For The Tonight Show with Jay Leno house percussionist, Kevin Ricard versatility and musicality are the most important things he brings to each recording or performance. Whether its the Brazilian groove of Sergio Mendes, the timeless music of Stevie Wonder and Lionel Richie, or playing with legends like Steve Winwood, Kenny Loggins, and the late, great Celia Cruz, Kevin shows he can move smoothly between diverse styles and why he’s in constant demand. "I love the challenge and the excitement of switching gears between different musical situations." He brings a sense of groove to Rock, Jazz, Pop, and R&B styles, and adds authenticity to Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian styles.
Growing up in Santa Monica, California, Kevin listened to a variety of music. He lists his main percussion influences as Mongo Santamaria, Airto, Patato Valdez, John “Dandy” Rodriguez, Nana Vasconcelos, Tito Puente and Don Alias. His musical influences include Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Tipica 73, James Brown, Milton Nascimento, Muddy Waters and just about anything from the New Orleans lexicon.
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.
His most recent film work is for The Hangover 2, Tower Heist, and The Muppet Movie. Kevin is perhaps best known because of his constant presence on television. He was the percussionist on American Idol for many seasons both on camera and in the studio. He was also in the orchestra on Dancing With The Stars for the first three seasons. Kevin was also in the house band for Don’t Forget the Lyrics, along with working for two seasons of Americas Got Talent. You’ve heard him playing on many network and cable series such as King of Queens, Soul Food, and many more. He appears on many annual shows such as The Grammy Awards, The Image Awards, The TV Land Awards, An Evening of Stars, A Home for the Holidays, and VH-1 Divas.
Kevin describes The Tonight Show with Jay Leno gig as "the best job I've ever had in the music business." In addition to all this, Kevin co-leads Sambaguru, an original World Brazilian band fronted by vocalist Kátia Moraes. They have released four albums, the latest being “Tribo” which Kevin co-produced. “It’s the most fun I get to have playing music”, says Kevin about performing with the band. You can hear why at www.sambaguru.com
LP instruments provide Kevin with the different colors and sounds he needs. "I’ve been blessed with quality, and consistent work for a very long time and I depend on the quality instruments that LP provides in order to do what I do. They have variety and durability that no other company can provide. Whether I’m out on the road, performing live on TV or in the studio, I know my LP gear is going to be there for me.