Ricky Rico Baker
Leader/Guitar & Vocals
Ricky started the first band in high school in St. Louis, Missouri. The band had excellent musicians and showed a great deal of promise. However, everything ended when he decided to attend college at San Fransisco State University and play baseball.
Rico stated,“I can always play music, but I need to play ball at this time in my life and pursue a college degree.”
After his season at SFSU, Ricky was drafted by the Cleveland Indians and went on to play for that team, the Chicago Cubs, and the San Diego Padres organizations. After moving to Chicago and deciding not to accept the San Diego Padres offer in spring training, Ricky finished college at UIC and returned to playing music. After several years with a number of established bands, Ricky felt the time had come to find the best combination of musicians to resurrect Rico! It all came together in 1993.
Influences: Santana, Hendrix, John Coltrane, Stanley Clarke, Herbie Hancock, James Brown, Albert King, Led Zeppelin, Stevie Wonder, Bob Marley, Miles Davis, Digital Underground.
Personal Interests: Spending time with family and friends, working out and staying fit. Listening to a wide range of music, reading, watching a good movie.
Ricky Rico Baker uses Paul Reed Smith guitars exclusively. For more information about Paul Reed Smith guitars visit www.prsguitars.com He also uses Bludotone Amps. For more information, visit http://www.bludotone.com.
Born in East Chicago, Indiana, Raymond Roque grew up in a house of music. Hip Hop influences from his older brother, and latin/rock music from his father, who was a founding member of the Santana tribute band “Soundz of Santana”. At the age of 15, he began taking stage along side his father as their permanent drummer for the next several years. Aside from performing latin music from the 70s and 80s, Ray also plays with bands in the Metal genre. All his music influences are combined to give an open style of drumming to RICO.
Congas/Percussion & Vocals
Jose brings over 16 years of Latin percussion experience to the band. He appeared with legendary and luminary Tito Puente and Armando Peraza. His musical background is so extensive, he can play anything from jazz to thrash, Latin to funk and back to the blues.
Joe Rendon uses LP congas exclusively.
For more information about LP congas click here.
Bass & Vocals
I was born in San Luis Potosi Mexico on April 7, 1959, I came to the United States with my parents in 1960 where we lived on the near west side of Chicago. I began playing guitar when one of my cousins left his guitar at our house, I must have been around 10 years old, I played that guitar till I had blisters on my fingers. I began to listen to WLS radio where you could hear rock, soul, r-n-b, Motown, Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, the Who. Wesley Coleman was my neighbor and he inspired me to play the bass guitar along with my cousin Esteban Tobias. Both of them were in a band called The Meditations. I remember hearing them play at block parties and standing next to my cousins bass amp. That was it for me I was hooked.
My parents bought me my first bass guitar when I was 12. It was my cousins Gibson EBO. From there Wesley thought me how to play my first bass line which was Sam & Dave’s “Hold on I’m coming”. At the time I didn’t have a bass amp so I plugged it in into anything that was amplified like my parents brand new Zenith stereo. Boom goes the speakers. Eventually I got a bass amp and started playing with friends from the neighborhood. My first band was The Little Meditations (of course) and we played music from Santana, Jackson Five, James Brown and what we call now oldies, we played at block parties, local school talent shows. I also played in the Precious Blood Church choir with Father Michael Pfleger. My second band was Natural Sound made up of friends from high school. We were, yes, a disco band. We enjoyed marginal success opening up for Tierra at the Congress Hotel in 1980 but eventually disco was dead and I moved on to play with Abraxas, Amigos, Contraband, Chicago Skyway, Riley, Zeus, Charmer, The Core, Galileo, Ground Control, Tony Alvarez Band, Nobody’s Business. Where as of today I’ve been playing with Rico! and The Lizard Kings. Is that enough ? Yes, that’s enough ! Hey Joe did I miss anybody ? I would like to say thanks to my Mom ‘n Dad for letting me and my friends jam at our house. They never said no.
Timbales/Perc & Vocals
Sizzlin’ salsa, Latin and Santana is a finely honed format for Jaime, who played with the 911 Salsa Orchestra, Alegante and Amigos. Jaime has a wide following in “Sweet Home Chicago” and throughout cabarets and clubs in the United States.
Devin Thompson was born in Joliet, Illinois. Growing up in a family steeped in gospel, rhythm and blues and jazz, Devin took to music at an early age. Devin sang his first solo in church at the age of five. At 12 years of age, he joined his older brother’s band, Mezzo Forte, honing his skills of singing and playing the trumpet. Devin went on to do backup work for R. Kelly, Steve Cole, Chante Savage and Martha Walsh of the Weather Girls fame. To date, Devin has recorded numerous jingles, a CD entitled, Club Zero, and was featured on the soundtrack for the Disney movie, Holes.
A child of Nigerian, West African parents, Ugochi combines elements of her afrobeat influence with jazz, house, reggae and soul aesthetics to further establish a sound, “AfroSoul.”
Ugochi’s sound has been described as “lively, energetic music that makes your feet move and heart think. Her latest album soon to be released, Love Shot, is no exception. Ugochi is a multidisciplinary artist. She has written a one woman show about her families immigrant experience called, Season’s of Separation in 2018. She has also written poems that have been honored in “A Storm Between Two Fingers,” an international anthology, as well as the “Golden Shovel Anthology.” She has also been saluted by internationally renowned literary organizations like Lynk Reach & Apples and Snakes in the UK. Ugochi has shared the stage with several established artists such as Common, Eric Benet, John Legend, Femi Kuti, Edwin McCain, Seun Kuti, Maxi Priest, Malik Yusef, Umphrey’s McGee, Richie Stephens, Blitz the Ambassador, Yellowman, J. Ivy, Queen Ifrika, Luciano, Wayna, Femi Kuti, Shaggy, Richie Stephens, Queen Ifrika, Vieux Farka Toure, Tony Allen, Bushman, Fatoumata Diawara, Capelton, Baby Cham, Wayne Wonder and Stephen Marley, King Sunny Ade, Me’Schell Ndegeocello.
Ugochi’s music, rich with poetic harmonies and uplifting ideas, have taken her to many countries in Europe, including Paris, Amsterdam, London, Leeds, Italy as well as Nigeria, Ghana, Brasil, Jamaica and Cuba. In 2003, legendary Chicago diva Chaka Khan saluted the emerging artist as “someone who will have a long life in the music business,” when she was selected as a semi-finalist on Star Search. Ugochi also wrote the only original song for the critically acclaimed “Red Hot and Riot Compilation,” in honor of the late Fela Ransome Kuti and global AIDS awareness. The song, So Be It, was performed by R&B star Kelis. In 2009, Ugochi and the Afro Soul Ensemble were featured on the Africa Channel, Soundtracks at Red Kiva. This hour long, televised performance aired internationally and was one of the highlights of the show series, according to the networks producers.
A star with her own thing, Ugochi has linked up with Rico to further explore and expand her Afro sound.
Benjamin Lewis is at the age of 41 a twenty year veteran of the Chicago music scene, where he currently makes his home. A graduate of Indiana University, he has performed and recorded with numerous Chicago artists, including vocalists Jackie Allen and Grazyna Auguscik. He has also performed with such artists as drummer Vinnie Calieuta and saxophonist Steve Cole, among others.
In 1999 he toured for five weeks as a Jazz Ambassador to West Africa with his brother Matt and guitarist Neal Alger. This trip involved performing at embassy concerts in Mali, Guinea, Togo, Cameroon and Burkina Faso, as well as conducting jazz clinics with local musicians. In September 2004 he completed another Jazz Ambassador tour to East Asia.
Incluences : Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, Keith Jarret, Art Tatum