Ricky Sweum is an American jazz saxophonist, composer, educator, and music producer. He is known for his six solo albums, dozens of sideman albums, and his 16 years of performing with and leading US Air Force Bands. Ricky is currently the leader of the jazz big band at the U.S. Air Force Band of the Golden West in the Bay Area, California.
Ricky has performed and taught around the globe in places as wide-ranging as Carnegie Hall in New York City, remote Arctic Circle villages in Alaska, ancient Kabuki theaters in Japan, Muslim boarding schools in Indonesia, and cruise ships sailing through the Caribbean. He has played music for audiences in every US state, Canada, Australia, Japan, Korea, China, Thailand, Singapore, Mexico, and Indonesia.
Ricky holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Production from Berklee College of Music. He was the jazz band director at Colorado College from 2007-2011, and his top students have won full-ride scholarships to Berklee College of Music, Eastman School of Music, placements in all-state bands, and gone on to become successful musicians and educators.
Ricky 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” (2010). In 2012, his music was licensed as an accompanying CD to the Italian book “appunti da New York.” 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.”
Prior to joining the US Air Force Band in 2003, 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 Sound of Music,” was a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, played and studied with jazz luminaries, and absorbed the intense creative energy of the Big Apple.
Ricky is an official P. Mauriat saxophone endorsing artist.
Ricky wouldn’t be who he is today without the guidance of many excellent music teachers. Here’s an incomplete list in no particular order: Barry Deister, Steve Owen, Tom Gadbois, Gary Smulyan, Rick Margitza, Richard Tabnik, Charlie Banacos, Doug Scheuerell, Hal Crook, Huw Lloyd, Harvey Pittel, Michael Melinger, Joe Ingram, Carl Woideck, and Robyn Steiner Boling.
Ricky has used the following gear for over a decade:
TENOR SAX: P. Mauriat PMXT-66RUL
Mouthpiece: Metal Otto Link 7 refaced by Adam Niewood
Reeds: Vandoren Java Red Box 3′s
ALTO SAX: P. Mauriat PMXA-67RUL
Mouthpiece: Ted Klum VersiTone Acoustimer Hand-Finished Resin 6
Reeds: Vandoren ZZ 3′s
SOPRANO SAX: P. Mauriat PMSS-86UL
Mouthpiece: Vandoren V16 S6
Reeds: Rico Jazz Select 3 Soft/Medium
Click on albums to learn more.