Ricky Sebastian is one of the premier musicians and music instructors in the world today. Born in Opelousas, Louisiana, he started taking drum lessons at the age of eight and excelled at an accelerated rate due to the tutelage of two great band directors: Carl DeLeo and Carl Schexnayder. Ricky spent years as the section leader for the drum line in every school he attended into college. He also started piano studies at the age of 17 while in college. He attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana on a full scholarship and later attended Berklee College of Music in Boston on a partial scholarship. Ricky returned to New Orleans in 1976 and started working professionally with all the great musicians in every musical genre that the city had to offer. In the next six years, he gained experience playing different styles of music such as Jazz, Afro-Cuban, Traditional New Orleans music, Carnival music, Brazilian, Reggea, Calypso, Funk, Rock, R&B, Cajun, and Zydeco. After exhausting his musical possibilities in New Orleans, Ricky decided to move to New York City in 1983 as most of his musical idols lived there. Over the following 18 years, Ricky built a career as an in demand recording and touring artist with a who’s who in Jazz, Latin, Brazilian, Funk, New Orleans and Louisiana music, Fusion, and the list goes on. He moved back to New Orleans in 1998 and was the head percussion instructor at the University of New Orleans under the direction of Ellis Marsalis.
He’s released his first CD as a leader in 2001 entitled “The Spirit Within” on STR Digital Records featuring the likes of Donald Harrison Jr., Bill Summers, Steve Masakowski, Randy Brecker, and Peter Martin. He has also released a drum set instruction book/CD entitled “Independence on the Drum Set”, published by Hal Leonard in 2005. He is an active clinician for Zildjian cymbals, Pearl Drums, LP percussion, Remo drumheads, Audix Microphones, and Pro-Mark drumsticks.
Ricky has also taught private lessons and group classes (many of which he implemented and created the course material) for the infamous “Drummer’s Collective”, and “The New School for Social Research”, both located in New York City.
Currently an instructor at the University of New Orleans, Ricky has spearheaded “The World Music Ensemble” and “The UNO Percussion Ensemble”. In both classes, Ricky writes much of the music that each ensemble performs. He is also on the faculty of the Heritage School of
Music in New Orleans.
Rick has performed with:
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown
David "Fathead" Newman
Blood, Sweat, & Tears
Donald Harrison Jr
Los Hombres Calientes
Leon "Kid Chocolate" Brown
Album Credits are as follows:
Ron Cuccia and the Jazz Poetry Group
Steve Masakowski - "Mars" & "What it Was"
Ramsey McClean - "History Makes Every Moment"
Exuma - "Exuma Universal"
Delmar Brown - "Bushrock - State of Mind"
Lawrence Seiberth - "Shadow Love" & "Heartstings"
Gil Evans - "Color of Money Soundtrack"
Herbie Mann - "Opal Essence", "Caminho de Casa" , "Peace Pieces" , "Live at the Blue Note - 65th Birthday Celebration",
Emily Remler - "This is Me"
Tribute to Emily Remler - "Just Friends Vol. 1 & 2”
Steve Barta - “Blue River”
Alex Foster - “Beginnings...Goodbye”
Bill O’Connell - “Signature” & “Lost Voices”
Charles Fambrough - “Blues at Bradleys” & “City Tribes”
Adela Dalto - “A Brazilian Affair” & “Papa Boco”
Jack Lee - “Magnolia Blossom”
Mark Bingham - “I Passed for Human”
Mary Wilson - “Rhythm Romance”
Daryll Dobson - “The Mind Electric”
Tania Maria - “Outrageous”, “No Comment”, “Live in Europe”, "Happiness", "Outrageously Wild"
Rusty Cloud - “Walkin’ the Night”
Nneena Freelon - “Listen”
Norman Hedman - “Flight of the Spirit”
Cornell Dupree - “Boppin’ Blues”
Manhattan Reggea Unit - “Come Spring”
Luiz Simas - “Recipe for Rhythm”
Prime Crime - “Animal Rites”
Dianne Ponzio - “Day In – Day Out”
John Lucien - “Endless Love”
Harry Belafonte - “Harry Belafonte & Friends”
Blood, Sweat, & Tears - “Bloodlines”
Steve Sacks - “First Dream”
Cubanismo - “Mardi Gras Mambo “
Los Hombres Calientes - “Vol 3, New Congo Square”, “Vol. 4, Vodou Dance”, and “Vol. 5, Carnival”
Samira Evans - “Give me a Moment”
Les Go - (Maate Keita, Awa Sangho, Alama Kante) “Dan Gna”
Ricky Sebastian - “The Spirit Within”
Bernadette Brown - “Love Life”
Troi Bechet - “Vo-Du Bleu”
Romero Lubambo - “ Rio de Janeiro Underground”
Harold Battiste - "Lagniappe, The Second 50 Years"
Herbie Mann/Phil Woods - "Beyond Brooklyn"
George Porter's Joyride - "Searching for a Joyride"
Thiago De Mello - "Essential Thiago De Mello"
Donald Harrison Jr. - "Modern Jazz Archive"
Jeff Albert - "Albert-Ankrum Project"
Leon "Kid Chocolate" Brown - "Chocolate City"
NOVA NOLA - "Wetland"
Education \ Teaching Experience
Began studying snare drum at age eight. Throughout junior and senior high school, studied classical percussion winning many All State, All Parish, and Sight-reading awards. Began playing drum set at fifteen years old. Attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana (classical theory, composition, drums) and Berklee College of Music (drums, arranging, jazz harmony). Ricky has been an instructor at the world renowned Drummers Collective and also the New School, both located in New York City. He has also taught at the University of New Orleans for five years. Ricky has held clinics in universities and music stores throughout the United States. He has also held clinics and master classes at venues in Europe and Japan. He has recently been appearing as guest artist with university percussion ensembles throughout the world. Ricky is currently performing with B.J.Crosby and Tania Maria, and has released a new drum method book entitled “Independence on the Drum Set”.
Video and Television Appearances
Appeared on PBS, 1996/1997, with Harry Belafonte.
Appeared on various television broadcasts in Europe and Japan, 1991 - 1998 with Tania Maria.
Appeared on various television broadcasts in Europe, Japan, and the US, 1989 -1998 with Herbie Mann.
Appeared on various television broadcasts and NPR in Europe and the US, 1996 -1998 with Dianne Reeves.
Laser Disc recording with Charles Fambrough, 1994, entitled “Blues at Bradleys”.
Appeared on Louisiana Jukebox with his own group, “ Cayenne” 2002.
Appeared on Louisiana Jukebox with “Los Hombres Calientes” 2002.
Appeared on “Los Hombres Calientes Live” DVD recorded at the House of Blues, New Orleans 2003.
Author of “ Independence on the Drum Set”, published by Hal Leonard, released January 20th, 2006.
Go to the "Video Clips" page to see clinics & performances with Ricky.