Ricky Hopkins and The Urban Band
Ricky Hopkins began playing saxophone at the age of 11, while attending Palms Middle School in Los Angeles. What began as a hobby quickly became a serious career. Ricky attended the world renewed Alexander Hamilton High School Academy of music in 1999. Under the direction of faculty Dan Taguchi, Greg Robinson, and Vance Miller, Hopkins quickly learned all about various styles of music, including, jazz and classical music. In 2003, Hopkins graduated from Hamilton High school and was admitted (on scholarship) to the University of California, Irvine, where he studied jazz under the direction of world renowned pianist, Kei Akagi (Miles Davis's last keyboardist).
In late 2005, Hopkins was hurt in a hate crime that left him with serious injuries to his mouth, forcing him into a month and a half long hiatus. Told he wouldn't be able to play saxophone again, he began writing music in the hope that he would be able to return. After a month, Hopkins decided to give it one last shot and picked up his horn just days before a school concert. He continues playing to this day.
Currently, Hopkins is performing with Grammy nominated trumpeter Dr. Bobby Rodriguez, as a guest artist with Jose Riso Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars, as well as performing with his own band, The Urban Band.
Ricky's influences include: John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Joshua Redman, Charlie Parker, Roy Hargrove, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, and Michael Brecker.
Ricky has performed with the following:
Bobby Rodriguez, Kei Akagi, Barbara Morrison, Niki Harris, Ernie Andrews, Jerry Steinholtz, Darek Oles, Sherman Ferguson, Billy Ray Cyrus, Pete Hopkins, Rickey Woodard, Justo Almario, Alex Acuna, Jose Riso Jazz on The Latin Side All Star Jazz Band.
AWARDS AND HONORS
2008- Guest Artist at the Long Beach Jazz Festival with José Rizo Jazz on the Latin Side All Star Big Band.
2008-Distinguished Arts Award, UC Irvine for his work on Tenor Saxophone.
2007 Bobby Rodriguez All Star Latin Jazz Band member.
2005-Performed with jazz legend Ernie Andrews.
2004 Downbeat Student Award winner. Ranked as the top young saxophonist nationwide.
2003 NAACP Los Angeles African Young Artist finalist.
2003 Monterey National high School Competition Best Tenor Soloist Winner. Chosen as the top tenor saxophone soloist at the Monterey National Jazz Competition.
2003 Monterey Jazz Festival Participant.
2003 Monterey National High School competition finalist.
2003 Los Angeles 10th District Music Scholarship winner.
2002 Monterey Jazz Festival Participant.
2002 Los Angeles 10th District Music Scholarship winner.