Jason Ricci

Jason Ricci born in Portland Maine USA is an award winning and decorated american singer and harmonica player.  In his youth, Jason’s mother brought him to many live Blues shows in his early teens to witness performances  of James Cotton, Charlie Musslewhite, Eddie Clearwater, Rod Piazza, Buckwheat Zydeco, Marcia Ball and many more. After studying at the feet of local New England harmonica players and blues musicians Jason moved west to Idaho to attend College. In Boise he found mentorship under Blues Club owner and Hammond B3 player Ken Harris. The relationship between Harris and Ricci, the lure of music and nightlife quickly replaced Jason’s formal studies.  Ken Harris gave Ricci a low paying job, 10 dollars a night, working at the bar to allow the underage teen a legal pass to hear and play music.  Ken Harris and music patron Dara Longabardi would aid an 18 year old Jason at “The Blues Bouquet” to perform with the likes of Sam Lay, Norton Buffalo, Eddie Shaw, Mark Hummel, Mel Solomon, Smokey Wilson and many more. Harmonica Player and Blues Singer Madison Slim spent many hours teaching Ricci. Jason would join his first band in Boise with Blues Singer Cyndie Lee and Streetwise.

In 1995 Ricci moved to Memphis Tennessee to be near and informally study with Johnny Winter sideman, harmonica player and singer Pat Ramsey. Ramsey would become Jason’s mentor on and off stage and a surrogate father for many years until his death. Also in 1995, a 21 year old Jason would win the Sonny Boy Blues Society Contest in Helena Arkansas, Michael Burks took third place in that same contest. By 22 Ricci was living in Potts Camp Mississippi with Junior Kimbrough’s oldest son David Malone Kimbrough. David took the young man in and fed and clothed him offering him the comforts of country life, blues music and better living, temporarily rescuing the young man from dangerous hard drugs and temptations of the bigger city of Memphis. Every Sunday for over a year Ricci played Juke Joints and small clubs in Oxford, Senatobia and Holly Springs MS with David Kimbrough, RL Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. His pay was usually a half pint of corn liquor, thirty five dollars and a dime bag of marijuana but the love and mentorship of the Kimbrough family was priceless. Ricci would cut his first record in 1995 “Jason Ricci” (self Titled) for Blues Music Award Winner Billy Gibson’s label North Magnolia Music featuring Earl Hookers drummer Bobby Little and other prominent Memphis musicians. A year later for the same label Jason recorded his second release “Down at the Juke” with Kent “Kinny” Kimbrough, Eric Deaton, Enrico Crivellaro and many more notable musicians. Ricci would return home to Maine a few times and perform with his friend of the same age, the now legendary guitarist and singer Nick Curran.

By 1997 troubles with drugs and alcohol would result in Ricci spending a year in jail in Florida.  After his release in 1998, while working two day jobs, Jason went on to enter and win the Mars Music National Harmonica Contest beating out hundreds of other harmonica players. After spending three years in Florida playing with Keith Brown, Mark Telsca and local South Florida blues hero “Famous” Frank Ward Jason would join New Orleans’s national touring outfit Big Al and The Heavy Weights. With Big Al Ricci would tour the country, playing clubs and big festivals and appear on national television for the first time with two appearances on The Emeril Legassi show.

In 2002 Ricci started his own nationally touring band “New Blood“. New Blood toured 300 days a year all over North America and Europe for 10 years straight.  In 2004 Jason ricci came out as gay/bisexual or “queer” as he prefers to be called and caused controversery and attention, some negative at the time for Jason and his career but served as a milestone for the LGBTQ Community in the Blues Music world and beyond.

After a few independent CD’s, in 2006 New Blood would ultimately sign with Randy Chortkoff’s now famed record label Delta Groove releasing two records “Rocket Number Nine” and “Done with the Devil” the later of which would be nominated for a 2010 Blues Music Award for “Best Blues Rock Album”.

In 2010 Jason was also nominated and won The Blues Music Award for “Best Harmonica Player”.  Jason would also go on to record and tour Europe with Blues Rock legend Walter Trout.

After ten years of musical success, health and continuous sobriety in 2010 Ricci fell prey to addiction, mental illness and a break up with his long term partner pianist and web designer Brady Mills. This was followed by another arrest in 2011 and another year-long period of incarceration, this time in an Indiana jail. After his release in 2012 Ricci would cut two critically well received albums and tour with celebrated New York City singer songwriter JJ Appleton. In addition to recording and touring with Appleton by 2013 Ricci also formed a new band “Jason Ricci and The Bad Kind” with New Orleans guitarist John Lisi. Signing with The Eller Soul Label Jason Ricci and The Bad Kind would cut two records “Approved By Snakes” and “My Chops are Rolling“. Working with Appleton, The Bad Kind and occasional tours with Alligator recording artist and Chicago Blues icon Nick Moss would mark the start of a successful return. By 2015 Ricci was nominated and won another Blues Music Award for Best Harmonica.  Also in 2015 Jason Ricci was invited to induct The Paul Butterfield Blues Band into the Rock and Roll hall of Fame. At the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Ricci would appear televised on HBO for twelve and half million viewers performing Butterfields song “Born In Chicago” with Zac Brown, Rage Against The Machine’s Tom Morello, Paul Shaffer, Anton Fig, Felicia Collins and Willie Weeks. The same yearJason Ricci would go on to work with and record on Johnny Winter’s Grammy Award Winning recording “Step Back” as a featured performer alongside  Eric Clapton, Joe Bonamassa, Dr John, Brian Setzer, Paul Nelson, Joe Perry, Ben Harper, Billy Gibbons and more.

In 2016 Jason Ricci continued to tour, teach music and formed the Harmonica Collective a instructional harmonica teaching convention with celebrated performer, harmonica scholar, teacher, recording artist and published author Winslow Yerxa.  In 2017 Jason Ricci would win the S.P.A.H. (Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica) Bernie Bray Award for “Harmonica Player of the Year”.

2017 to the present finds Jason Ricci touring with his band Jason Ricci and The Bad Kind as well with JJ Aplleton. Additionally Ricci can be found frequently playing locally in New Orleans, nationally and abroad with New Orleans pianist and organist icon and Kenny Wayne Shepherd sideman Joe Krown in a Jazz, Funk, Blues and New Orleans music based outfit. Recently Ricci has begun collaborating, touring and recording with acclaimed guitarist and singer JP Soars in his newest super band “The Gypy Blues Revue featuring Anne Harris and Jason Ricci” The Gypsy Blues Revue fuses the music of Traditional Blues, Americana and French Gypsy Jazz. Jason Ricci has been also on multiple tours and performances with “Mark Hummel’s Blues Harmonica Blowout” project performing with Curtis Salgado, Charlie Musslewhite, Duke Robillard, Charlie Baty, Anson Funderburgh, Wes Star, Sugar Ray Norcia, Lazy Lester, RW Grigsby, Aki Kumar, Howard Levy, Corky Siegel, Son of Dave, Jerry Portnoy, Rick Estrin and more.

Today Jason Ricci is living in his beloved city of New Orleans, sober, healthy and touring with his many projects, recording and teaching music, Jason is married to Boston singer, guitarist, songwriter Kaitlin Dibble who tours and records with Jason Ricci and The Bad Kind. In addition to touring, recording and teaching Ricci works developing various signature harmonica effects pedals and his signature harmonica microphone for The Lone Wolf Blues Company. Jason Ricci is additionally endorsed by Blue Moon Harmonicas and Harp Gear Amplifiers. Jason has an extensive online presence including a very popular YouTube channel featuring hundreds of free harmonica lessons, product reviews, addiction awareness videos, stories, interviews and more.

Ricci has appeared as a guest harmonica player on albums with Johnny Winter, Ana Popovic, Joe Louis Walker, Cedric Burnside, Walter Trout, Mike Zito, JP Soars, Nick Moss, Peter Karp, Nick Curran, The Mannish Boys, Too Slim and The Tail Draggers, Walter Trout and many many more. Ricci has toured or professionally played shows with John Fohl, The Iguanas, Damon Fowler, Pappa Mali, Walter Trout, Nick Moss, JP Soars, Mike Zito, Eric Johanson, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Anders Osborne, Joe Krown and more…‍

Jason Ricci is one of the most influential, recorded, celebrated, interviewed and famous harmonica players working in the world today.

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