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Ricotti played in the National Youth Jazz Orchestra while a teenager, then attended Trinity College of Music (1967–70). He worked with Neil Ardley (1968–71), Dave Gelly, Graham Collier, Mike Gibbs (1969–72), Stan Tracey (1970), Harry Beckett (1970–72), Norma Winstone (1971), Gordon Beck (1973–74), Hans Zimmer.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Ricotti led his own jazz quartet. A line-up of the band featuring the guitarist Chris Spedding, bassist Chris Laurence and drummer Bryan Spring recorded the album Our Point of View, released in July 1969. In 1971, in partnership with bassist Mike de Albuquerque, he released the album First Wind (as 'Ricotti and Albuquerque').
In the 1980s he played with Chris Laurence and John Taylor in the group Paragonne, and played with Beck again in 1984. After this he worked primarily as a studio musician. Ricotti has recorded with artists such as Status Quo, Freddie Mercury, Pet Shop Boys, Swing Out Sister, Art of Noise, The Style Council, Belle and Sebastian, Clannad, Barclay James Harvest, Meat Loaf, Elkie Brooks, Rick Wakeman, Oasis, Tina Turner, Aztec Camera, Thomas Anders, Alphaville and Mark Knopfler.
Between 1984 and 1987 Ricotti wrote the soundtrack music for Yorkshire Television's The Beiderbecke Trilogy, in the style of Bix Beiderbecke. The music was performed by his band, the Frank Ricotti All Stars, and featured Kenny Baker on cornet. A soundtrack album was released in 1988. Later, in June 1993, it peaked at No. 73 in the UK Albums Chart. Ricotti and his band made a cameo appearance in the final series, playing in a jazz club.
Ricotti is known to play congas, bongos, vibraphone, tambourine, shaker, tubular bells, marimba, glockenspiel, xylophone, snare drum, triangle, timpani, timbales, tabla, sleigh bells, drums, gong and assorted other percussion, including ethnic and Latin.
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An audio sample of "Lo and Behold", from the 1971 album First Wind
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- Our Point of View (CBS Realm Jazz: 52668, 1969) 
- First Wind (Ricotti & Albuquerque), (with Mike de Albuquerque), (Pegasus: PEG 2, 1971)
With Oliver Nelson
With Status Quo
- "Frank Ricotti | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
- "Ricotti* & Albuquerque* - First Wind". Discogs. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
- Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 463. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
- "Kill To Get Crimson". MarkKnopfler.com. Retrieved 2017-04-26.
- "Frank Ricotti Quartet - Our Point Of View". discogs.com. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
- Simon Adams, "Frank Ricotti". Grove Jazz online.
- John Chilton, Who's Who of British Jazz.
- Frank Ricotti at discogs.com