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.
Now 36 years old, Hopkins has already performed with a line up of world class musicians including: Barbara Morrison, Ernie Andrews, Justo Almario, Charles Owens, Kei Akagi, Sherman Ferguson, Dwight Dreble, Darek Oles, Billy Ray Cyrus, Rickey Woodard, Joey Sellers, and Jose Riso's Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars. He maintains a variety of musical experiences having recently been a member of the jam band GrooveSession and progressive rock band Sixstep. He currently freelances and is a member of the supergroup "Sol Soiree". Hopkins also has recorded several solo records and was recently signed to the record label Return Records. He was also featured on the website Nerdist twice for the video "Stranger in My Town" and "Forceloose". The popular gif of a Demogordon playing saxophone was popularized after his saxophone solo.
Ricky's influences include: John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Joshua Redman, Charlie Parker, Roy Hargrove, Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine, and Michael Brecker.
Downbeat Student Award, best tenor saxophone solo (2004).
Outstanding Tenor Saxophone Solo, Monterey Jazz Festival
National High School Jazz Competition. Was chosen as the best
overall tenor saxophone soloist out of 12 highly regarded high
school jazz programs. (2003)
Ricky Hopkins Reinvents Jazz on Alter Ego
"Even though his inspiration and meaning for the songs are personal and cathartic for him, he wants listeners to find their unique meaning. Now that the creative process is over, he gives it to everyone else to enjoy.
It’s hard not to start moving your body and immersing yourself in the music and atmosphere it creates. Whether you love the saxophone, jazz, blues, or not, you’ll find something to appreciate when listening to this record.
It may just inspire you to start following this kind of jam. However, discovering talent like Ricky Hopkins is the best reward of all.