Master Sergeant Ricky Sweum is a saxophonist, Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of The Commanders Jazz Ensemble, and Administrative Support Section Chief for the United States Air Force Band of the Golden West, Travis Air Force Base, California. Originally from Eugene, Oregon, his Air Force career began in 2003 with the USAF Band of the West at Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas. In 2005, MSgt Sweum won a position at the Premier USAF Academy Band in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he served as lead tenor saxophonist and Tour Manager for the Falconaires Jazz Band. In 2011, he was assigned to the USAF Band of the Pacific at Joint Base Richardson-Elemendorf, Anchorage, Alaska where he served as Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge and Music Director of the Greatlanders Jazz Band. In 2012, MSgt Sweum was assigned to the USAF Band of the Pacific-Asia where he served as Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge and Musical Director of the Pacific Showcase Jazz Band, was Section Chief of Operations, Section Chief of Administrative Support, and Section Chief of Publicity.
In addition to his Air Force duties, MSgt Sweum has recorded six solo albums, and licensed his music as an accompanying CD to the Italian published book, “appunti da New York” (2012). His recordings have risen to #2 on the CMJ radio charts, #97 on the JazzWeek charts, and been chosen by Denver radio station KUVO-FM’s “CD of the Month.” MSgt Sweum was featured in the Random House book, “The New Face of Jazz: An Intimate Look at Today’s Living Legends and the Artists of Tomorrow” (2010).
Prior to joining the Air Force, MSgt Sweum lived in New York City for 10 years. During this time, he attended William Paterson University, toured with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, toured with, “The Sound of Music,” was a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, and played and studied with jazz luminaries throughout the Big Apple.
MSgt Sweum is currently pursuing a Master of Music in Jazz Studies degree from the University of Arkansas at Monticello where he also serves as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Music Production from Berklee College of Music where he earned Summa Cum Laude. MSgt Sweum was the jazz band director at Colorado College from 2007-2011, and his top students have won full-ride scholarships to Berklee College of Music, Eastman School of Music, placements in all-state bands, and gone on to become successful musicians and educators.
2019 – Master of Music in Jazz Studies (in progress), University of Arkansas at Monticello, AR
2017 – Bachelor of Professional Studies in Music Production, Berklee College of Music, MA
2017 – USAF Senior Non-Commissioned Officer Academy
2016 – Associates in Applied Science Music, Community College of the Air Force
2008 – USAF Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, Peterson AFB, CO
2003 – Basic Military Training, Lackland AFB, TX
1996 – Jazz Studies, William Paterson University, NJ
Aug 2018 – Present, USAF Band of the Golden West, Travis AFB, CA
Aug 2012 – Jul 2018, USAF Band of the Pacific, Yokota AB, Japan
Jun 2011 – Jul 2012, USAF Band of Pacific, JB Elemendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, AK
Oct 2005 – Jun 2011, USAF Academy Band, Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs, CO
Aug 2003 – Oct 2005, USAF Band of the West, Lackland AFB, San Antonio, TX
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS
Colonel Finley R. Hamilton Outstanding Military Musician Award
Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs Communication Excellence Award
Meritorious Service Medal
Air Force Commendation Medal with three oak leaf clusters
Air Force Achievement Medal with two oak leaf clusters
Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION
Master Sergeant – 1 Aug 2014
Technical Sergeant – 3 Oct 2005
Airman First Class – 15 May 2004
Airman – 15 Jul 2003
(updated Aug 2019)