Saturday September 16, 2023 7pm
“Rico Is one of the few original voices emerging. His musicianship and passion have forged to create an original voice we will joyfully be hearing more from in the future!” – Vincent Herring
Rico Jones is steadily becoming one of the top young saxophonists of his generation. A Colorado native, Rico has been deeply compelled by artistic expression since early childhood. Before music, Rico taught himself how to draw. His creativity similarly lent itself to music as he started his path as a musician by learning to play by ear. Rico grew up in Denver performing under the guidance of local artists such as Paul Romaine, Greg Gisbert, Eric Gunnison, Art Lande, Brad Goode and Vlad Girshevich. As the years passed Rico became enthralled by black American musical art forms. Blues, and Jazz became a primary mode of expression for Jones and his ensembles. As he grew, his heritage as a Latino with indigenous roots became a focus for his artistic expressions.
He has performed as a leader with notable artists such as Dave Kikoski, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Matt Clohesy, Yasushi Nakimura, Ari Hoenig, Lage Lund, Kush Abaday, Joe Martin, Colin Stranahan, Rick Rosato, Rich Perry, Steven Feifke and many others.
In 2019 Rico Jones was awarded 1st prize in the Vandoren Emerging Artist competition. He later premiered a new big band composition written for him by Todd Bashore at the Music For All festival with Jazz Band of America. Rico was also chosen in 2019 to take part in the prestigious Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program at the Kennedy Center, and the 2019 JAS Aspen workshop. In October 2019 Rico performed his first international concert in Paris at Sunset/Sunside Jazz Club. In 2020 Rico competed in the first ever Rudin Jazz Championship at Lincoln Center under the direction of Jon Faddis. Jones was also placed as a finalist in the North American Saxophone competition.
As a senior in college he taught masterclasses at high schools and colleges across Colorado as an artist for the Vandoren company.
Rico and two of his ensembles also received a total of 4 Downbeat awards for the 2020 edition of their SDA program including “Jazz Soloist”, “Small Jazz Ensemble” and two awards in the “Latin Jazz” category.
He graduated from his undergrad at the Manhattan School of Music, receiving the William H. Borden award for outstanding achievement in jazz in May of 2020 and was granted a full scholarship to their masters program.
In 2021 Rico Received two more DBA awards from Downbeat Magazine, “Jazz Soloist” and “Jazz Arrangement”.
In April Rico performed at the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre with his band CounterCurrent.
Rico Jones later led his electric band CounterCurrent at the 2021 Telluride Jazz Fest along-side Robert Glasper, Allison Miller, Christian Sands, Preservation Hall Band, and many others.