In Memory

Richard Kermode

Richard Kermode

Richard was one of the most respected musicians in Buffalo in the 1960’s – wanting to be a jazz player. When Richard left WNY in 1969 to take that immense talent to California as one of Buffalo’s premier jazz keyboardist, he had no way of knowing he would end up on multi platinum and gold albums as keyboardist with both Janis Joplin, with whom he recorded “Kozmic Blues” and with Carlos Santana. From his days at the Ontario House, Richard’s career took him to television appearances on Ed Sullivan, to Carnegie Hall, and to touring with the likes of Joplin, Santana, and Malo. He recorded with those stars as well as Patti LaBelle. He even experienced Woodstock first hand as keyboardist for Janis Joplin. He passed away in January of 1996 at the age of 49.





Services were held last month in Denver for Richard Kermode , 49, a jazz-rock keyboardist with Buffalo roots who played at the Woodstock rock festival with Janis Joplin and recorded with Carlos Santana.  He died Jan. 16, 1996, in Denver General Hospital after a brief illness.
Born in Lovell, Wyo., he grew up in Buffalo and displayed his talents on the Hammond B-3 organ while still in his teens.
Playing in a jazz trio called Milestones, he became a star attraction in the Ontario House in Niagara Falls, where he played four nights a week for more than four years in the mid-1960s.
"Richard came to me when he was about 17 years of age," said Ontario House proprietor Bob Minicucci and he was a tremendous, tremendous artist.  "Many people came to see him; many musicians, too. One night when (legendary jazz organist) Jack McDuff was in town, he dropped in. That was really an honor."
Kermode moved to San Francisco after he was called by Janis Joplin as she was forming her Kosmic Blues Band.
He returned to Buffalo in the early 1970s to play in Memorial Auditorium with Malo, a group led by Carlos Santana's brother, Jorge.  Kermode then joined Santana and recorded three albums with the group.
Jazz vocalist Flora Purim sang one of his songs, "Yours in the Light," on the "Welcome" album.  His work also was featured on the "Lotus" album, a Japanese release that became highly prized as an import album here.  He also recorded with Patti LaBelle, Luis Gasca, Pete Escovedo, Airto and Purim.  He developed a passion for Latin music while playing with Malo and worked with numerous Latin jazz, salsa and Brazilian bands.  He last performed in Buffalo in 1989, filling in for the late Stan Szelest in a club band and taking part in a West Coast-Buffalo Reunion jazz show in the former Cafe Casablanca.  Minicucci held a benefit show for him in the Ontario House in 1990 when he was recovering from near-fatal kidney and liver ailments.
He was able to resume his musical career and in recent years played in bands on USO tours, entertaining U.S. military personnel around the world.  He toured South Korea last summer and followed that with a number of solo dates in his favorite foreign destination, Japan.
He moved to Denver in 1994 to work on salsa music projects.
Survivors include his wife, the former Gail Knox; three sons, Eric Kermode, Jeremy Kermode and John Barrios, all of the San Francisco area; a daughter, Adrienne DeMonico of Niagara Falls; and a sister, Trish Dehn of Concord, Calif.

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06/29/14 04:44 PM #1    

Barbara Hauenstein (Rose)

Dick lived on Wabash Ave, just up the street from me.  What a truely nice guy he was.  A life lost much too soon.

06/30/14 11:21 AM #2    

Jimmie James

I sat next to dick in a couple classes.

Remember how he used to play the drums on his desk with 2 pencils.

Followed his career for many years and was proud to have known him.


07/03/14 07:26 PM #3    

John Wingenbach

Jack Quinlan and I went to Alantic City to see Dick perform with Janis Joplin.  He also played an hour with BB King that night.  He took us backstage to meet Janis. That was a long way from Simmons basement where we all first hung out. 

11/22/14 08:09 PM #4    

John Baker

In addition to being a tremendous jazz organist, Dick was also a gifted guitar player. He gave me my first guitar when we were in high school, a huge gray steel string with f holes - he had already played it so much at that young age that some of the frets were worn down. My mother was so impressed by the way he played "Malaguena" on that guitar. I remember being amazed at his talent for transcribing music by ear - the album Guitar Forms by Kenny Burrell had just come out and Dick wrote down all the music just by listening. But most of all he loved playing that Hammond B-3 organ with the Leslie speakers, just like his idol, Jimmy Smith. The world lost a generous and talented person whose music brought joy and inspiration to so many.

05/27/15 01:09 AM #5    

Gary Walker

Thee Brother: Sorry we have to put off this reunion until we meet in another, better place. Then we can not be disturbered, and share the past. Things like Gam, our lunch table, friendship & you playing the organ. I look forward to that time we will be in touch In peace & friendship forever....your brother forever.....

05/27/15 03:38 PM #6    

Paul Santa Maria

 Dick was not only a natural musican, but one hell of a friend. RIP and I hope you are still Rocking with the Big guy in Heaven! My wife and I used to live in Niagara Falls and he used to play at the Ontario House and he would always show up with a big name performer. Dick Kermode was one of the most amazing musicans I have had the privilidge to know. Back in 8th and 9th grade a bunch of us formed a club called The Squires.  We had a meeting at my parents home.  After the meeting Dick asked if he could play their piano. I said of course. He asked me to turn on the radio and he listened to a Jerry Lee Lewis song...He sat down at the piano and played the song back exactly the way it sounded on the radio! Amazing Talent!

THE Best! Always,






07/20/15 09:07 PM #7    

James Poleski

I have fond recollections of Dick Kermode. He was a friend while at KW and also after. I recall he wore stylish shirts with long oversize collars (before it became a bad fashion cliche) He said he bought them in New York City when he would go there to see live jazz at clubs. The shirt label said "Lew Magram, Shirtmaker to the Stars". I found their ad in Downbeat magazine, and ordered a couple of shirts so I could be like Richard. 

Later in 1965-66 when I was living in Niagara Falls attending  junior college, Richard was playing in a club on Main Street. It was so cool to see and hear him play live. We had many late nights there, was great!

Dick bought an old dry-clearner's delivery van to haul his Hammond B3 organ. I remember late nights bombing around on the way home, with me standing, hanging on for dear life (since there was no passenger seat) during the ride, both of us laughing and loving every minute.

He had a sly sense of humor too. I asked if the Hammond was a problem to haul around, since it was quite huge, and he said "No, four guys can move it easily, or fourteen guys our size"...

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