“Streaming hypnotic lines together one by one, he tells the story of a soul who must sing and does so with unadulterated beauty and intelligence” — Cicily Janus, author, New Face of Jazz

“Ricky plays with one foot rooted in the tradition and one looking to the future. He is a wonderfully creative saxophonist and prolific composer.” — Gary Smulyan

“Ricky is a burning tenor player with technique and ideas to spare…well worth checking out!” — David Liebman

“Ricky plays with a maturity and control of his instrument that is a real pleasure to listen to. His sound commands your attention.” — Bill Evans (sax)

“Ricky Sweum is an excellent saxophonist…beautiful and musical…a pleasure for my ears.” — James Moody

“…solos are inventive and exciting.” — Marian McPartland

“A great young saxophone player with big sound and a big future.” – Walt Weiskopf



Ricky Sweum is an American jazz saxophonist, recording artist, composer, educator, and music producer.  He is known for his nine solo albums, ambient sax nature soundscapes, appearing as a sideman on over 30 albums, and his 18 years of performing with and leading U.S. Air Force Bands.  Ricky is an official P. Mauriat saxophone endorsing artist.

Ricky utilizes the power of music to bring harmony to the world.

Ricky is a Master Sergeant in the United States Air Force, serving as a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer, Premier Band, Saxophonist, and Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Productions for the United States Air Force Academy Band, Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado.  Originally from Eugene, Oregon, his Air Force career began in 2003 with the USAF Band of the West at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas.  In 2005, MSgt Sweum won a position at the Premier USAF Academy Band in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he served as lead tenor saxophonist and Tour Manager for the Falconaires Jazz Band.  In 2011, he was assigned to the USAF Band of the Pacific at Joint Base Richardson-Elemendorf, Anchorage, Alaska where he served as Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge and Music Director of the Greatlanders Jazz Band.  In 2012, MSgt Sweum was assigned to the USAF Band of the Pacific-Asia where he served as Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge and Musical Director of the Pacific Showcase Jazz Band, was Director of Operations, and Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Publicity.  In 2018, Sergeant Sweum returned back to the states and joined the USAF Band of the Golden West, Travis AFB, California, where he served as Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of The Commanders Jazz Ensemble, Section Chief of Administrative Support, and Unit Training Manager.  In 2020, MSgt Sweum returned to USAF Academy Band in Colorado.

Including Ricky’s career outside of the Air Force, he has performed music for audiences in every U.S. state (except HI), Australia, Japan, Korea, China, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Mexico, and Canada.  He has appeared on over 30 albums as a sideman, and recorded eight solo albums.  Ricky has recorded for Origin Records and his recordings have risen to #2 on the CMJ radio charts, #97 on the JazzWeek charts, and been chosen by Denver radio station KUVO-FM’s “CD of the Month.”  He was featured in the Random House book, “The New Face of Jazz: An Intimate Look at Today’s Living Legends and the Artists of Tomorrow.”  Ricky’s music was chosen as an accompanying CD to the Italian published book, “appunti da New York.”  Since 2011, he has owned and operated the independent jazz record label, NINJAZZ Records.  As a composer he has over 58 original compositions registered with BMI, and in 2019, he founded, which creates music education materials.  In addition to performing and writing music, Ricky is a sought after producer, audio recording and mix engineer, and his services have contributed to over 30 professional audio products.

Ricky earned a Master of Music in Jazz Studies degree from the University of Arkansas at Monticello where he also served as a Graduate Teaching Assistant.  He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Production from Berklee College of Music where he graduated Summa Cum Laude.  As an educator, Ricky’s top students have won scholarships to Berklee College of Music, Eastman School of Music, Indiana University, placements in all-state bands, and gone on to become professional musicians and educators.  He was the jazz band director at Colorado College from 2007-2011.

Prior to joining the Air Force, Ricky lived in New York City for 10 years.  During this time, he attended William Paterson University, toured with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, toured with the Broadway Musical, “The Sound of Music,” was a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, and played and studied with jazz luminaries throughout the Big Apple.  Along with pursuing a music career, Ricky studied and taught martial arts; he holds multiple black belts in Ninjustsu (under Masaaki Hatsumi, Mark Guest, Jean-Pierre Seibel) and Toshindo (under Stephen K. Hayes).  He has also lived in the woods for weeks at a time under the tutelage of nature awareness teacher, Tom Brown Jr.

Ricky wouldn’t be who he is today without the guidance of many excellent music teachers:  Barry Deister, Steve Owen, Tom Gadbois, Gary Smulyan, Rick Margitza, Richard Tabnik, Charlie Banacos, Doug Scheuerell, Pete BarenBregge, Hal Crook, Huw Lloyd, Harvey Pittel, Michael Melinger, Joe Ingram, Carl Woideck, and Robyn Steiner Boling.




Erik Hawk “Moonlight in SF” (to be released) 2021

David Dormeus “Take Me Lord” 2020

Honor Scouts “Love You Right” (BonFire Records) 2020

Honor Scouts “Longform” (BonFire Records) 2020

Jeremy Facknitz “Ballad of an Unhatched Chick” (From Those Sweet Ashes) 2020

Caleb Cameron “You Not Me” 2017

Appunti da New York (Italian Book & CD) 2012

Wil Swindler’s Elevenet “Universe B” (OA2 Records) 2010

Barbara Ernst “April Child” Mistura Bela (Circle 504 Records) 2009

Morgan Community College Jazz Ensemble “Home Grown: The Music of Glenn Miller” 2009

Dr. Pat Boone “A Christmas Letter From Your Family” 2007

Sammy Nestico “The Complete Arranger” (Revised Edition – Book & CD) 2006

Gerry Gibbs and the Thrasher Big Band “Live at Luna” (Whaling City Sound) 2005

Geoffrey Mayes “Journeys Within & Afar” (Toya Music) 1998-2002

Mount Hood Community College Jazz Band “Back In Town” 1993

Joe Blue Coltrane & Southside Chicago “Messin’ With The Blues” (Wolf) 1992-1993

Latarski / Stevens with Marilyn Keller “How many ways…” (Dola Disques) 1992



USAF Band of the Golden West “American Tapestry” 2020

USAF Academy Band “The Speed of Heat” 2011

USAF Academy Band Falconaires “Sharing The Freedom” 2010

USAF Academy Band “It’s America” 2010

USAF Academy Band “Windscapes” 2009

USAF Academy Band “Colorado Blue” 2009

USAF Academy Band Falconaires “Reflections” 2009

USAF Academy Band “Emblem of Freedom” 2009

USAF Academy Band “Summon the Heroes” DVD 2008

USAF Academy Band “Joy to the World” DVD 2007

USAF Academy Band “There She Stands” 2007

USAF Academy Band “A Holiday in New York” DVD 2006

USAF Academy Band Falconaires “Just Friends” 2006

USAF Academy Band Falconaires “From This Moment On” DVD 2006

USAF Academy Band “An Evening in December” DVD 2006

USAF Band of the West “Jazz Heritage II: The Music of Gordon Goodwin” 2004

USAF Band of the West “American Destinations” 2004


Knight to Queen (short film) [voice-over recording engineer] 2021

Ricky Sweum “Little Birds” [producer, record, mix, master] 2021

University of Arkansas at Monticello, Jazz One “The First Time Out” [big band composition & arrangement] 2021

Ben Huseby “Flake” [editing, mixing, mastering] 2021

Erik Hawk “Moonlight in SF” [record saxes] 2021

USAF Academy Band “Holly & Ivy” (1-hour video for PBS & AFN) [producer] 2020

David Dormeus “Take Me Lord” [record saxes] 2020

Dennis Lambert “Video Teaching Masterclass for Patreon” [producer, lecturer, record audio/video, edit, mix, master] 2020

University of Arkansas at Monticello “Masters of Music in Jazz Studies 2020 Sax Studio” [producer, video editing, mix, master, record sax audio-video] 2020

USAF Band of the Golden West “Better Days Will Come” [record sax audio-video] 2020

USAF Band of the Golden West, The Commanders “Watch Your Steps” [producer, video editing, audio editing, audio mix, record sax audio-video] 2020

USAF Band of the Golden West “Sierra Madre” [record sax audio-video] 2020

USAF Band of the Golden West “Saints Go Marching In” [mix, master, record clarinet audio-video] 2020

USAF Band of the Golden West “Jazzy Etudes for Trombone” [mix, master] 2020

USAF Band of the Golden West, The Commanders “The Last Dinosaur” [producer, video editing, mix, master, record sax audio-video] 2020

Ian F Martin “Show Me” [producer, record, mix, master] 2020

Ricky Sweum “Ambient Sax Arboreal Ascension” [producer, record, mix, master] 2020

Honor Scouts “Love You Right” [record sax] 2020

Honor Scouts “Longform” [record sax] 2020

Jeremy Facknitz “Ballad of an Unhatched Chick” [record sax] 2020

Ricky Sweum “Ambient Sax Forest Bath” [producer, record, mix, master] 2019

Ricky Sweum “Earth Song” [producer, record, mix, master] 2019

Tokyo International Players “Two Gentlemen of Verona” [mix, master] 2018

Acoüstika “Miles Away” [mix, master] 2017

Caleb Cameron “You Not Me” [record sax] 2017

Ricky Sweum “More Than Imaginable” [producer] 2012

Ricky Sweum “Pulling Your Own Strings” [producer] 2009

Brad Bietry Jazz Group “The Quest” [co-producer] 2006

Ricky Sweum “Tapestry Ichi” [producer, record, mix] 2002

Ricky Sweum “Nascent Adventures 1996” [producer] 1996

Ricky Sweum “New Freedom Music” [producer] 1995


Ricky has used the following gear for over a decade:

Mouthpiece: Ted Klum FocusTone™ Handcrafted Solid Silver 7
Mouthpiece: Metal Otto Link 7 refaced by Adam Niewood
Neck: KB Saxophone Necks Vanguard Brass C-69
Reeds: Vandoren Java Red Box 3′s

Mouthpiece: Ted Klum VersiTone Acoustimer Hand-Finished Resin 6
Reeds: Vandoren ZZ 3′s

P. Mauriat PMSS-86UL
Mouthpiece: Ted Klum Classic Hard Rubber 6
Reeds: Lerere Signature Series 3


For inquires about live performance, lessons, and music production services: