Sean Rickman

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Sean Rickman
Background information
Genres Jazz, pop, hard rock, jazz fusion, instrumental rock, blues rock, blues
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Drums, bass, electric guitar
Years active 1989–present
Labels BMG/RCA, Warner Bros. Records
Associated acts Shawn Lane, Dapp Theory, Garaj Mahal, Maxwell, George Clinton, Randy Brecker, George Duke, Steve Coleman
Notable instruments
Drums, Bass, Electric Guitar, Vocals

Sean Rickman (born October 16, 1970) is an American drummer, vocalist, guitarist, bassist, songwriter, producer and recording artist from Washington, DC.

He is best known for his work with Shawn Lane, Garaj Mahal, Dapp Theory, Steve Coleman, Maxwell, Meshell Ndegeocello, Blacksheep, Phil Upchurch, David Fiucynski & 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 2007–2011 and currently his DC 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]

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 legendary musicians including Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, B.B. King, George Benson, Curtis Mayfield, Cannonball Adderley, John Lee Hooker, Grover Washington, Jr., Lenny Breau and Dizzy Gillespie among many others.

Rickman's mother, Renee Morris is a singer, who among other things played the part of Mary Magdalene in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar.

His uncle, Joseph Morris, was a marching band drummer with Ohio University, who inspired Rickman's one-of-a-kind stick grip. Another uncle, Wayne Morris, was a DJ, who exposed him to a record collection without the bounds of genre. Rickman became inspired by 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, Rickman is said to have begun playing drums around age 1, as he began to learn to walk. Throughout primary school and high school, Sean excelled as a musician both intramurally and extramurally.[3]


In 1989, Rickman traveled from his hometown, Washington D.C., to Los Angeles, CA 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, TN. 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 Sony recording artist, Maxwell.[1]

In 1999, Rickman joined Cosmic Dapp Theory which was soon renamed 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, he toured with Meshell Ndegeocello (with keyboardist Peña) as well as performing on her album, Cookie.[1]

In 2002, his first 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 tour by Marcus Miller, featuring Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.[2]

In 2012, Rickman re-unites with Steve Coleman, records Functional Arrhythmias and continues to tour and record with the alto saxophonist.

In 2012, Rickman released his first solo CD One under his artist name "The Rick". The self produced CD One features all original material with Rickman on lead and background vocals, bass, lead and rhythm guitars, as well as drums. There are plans for many more upcoming CD releases under his artist name "The Rick" which he distributes through mainstream online vendors.

In 2013, Rickman launched his HD Video Lessons Website

In 2014, Rickman launched his solo artist Music Website


  • 1992: Shawn Lane – Powers of Ten (Warner Bros. Records)
  • 1996: Angela Bofill – Love in Slow Motion (Shanachie Entertainment Corp.)
  • 1998: Steve Coleman – Genesis & The Opening of the Way (BMG/RCA)
  • 1999: Steve Coleman – Sonic Language of Myth: Believing, Learning, Knowing (BMG/RCA)
  • 2000: Kai Eckhardt – Honour Simplicity, Respect the Flow (Naim)
  • 2000: Andy Milne – New Age of Aquarius (Contrology Records)
  • 2000: David Dyson – Soulmates (Three Keys Music)
  • 2000: Steve Coleman – The Ascension to Light (BMG/RCA)
  • 2001: Various Artists – ObliqSound Sampler (ObliqSound)
  • 2001: Shawn Lane – Powers of Ten Live! (King Japan)
  • 2001: Shawn Lane – Tri-Tone Fascination (Eye Reckon)
  • 2002: Me'Shell Ndegeocello – Cookie: The Anthropological Mixtape (Maverick)
  • 2002: Quite Sane – Child of Troubled Times (Coolhunter)
  • 2002: Steve Coleman – Alternate Dimension Series I (Label Bleu Records)
  • 2002: Steve Coleman – Resistance Is Futile (Label Bleu Records)
  • 2003: ObliqueSound – Obliqsound Remixes (ObliqSound)
  • 2003: Dapp Theory – Y'all Just Don't Know (Concord)
  • 2003: Steve Coleman – On the Rising of the 64 Paths (Label Bleu Records)
  • 2005: Various Artists – Mysterious Voyages: A Tribute to Weather Report (Tone Center)
  • 2008: Dapp Theory – Layers of Chance (Contrology/ObliqSound)
  • 2010: Garaj Mahal – More Mr. Nice Guy (Owl Studios)[6]
  • 2012: The Rick – One (Sick Music)
  • 2013: Steve Coleman – Functional Arrythmias (Pi Recordings)


External links[edit]


  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. ^ a b All Music,