It was during the mid-seventies while attending college in Cleveland, Ohio, that guitarists Rick Stone just happen to attend a live performance of saxophonist Sonny Stitt. From this point on, Stone knew he would have the passion for jazz.
Whenever Stitt would come to town, he would always go to see him. Stone would begin to peruse jazz albums of other artist such as Miles Davis. He didn’t know anything about a jazz guitar at that point, but was becoming familiar with Django, Charlie Christian and Wes Montgomery.
The guitarist that made the biggest impression on Rick Stone was Jim Hall and especially Jimmy Rainey and the guitar world. Stone related to Rainey because their sound was similar.
Stone realized that he would dedicate his life to playing jazz. On the advice of his music professor, Dr. Joseph Howard, Stone enrolled in the Berklee College of Music where he earned his Bachelors’ degree in 1980. Stone tells a story of how he and a friend packed up their Volkswagen with about $15.00, a box of archway cookies, and coffee and drove to Boston from Ohio on a Thursday evening and had to be back by Saturday morning.
In 1980, Stone moved back to Cleveland, then on to New York where he found a stimulating environment at Barry Harris’ jazz cultural theater studying with the pianist, and gaining valuable experience while sitting alongside players like Tommy Flanagan, Art Blakely and Lionel Hampton.
Stone continued his education at Queens College and earned his Master’s degree under jazz masters Jimmy Heath, Ted Dunbar, Donald Byrd and Tony Purrone. He also studied privately with Hal Galper. He has earned an extraordinary reputation both as a leader and as a sideman. He has lead his own group, which included such notable musicians as Kenny Barron, Barry Harris, Richard Wyands, Junior Cook, Tardo Hammer, John Webber and others.
In 1985, Stone’s independent CD debut, "Blues for Nobody," was extremely successful. The debut included musicians Hal Galper, Billy Hart, Brian Hurley and Marc Bernstein.
Stone’s second effort, "Far East," was released in 1991, with pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Don Gladstone and drummer Curtis Boyd. It received national attention and made the Gavin Report’s Top 50 Jazz Albums listing for sixteen weeks. This is unheard of for an artist-released recording.
Stone explains that his other obligations to family are running a studio, writing for guitar publications and waiting patiently to find and select the music for his new album "Samba de Novembro." Stone and his quartet work through an even dozen songs, ranging from standards such as I Can’t Get Started and My Romance to covers of forgotten gems( Kenny Werner’s Autumn in Three and Bill Evans’ Song for Helen) to the closing song, In Loving Memory. It was written for the passing of guitarist Attila Zoller and then to the loss of his teacher, guitarist Ted Dunbar, and finally, to his father John W. Stone.
Equally significant is Stone’s commitment to jazz education. He teaches at Hofstra University, City College and the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Stone has also actively promoted public understanding and appreciation of the role of the guitar in jazz.