Sean Rickman

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Sean Rickman
Rickman in 2016
Rickman in 2016
Background information
Also known asThe Rick
BornWashington, D.C.
GenresRock, rhythm and blues, jazz, funk
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, songwriter
Instrument(s)Drums, guitar, bass guitar, vocals
Years active1989–present
LabelsBMG/RCA, Warner Bros

Sean Rickman is an American musician from Washington, D.C. He has worked with Shawn Lane, Garaj Mahal, Dapp Theory, Steve Coleman, Maxwell, Meshell Ndegeocello, Blacksheep, Phil Upchurch, David Fiucynski and Screaming Headless Torsos, Kai Eckhardt, Anthony Tidd's Quite Sane, K'Alyn, Angela Bofill and George Duke.[1] Rickman was lead singer and drummer for Garaj Mahal from 2007 to 2011 and his rock band Big Mouth featuring guitarist Leonard Stevens. He was also featured alongside Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Marcus Miller on the Tribute to Miles 2011 tour.[2]

Rickman has toured and recorded with alto saxophonist Steve Coleman, bassist Kai Eckhardt, and guitarist Miles Okazaki. He releases self produced albums under the name "The Rick", performing vocals and all the instruments. He is the lead vocalist and guitarist of his power trio.

Early life[edit]

Sean Rickman was born in Georgetown, Washington, D.C., into a musical family. His father, Phil Upchurch, worked as a guitarist and bassist with Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, George Benson, Curtis Mayfield, Cannonball Adderley, John Lee Hooker, Grover Washington Jr., Lenny Breau, and Dizzy Gillespie. His mother, Renee Morris is a singer who played Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar by Andrew Lloyd Webber. His uncle, Joseph Morris, was a drummer with the Ohio University marching band who inspired Rickman's stick grip. Another uncle, Wayne Morris, was a DJ, who exposed him to a record collection without the bounds of genre. Rickman also enjoyed the work of Al Green and Funkadelic at an early age. Rickman exhibited innate musical abilities and was considered a musical prodigy with a remarkable sense of meter. Surrounded by the musical influence of his family, he is said to have begun playing drums around age one, as he began to learn to walk. Throughout primary school and high school, Sean excelled as a musician both intramurally and extramurally. He attended Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, in 1988. Taking a jazz improvisation class. [3]


In 1989, Rickman traveled from his hometown, Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, California, at the request of his father, who introduced him to owner of Third Stone Records and American cinematic music director, Richard Rudolph. Rudolph, known as "Dick" or to his friends and family as "Dickie" was the former husband of Minnie Riperton who Phil Upchurch, Rickman's father, had worked in the short-lived band, Rotary Connection in the 1960s. Rudolph released an album of moderate success with the band Saigon Kick. He later assigned Rickman to work with American record producer, Stewart Levine. Warner/Chappell Music, Inc. signed Rickman to a publishing deal and gave him an advance, used to cover an entertainment attorney, transportation and studio expenses during the remainder of his time in Los Angeles during the late 80s and early 90s. In the early months of 1992, Sean returned to Washington, D.C., and began performing with DC area reggae band Blacksheep. In the final months of 1992, Jamie Brown (owner of Sister2Sister Magazine) recommended Rickman to Kim Jenkins of Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. Rickman immediately relocated to Memphis and recorded a demo with producer Angelo Earl. Earl placed him with rising star Shawn Lane, whom Rickman instantly recalled from a Guitar Player Magazine article entitled "Unknown Greats" which he had read in years prior. Shawn Lane was sought out and signed by Jim Ed Norman, President of Warner Bros. Records in Nashville. Eventually the group toured the US with Robben Ford and released Shawn Lane's Powers of Ten album which was produced by the legendary Andy Johns. This was followed with the Tri Tone Fascination album release along with two instructional videos on REH video.[3] In 1993, Rickman again relocated to Los Angeles to perform with his father, veteran musician Phil Upchurch. They toured Europe and performed in the Southern California area. Producer Angelo Earl relocated to Los Angeles to work with him, but they both returned to their hometowns following a devastating 6.7 magnitude earthquake in January 1994. After living in Washington, D.C., for a short period of time, Angela Bofill hired him on the spot after watching him perform in Washington, D.C., with keyboardist Federico Gonzalez Peña and alto saxophonist Marshall Keys. In 1994–1996 Rickman began touring with Angela Bofill, and working on her album Love in Slow Motion. While in New York, drummer Gene Lake Jr suggested Rickman to Steve Coleman. After an audition including a host of veteran drummers, Coleman hired 25-year-old Rickman. For the years 1996 through 2002, Rickman toured and recorded four albums with Coleman.[3] In 1996 Rickman began touring with Maxwell.[1]

In 1999 Rickman joined and produced albums with the group Dapp Theory. The group featured pianist/composer Andy Milne. Sean recorded, produced and toured with the group for the albums New Age of Aquarius, Y'all Just Don't Know and Layers of Chance. He remained with Dapp Theory until 2007. In 2000 Rickman toured with Meshell Ndegeocello (with keyboardist Peña) as well as performing on her album, Cookie.[1] In 2002 the DVD entitled Compositional Drumming was released, followed by clinics and lessons in the US.[4] In 2007 Rickman joined the fusion band Garaj Mahal and remained with the group until 2011.[5]

In 2011 Rickman was selected as drummer for the Tribute To Miles 2011 European tour featuring Marcus Miller, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.[2] In 2012 Rickman re-united with Steve Coleman, which released Functional Arrhythmias. Later after continued touring, college workshops and residencies, Coleman's band Five Elements performed and recorded at the legendary Village Vanguard in New York City releasing Live At The Village Vanguard Vol 1 featuring Rickman's blistering skill set on drums.

In 2012 Rickman released his first solo album One under his professional name "The Rick". The self produced CD One features original material with Rickman on lead and background vocals, bass, lead and rhythm guitars, as well as drums. In 2013 Rickman launched his HD Video Lessons Website. In 2014 Rickman launched his solo artist Music Website In 2016, Rickman released his second solo albu Zoom. In 2015 he joined guitarist Miles Okazaki in the group Trickster and released Trickster (2016) and The Sky Below (2019).


As sideman[edit]

With Steve Coleman

  • Genesis & the Opening of the Way (BMG/RCA, 1998)
  • Sonic Language of Myth Believing, Learning, Knowing (BMG/RCA, 1999)
  • The Ascension to Light (BMG/RCA, 2000)
  • Alternate Dimension Series I (Label Bleu, 2002)
  • Resistance Is Futile (Label Bleu, 2002)
  • On the Rising of the 64 Paths (Label Bleu, 2003)]
  • Functional Arrhythmias (Pi, 2013)
  • Live at the Village Vanguard Vol. 1 (Pi, 2018)
  • Live at the Village Vanguard Vol. 2 (Pi, 2021)

With Shawn Lane

With others


  • 2002: Sean Rickman – Compositional Drumming DVD/CD Set
  • 1992: Shawn Lane – Power Licks (REH Video)
  • 1992: Shawn Lane – Power Solos (REH Video)[6]


  1. ^ a b c Drummer World,
  2. ^ a b North Sea Jazz,
  3. ^ a b c Andrew Lentz, "Sean The Rick Rickman of Garaj Mahal", DRUM! Magazine, Enter Music Publishing, June 2010, p. 17
  4. ^ All About Jazz,
  5. ^ Robin Tolleson, "Garaj Mahal & Fareed Haque", Modern Drummer Magazine, Modern Drummer Publications, Inc., September 2010, p. 90
  6. ^ All Music,

External links[edit]