon split, but he joined another which featured pianist Mike Nock and toured New Zealand extensively.[2] When Laird was nineteen, he moved to Sydney, Australia for two years, where there was a more active jazz scene. Here, he played with many top jazz musicians including Don Burrows, and performed in jazz quartets on the radio. Around this time, Laird's goal was to relocate to the US, but he was encouraged to relocate to England in 1962.[2]

While in England, Laird toured with the vocal ensemble Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross, which led to a stint with Zoot Sims and saxophonist Al Cohn, followed by session work. From 1963 to 1964, Laird studied at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and played in The Brian Auger Trinity (July 1963–February 1964) and The Brian Auger Group (February–October 1964), the latter of which featured guitarist John McLaughlin.[2] Laird clashed with Auger when he was asked to switch from upright to electric bass to complement the music they were playing, but Laird refused. Laird then accepted the offer to become house bassist at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club, playing with many visiting musicians including Wes Montgomery and Sonny Stitt. It became a valuable learning experience for Laird, as the group were given considerable freedom and Laird received constructive and helpful advice from the other musicians.[2] Laird is featured on the soundtrack of Alfie (1966) with Sonny Rollins. With Buddy Rich, he played a residence at The Talk of the Town in 1969.[citation needed]

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