Rick Vandivier (born October 18, 1954 in Lima, Ohio) [1] is an American jazz guitarist, composer and educator. He is the spirit and leader of Vandivier and the co-founder and lead guitarist of Primary Colors, a group that evolved from the inspired pairing with vocalist Nate Pruitt.



Musical Roots and the PathEdit

Like so many of the jazz greats of this era such as Pat Metheny, John Scofield and Mike Stern, Vandivier is a graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.[1] Vandivier is also a graduate of San Jose State University where he teaches guitar. In his formative years, in addition to private collaboration studies with Pat Metheny and Mick Goodrick, Vandivier took master classes with Christopher Parkening, Rey De La Torre, Michael Lorimer, Michael Hedges, Tuck Andress and Manuel Barrueco. Over the years, Vandivier has evolved a wide ranging style that extends from pushing the limits of jazz guitar to applying his liquid style to the full spectrum of music from raw blues through bebop, Latin music and classical music all the way to the raging soul of Jimi Hendrix. Though known for the crystalline, glass-like purity of sound, Vandivier can also deftly work with the raw “power sound” of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix.

Career highlightsEdit

Vandivier's performing career has been highlighted by performances at Carnegie Hall, the Great American Music Hall and the Berlin Jazz Festival [2] in addition to the North Sea Jazz Festival in The Hague, Abidjan (Ivory Coast, Africa) the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Wilshire Theater in Los Angeles, the Berklee Performance Center in Boston, and the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, the Seattle Opera House, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Artists he has performed with include Smith Dobson, Albert "Tootie" Heath, Bruce Forman, John Handy, Mose Allison, David Grisman, Richie Cole, and Dr. Lonnie Smith. He has also performed with the orchestras of the American Musical Theater of San Jose, Opera San Jose, and TheatreWorks.

Primary ColorsEdit

Vandivier and Nate Pruitt achieved growing recognition in the 1980s in A Little Night Music, a South Bay sextet led by keyboardist Ed Manning. That group appeared at a number of international jazz festivals and recorded two albums - Late One Night (1983) (includes Matt Finders and Tuck and Patti) and Sitting Ducks (1985).

During the period Vandivier was with Night Music, he and Pruitt worked with other musicians and experimented with different groupings (1). Over the years, a deep musical connection and friendship evolved between Vandivier and Pruitt. One of their musical pairings solidified into a group called Threesome with the well known bassist Benny Rietveld,[3] best known for his work with Santana and Miles Davis. In 1994 they took the name Primary Colors and recorded the bands 1999 debut album, “We Know How It Feels” (Avatar Productions).

The music of Primary Colors embraces a wide range of musical styles. In this group, Vandivier pushes the limits by bringing his deep experience with experimental jazz guitar into a seamless fusion with blues and soul tradition and even swing, Latin and inspirational. Vandivier has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Berlin Jazz Festival, the San Jose Jazz Festival and the Great American Music Hall. Nate Pruitt has recorded with, among others Quincy Jones, Dave Brubeck, Dizzy Gillespie.

Studio WorkEdit

Vandivier is often called to bring that "special touch" to recording sessions for new CDs. Recent examples are Ed Johnson, Niki Rejto, Alexa Weber Morales, Kat Parra and the work of Grammy nominee Raquel Bitton.

Selected discographyEdit

  • 1983 Late One Night - A Little Night Music
  • 1985 Sitting Ducks - A Little Night Music
  • 1994 House of Doors - Ed Johnson
  • 2000 We Know How It Feels - Primary Colors
  • 2002 Over That Wave - Ed Johnson
  • 2003 Every Mother's Son - Primary Colors
  • 2004 Spirit of the Room - Rick Vandivier with John Stowell
  • 2007 Birds in Flight - Kat Parra
  • 2007 Vagabundeo - Alexa Weber Morales
  • 2008 Azucar De Amor - Kat Parra
  • 2008 Vandivier - Rick Vandivier


  1. 1.0 1.1 Gilbert, Andrew (January 23, 2004). "Main shading of Primary Colors is the blues". San Jose Mercury News. 
  2. Bartlett, Jean (February 7, 2001). "Primary Colors struts out a new hue at the Sanchez Concert Hall". Pacifica Tribune. 
  3. Gilbert, Andrew (January 13, 2006). "Jazz combo stays flexible". San Jose Mercury News. 

External linksEdit

Rick Vandivier Webpage [1]
Primary Colors Webpage [2]

Vandivier Video Clip - Jimi Hendrix Tribute "Little Wing" [3]

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