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#131 Kevin Ricard- Percussionist for American Idol, The Tonight Show, Kenny Loggins & More!

#131 Kevin Ricard- Percussionist for American Idol, The Tonight Show, Kenny Loggins & More!

This episode is sponsored by Sweetwater. It is also Drum Month over there and you can enter to win THIS DRUM KIT as well as other prizes by going over to: Sweetwater (dot) com (slash) Giveaway.


This week’s episode features Kevin Ricard. Kevin’s versatility and musicality are the most important things he brings to each recording or performance. He brings a sense of groove to Rock, Jazz, Pop, and R&B styles, and adds authenticity to Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian styles. Whether it’s the Brazilian groove of Sergio Mendes, the timeless music of Stevie Wonder and Lionel Richie, or playing with legends like Steve Winwood, Kenny Loggins, or the late, great Celia Cruz, Kevin shows he can move smoothly between diverse styles and why he’s in constant demand. Kevin's long list of recording credits includes Joe Zawinul, B.B. King, Natalie Cole, Wayne Shorter, Marc Anthony, Kenny Loggins, Juan Gabriel, Queen Latifah, Enrique Iglesias, Jill Scott, Take 6 and numerous others.

Kevin has also performed on a number of movie scores including The Hangover, The Pink Panther 1 & 2, The Great Debaters, Traitor, Speed, The Adams Family Values, A Bugs Life, Woman On Top and many more. Kevin's professional television career includes being a member of the house bands for Dancing with the Stars, America's Got Talent, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and American Idol.

Educational spotlight for this week…..

How to record a basic keyboard demo using Logic Pro. Marcos brings up Logic “Lite” also known as Logic Express. The free Pro Tools DAW is called Pro Tools First. The DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) that Marcos recommends (for free) is Abelton live.

Product review for this week…..

Wrist Grips, which are compression wraps for musicians. We just received them to try out, so we will keep you posted on how they work for us.

Iconic Recording for this week…..

America, the Beautiful” performed by Ray Charles. This is the DnP PLAYLIST you can use for your BBQ, Cookout, Picnic or Pool Party (NSFW).

Music News for this week…..


If you would like to submit music to get nominated for a Grammy, some of the deadlines you should know are approaching. Instagram may be the new place to discover new music. Ticketmaster Hit With $3.2 Million Fine for Deceptive Trade Practices. Amoeba Music building set to be replaced. Amoeba has said that its goal for the new location, wherever it ends up, is to include a marijuana dispensary as well. You can check out Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson’s Instagram page for the posts and stories Marcos mentions. Big Machine Sells to Scooter Braun for a Cool $300 Million — Taylor Swift Calls the Deal ‘My Worst Case Scenario’. Halsey Steps In to Defend Taylor Swift. Justin Bieber Lambasts Taylor Swift’s ‘Bullying’ of Scooter Braun.

The song leading into the interview is “What a Fool Believes” performed live by Kenny Loggins featuring Michael McDonald.

The award show Damon and Marcos bring up is the 2017 Grammys where Kevin was playing percussion for a Bee Gees Tribute (audio, no video).

Kevin’s family is from Louisiana, but he grew up in Santa Monica. Some of the music from his youth, inspired by his older brothers was “My Favorite Things” performed by John Coltrane, Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria, Tito Puente, Willie Bobo, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Richard Berry & The Meters among others. The music from his parent’s collection was Herb Alpert, Sergio Mendes & Brazil ‘66, Johnny Mathis and more!


By the time Middle School was approaching, Earth, Wind and Fire was creeping into the rotation and Kevin got a Kalimba (sometimes called a Mbira) for Christmas.

Kevin talks about moving to San Jose with his brother and meeting some musicians. One of those being good at Maracas. Which is the National instrument of Venezuela. Then he was back down playing around Venice Beach and started to play with different bands. One of those being La Típica Antillana.

Thanks to Munyungo Jackson, Kevin got a call to play with the Temptations.

Shout-out to Hector “Bucky” Andrande who has been mentioned several times on various podcasts.

Kevin mentions playing with Quentin Dennard and Lance Lee on the Temptations gig, and the importance of drummers knowing how to play with a percussionist.

Some of the touring discography for Kevin includes The Temptations, Dianne Reeves, Dave Koz, Clare Fischer (also Salsa Picante), Cecilia Noel & the Wild Clams, Kenny Loggins, Sergio Mendes, Lionel Ritchie, James Ingram, Patti Austin, Bette Midler, and then the late 90s started a lot of TV shows from Motown Live, American Idol, Dancing with the Stars, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and then almost every award show. From there he started playing on film scores as well. In addition to touring, Kevin as recorded on a ton of albums too.


The music Kevin recommends for any percussionist to check out is that by Dori Caymmi featuring Paulinho de Costa on percussion. Also, Groupo Folklorico. If you’re interested in seeing what Paulinho has recorded on, here is a partial list. The two Groupo Folklorico albums are “Concepts in Unity” (mentioned previous) and “Lo Dice Todo”. Another group influential to Kevin is Cojunto Libre. George Delgado is one of Kevin’s favorite percussionists. Tipica 73 is another band that comes up for it’s groove.

The music Kevin referred to with Armando Perazza on bongos from the 1940s playing with Slim Gaillard is a song called Bongo City. You can hear it here…….

He also mentions Chocolate, Conjunto Chappottín y Sus Estrellas, & changui music.

Damon brings up New Orleans post emancipation proclamation and congo square. Kevin mentions some of the Hatian slaves leaving and landing in eastern Cuba and starting the Tumba Francesca music and others heading right to New Orleans.

Be on the lookout for the movie in 2020 called “Just Mercy” that Kevin mentions. Damon brings up the Trevor Noah book called “Born a Crime

If you don’t know what is going on in Sudan, READ THIS and then GO HELP.

You can catch Kevin at the beginning of August in Winston-Salem, NC performing with Dorian Holley and the Let’s Get It On Marvin Gaye Tribute. Kevin talks about the various percussion parts in “Inner City Blues” as well as “Mercy Mercy Me" and “Right On'“. Damon mentions the Miller Machine for mounting a triangle.

Here’s an example of breaking down one of the Marvin Gaye tracks.

Kevin uses Latin Percussion instruments, Vic Firth sticks and mallets, Sabian Cymbals, Roland US electronics, Gibraltar Hardware, & Native Instruments.

The song leading out of the interview is “Lucky7Mambo” performed by Lucky 7 Mambo.

#132 Obed Calvaire- Drummer for the SFJAZZ Collective and More!

#132 Obed Calvaire- Drummer for the SFJAZZ Collective and More!

#130 Nick D'Virgilio- Drummer, Specialist at Sweetwater & More!

#130 Nick D'Virgilio- Drummer, Specialist at Sweetwater & More!