Sometimes we can forget the talent we’ve got right under our noses or in front of our eyes here at Jacksonville University — or in this case, right next to our ears.
John W. Ricci, Director of Jazz Studies at JU, will perform with his John Ricci Quartet from 5 to 6:30 p.m. today, May 24, on the “Groovin’ Stage” at Hemming Plaza during this year’s Jacksonville Jazz Festival (see full schedule here).
Today’s Jack section in The Florida Times-Union describes the quartet’s music as “Hard Bop”: This is sometimes referred to as funky jazz. The tempos and harmonies are more relaxed than bop. Gospel-tinged harmonies were used often. See the article here.
Below is a bio of our own Prof. Ricci. For more on him, visit http://www.johnriccimusic.com.
John Ricci, Saxophonist/Composer/Jazz Educator
John has been a performer, jazz educator, composer, and clinician in the North Florida area for over 12 years. He attended the jazz studies program at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, where he was mentored directly by internationally recognized saxophonist and jazz pedagogue Jerry Coker and former Art Blakey Jazz Messenger Donald Brown. He then attended Florida State University, earning a Masters of Music in Jazz Studies under a teaching assistantship. In that time he performed with Blue Note Trumpeter Marcus Printup and at Preservation Hall in New Orleans. He has received numerous awards, including a Downbeat Magazine award in 1995. John has since performed with a myriad of top recording artists and regularly in numerous club dates spanning from New York to Savannah, He’s performed locally as a tenor saxophone soloist with the Jacksonville Symphony Pops Orchestra, the Four Tops, The Temptations, and in festivals including Chijazz Festival in Singapore, as a regular performer in the Jacksonville Jazz Festival, the Savannah Jazz Festival, as a guest artist with pianist/composer Donald Brown in the Knoxville Jazz Festival, and was invited to headline the Inaugural Jacksonville jazz Series with his own quartet. Most recently, John was invited to open for guitarist phenom Julian Lage, performing his own music with his jazz trio in the prestigious Riverside Fine Arts Concert Series.
“John Ricci is the one of the most outstanding musicians I’ve had the privilege of working with. As a saxophonist, composer, and bandleader, he so deeply embodies the music he creates and with such clarity, honesty, and soul. His music is fresh and exciting, inviting the listener as well as the players into a truly new and inspiring journey. I love his music and am grateful to have experienced it both as a listener and as fellow player.” — Julian Lage
John has also appeared as a sideman and arranger on several projects, among them Angel Roman’s Mambo Blue CD Con Fuego, recorded on violinist-singer composer Rebecca Zapen’s first CD release, Hummingbird, and as a featured performer on Arranger/Composer Mica Bethea’s debut CD/DVD The Mica Bethea Big Band.
John’s CD “Holding Time” received high critical acclaim, and is a debut release of some of his own very inspired compositions and arrangements and includes some of the finest musicians in the Southeast. And in January 2009, John was judged the winner of the jazz song category of the 8th Annual Independent Music Awards.
John has taught at the University of North Florida assisting legendary saxophonist Bunky Green, and is now Director of Jazz Studies at Jacksonville University. He can be found performing regularly in the Northeast Florida region.