Biography

Ricky Exton was born in Cleveland, Ohio on November 8, 1977. At the age of 5, he took notice of his brothers interest in music and had a chance to see his first concert. This concert was the first step in the direction of music.

By the age of 8, he became interested in the drums along with his brother. So they both started to take drum lessons within the Jazz style. The lessons seemedto be quite confusing and Ricky eventually gave up on those lessons. However, he was beginning to broaden his horizons with new music, which was played on the radio. Now, even though Ricky stopped the drum lessons, he continued to practice on his father’s drumset. At the same time, he discovered his natural singing ability. By the age of twelve, after playing drums and singing in the school band and choir for a few years, he went to see a band of musicians that were friends of the family. The guys in the band had heard that he could sing, so they asked him up on stage to sing a tune with the them. Afterward, they were quite amazed. A few weeks later, Ricky got his first phone call for a recording session.

Although Exton realized his vocal ability, he decided to direct his effort to his true passion, the drums. After about 6 years of studying with drum instructor, Bob McKee, by the end of high school he received a scholarship for a two-year Jazz studies program as a drum principal at Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) in Cleveland, Ohio. During his first year of college he performed with a Classic-Rock/Blues band outside of school which lasted a short time. Also while attending Tri-C, among the many great musicians Ricky has been introduced to and has performed with, was Jazz drumming legend Louie Bellson.

In a photo of the two, Louie Bellson dedicated the picture saying “To Ricky, a wonderful artist!”

After attending Tri-C’s Jazz Studies program, Exton continued his career at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., where he earned a Baccalaureate in Professional Music. In the Winter of 2003, he joined the Cleveland based Hard Rock band HYDRA which lasted about a year. Hydra opened for national and international bands like Soil, Living Colour, Collective Soul, and Nightwish.

Mr. Exton’s performance venues include Jazz festivals, concerts, television appearances, private, and corporate events. He has performed with Wynton Marsalis, Rufus Reid, Lou Rawls, Cyrus Chestnut, Joanne Brackeen, Kim Nazarian, Linda Presgrave, and international guitar virtuoso Neil Zaza. In addition, Ricky is an active session musician recording in studios from the east to the west coast.

Currently, Exton is very active in the North East Ohio music scene.  He currently holds the drum throne in Ernie Krivda’s Fat Tuesday Big Band, as well as with Lou Armagno’s Sinatra Selects, Sophisticated Swing, The Archie McElrath Quartet, and Mark Russo’s Jazz Initiative.

Some albums Ricky can be heard on:

DichotomyRicky ExtonMark BoichCherry RedDebbie GiffordOikos-EnsembleMike PetroneMatt Skitzki TrioLou Armagno - Sinatra Selects

 

 

 

 

 

Musicians/ groups Ricky has performed with include but are not limited to:

 

Adam Ross
Archie McElrath
A Swing & a Miss (Erin Kufel)
Bedford Church of the Nazarene Praise Team
Beth Carver
Better Brother’s Trio
Black Tie Trio
Bob Buschow Octet
Brian Exton
Bucky Pizzarelli
Butch Armstrong
Catwalk Blue
Clarence Clemmons
Cuyahoga Community College Jazz Studies Faculty
Clyde Douglas & the Masters of the New Millenium
Cyrus Chestnut
Debbie Gifford
Derek Dryg & Dichotomy
Dominick Farinacci
Eddie Baccus Sr.
Erin Kufel
Ernie Krivda
Evelyn Wright
Frankie Star
Hydra
Jacked Up
James Weidman
Jason Stolarik
Jay Ashby (producer/ trombonist)
Jay Epstein Trio
Jeremiah Birnbaum
Joe Brunetti
Joe Hunter Trio
John Bamber
Kenny Davis
Ken Peplowski
Kim Nazarian (New York Voices)
Kristine Jackson
Kristy Spirko Trio
Lamar Gaines
Linda Presgrave
Lounge Kitty
Lou Rawls
Marcus Belgrave
Mark Boich
Mark Petrie
Mark Russo
Matt Skitzki
Mike Petrone Trio
Monika Herzig
Neil Zaza
Night Coach Big Band
Ottis & the Shoreway Saints
Peter Domingez
RICKY EXTON (various size groups)
Ricky G. Garcia
Rodney Whitiker
Rufus Reid
Sam Ramirez
Scott Abramson
Scott Hamilton
Shirley Cook
Sophisticated Swing
Stealing Heather
Steve Coleman
Swank Motel
Swing & a Miss
Swingtime Bigband
Tera Johnson
The Acoustic Thing
Wess Anderson
Wynton Marsalis
Zaza (sang background vox- for their album – Party with the Big Boys)

The list goes on and I sincerely apologize if I’ve missed any names. If your name appears incorrectly in this list please notify me A.S.A.P. so we can correct this.