worked in New Orleans during the heyday of the French
Quarter, during the mid 1970s. In the first five blocks
of Bourbon Street there were fifteen full-time jazz bands.
Rick, 23 years old at the time, was thrilled to be playing
music with so many great musicians and working six nights
began his first formal lessons at age 12 with a retired
big band musician, Mr. Reader. Gumming the tenor sax that
had been his mainstay throughout the big band days, Mr.
Reader gave Rick a lesson in the blues ''before anything
else.” This grounding in the traditions of the music
would lead Rick on his lifelong musical path. Rick eventually
went on to more formal studies in music at Philadelphia's
prestigious Curtis Institute of Music and at North Texas
State University, eventually making his move to New Orleans.
New Orleans Rick continued to gain valuable experience
playing in the bands of Snookum Russell and Wallace Davenport
at the Paddock Lounge, and with June Gardner, Nick Gagliardi,
Milton Ziedrich, and Thomas Jefferson at the Famous Door.
With Thomas Jefferson, Rick had the privilege of playing
during the day-time slot at the Famous Door
from noon to five, six days a week, for 14 months. Jefferson’s
music greatly influenced Rick, especially his singing,
and Rick developed an appreciation for musicians who could
sing and play an instrument. It was purely inspirational
eventually moved to New York City to refine and broaden
his playing. He furthered his formal training in clarinet
and voice and started leading a quartet, leading to performance
opportunities in New York, Cleveland, and Miami. He also
maintained a lengthy engagement in Atlantic City and toured
to Europe, South America and the Pacific. Rick’s
concerts include those given at the United Nations, University
of Donetsk, Ukraine and the Kiev Opera House. Rick has
also written songs for major movies and is the subject
of a documentary film, When the Clarinet Swings.