Richard “Dickie” Landry
Born and raised in Cecilia, Louisiana, Richard “Dickie” Landry began singing Gregorian chants at Latin mass services at the age of six, and by age ten, he had picked up his instrument of choice, the saxophone, in the school band. Upon graduating high school in 1956, Mr. Landry traveled to New York City where he would frequent over the following years. Today, he is widely recognized as one of the most influential and legendary contributors to contemporary art, not only in his hometown, but in the world.
Landry began presenting his work in solo concerts on tenor saxophone in 1970, pioneering the use of a quadraphonic delay system that allowed him to form a live quintet of his own voicing (his original sound plus four timed delayed repeats). Since then he has given over 600 concerts in the USA, Europe, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Cuba, Haiti, Japan, South America and India.
In the United States, Landry has performed in major concert halls, art galleries, museums, universities, and churches. The list includes: Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, The Kitchen, Metropolitan Opera House, Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Leo Castelli Gallery, Whitney Museum, Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery, Washington, D.C. as well as the Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City. Landry often performs in the South including venues such as The New Orleans Museum of Art, The Contemporary Art Center, and The New Orleans Jazz Festival in Louisiana, and at The Fine Arts Museum, Rice University, Rothko Chapel, Contemporary Art Museum, and The New Music America Festival in Houston, Texas, and Miami, Florida.
Landry's "Mass for Pentecost Sunday," a commission from the Menil Foundation for the inaugural opening of the Menil Collection, premiered at the Rothko Chapel, Houston, Texas, on June 4, 1987. The Mass was performed at the 12th Century Abbey Sylvanes in Southern France, the School of Sacred Music at Yale University, and The New Music America Festival in Miami, Florida. A commission, "Astral Convertible," from the Trisha Brown Dance Co., with sets by Robert Rauschenberg, premiered in March 1989 at City Center, New York City and The Spoleto Festival, Charleston, South Carolina. Its European premiere was at the Montpellier Dance Festival, Montpellier, France.
In addition to Landry's solo career, he has collaborated with other composers, artists and choreographers. From 1968 to 1981, he was a founding member of the original group that formed the Philip Glass Ensemble, performing on all tours and recordings of that period ending with his participation in "Einstein on the Beach," an opera production (CBS). He has also worked with David Byrne of the Talking Heads on the "Speaking in Tongues," an album for which he received a Gold Record Award (Sire).
In 1984, Landry began a collaboration with Laurie Anderson at the Next Wave Festival in "Set/Reset" with choreographer Trisha Brown and artist Robert Rauschenberg. This collaboration continued with his inclusion in Anderson's Mister Heartbreak tour of America and Japan. These efforts culminated in the feature film production of Home of the Brave and the CD of the same name (Warner Brothers). Landry has collaborated with artists Keith Sonnier, Lawrence Weiner and Richard Serra (books, photographs & videos) and received commissioned works from choreographers Babs Case, Trisha Brown, Deborah Hay and Jane Comfort.
In 1985, Landry was musical consultant on the feature film The Big Easy (Columbia Pictures). In 1986, Landry invited Paul Simon to Louisiana to work with local Zydeco musicians. This resulted in the song "That Was Your Mother" on the album "Graceland,” for which Landry was awarded a gold & multi-platinum sales award record. (Warner Brothers). Landry performed concerts in Mexico, Cuba, Russia and the National Gallery in Washington, DC for the openings of "Rauschenberg's Overseas Cultural Interchange," (ROCI) world exhibition tour. Recently, Landry performed in Robert Wilson's "Grace for Grace" at St. John Divine Cathedral in New York City. Landry also performed with Bob Dylan at New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. In May 2007, Landry recorded with Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) two songs for “Goin’ Home,” a Fats Domino Tribute two set CD. Landry performed with zydeco musician, Terrance Simien, at the 2008 Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Simien walked away with the first ever Zydeco/Cajun Grammy.
Landry moved back to Louisiana in 1995. Along with C.C. Adcock and Steve Riley, Landry formed an all-star swamp-pop band, Lil Band 'Gold, with legendary swamp-pop singer and drummer, Warren Storm. Landry also began playing with local bands such as, Frigg A Go Go (punk), True Man Posse (reggae), Beau Jacque (zydeco), Cowboy Stew (blues), and Bas Clas (rock & roll) to name a few. He is also currently working on a book of photographs of photos of the 70’s New York Soho art, dance, theater and music scene.
Recently, Landry performed for the Robert Rauschenberg Memorial Service in Fort Myers, The Metropolitan Museum in New York City, Aratani/Japan American Theatre, and in May of 2009, The Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice, Italy
The year 2009 and 2010 will find Landry working with Robert Wilson, Ornette Coleman, and the U Theatre from Taipei on a music theatre work inspired by the story of Admiral Zheng, which portrays the travels of this 15th century navigator and explorer. “1433” opened February 20, 2010, as part of the Taiwan International Festival at the National Theatre in Taipei.
Whenever he can, Mr. Landry enjoys spending time with his grandchildren and working on his farm in Cecilia. He currently resides in Lafayette, Louisiana, in his Jefferson Street penthouse and is rarely seen on any given night without his sax, wandering the streets and mingling with the locals.