Richie Mola

Drummer and percussionist Richie Mola hails from New York City where he attended the High School of Music and Art, The Jazzmobile School, and studied privately with jazz great Charlie Persip (Dizzy Gillespie). With confidence he took to the streets and frequented some of the jam sessions in the city. The ones at the Village Gate and Third Floor Studios were his favorites because of all the top professionals that would come in. He met many veteran players as well as those destined for an active career in music.
After some pick-up work, sitting in with various bands, and auditioning feverishly, he was picked up by a well-known booking agency in New York City. After being assigned to the top band in that office, he began to look at the music business much more seriously. By the end of the four-year term with that agency, Richie was working more than 200 gigs per year (everywhere from the legendary CBGB club to the Waldorf Astoria).
At the end of 1992, Richie devised a plan to cut overhead costs, work more effectively, and have room to stretch out. He moved with his wife and son to Florida’s Central-East Cost. The creative juices were flowing with the newly found space to practice while able to travel to meet any gig obligations. The vision of becoming the “first-call” player was starting to materialize. He quickly signed on with a band that had steady work. With this band, Richie performed everywhere from the Orlando/Sanford area to Cape Canaveral to Jimmy Buffet’s “Margaritaville” in Key West. It was now that he started to cut his southern blues chops. Steve Miller (Allman Brothers, Elvin Bishop, John Lee Hooker) at times would come to play with Richie and his band on stage.
During that same time, Richie began accepting invitations as a guest in the Melbourne “Swingtime” (Big) Band, played a pick-up gig with the Brevard Symphony Orchestra and found work as a clinician for several public-school band directors in percussion. In 1994, he accepted the percussion director’s chair at the Academy for The Performing Arts in Vero Beach. Richie went on to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Central Florida and presently serves as the elementary music teacher at a school in the Melbourne area.
He remains an active performer on his instrument and has appeared with such jazz artists as Ira Sullivan, Linda Cole, Turk Mauro, and Richie Cole. Recently, he has been providing the rhythm for former American Idol finalist Micah Read. In addition, Richie has also been drumming with The Chief Cherry Quintet. It is a Bebop “throwback” group to the days of Bird, Diz, and Sarah Vaughn, on 52nd Street in New York City.