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Carmen Ramos Chandler
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CSUN Locksmith by Day, Northridge Alum ‘Jams’ By Night

(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., Feb. 19, 2007) — Some first-rate saxophone music accompanied vocalist Taylor Hicks during a recent appearance on NBC’s "The Tonight Show," hosted by Jay Leno. Saxophonist Lance Rickman, a member of Cal State Northridge’s Physical Plant Management staff, gave special zest to the "American Idol" winner’s version of "Do I Make You Proud?"

The CSUN music alum said Leno was proud enough to have him on his show twice, in 2005 and 2006.

"[He] was very complimentary of my sax playing. I should have asked him for a full-time job playing on the show," Rickman joked. "The coolest part is that I was allowed to improvise the sax part live at the ‘Tonight Show’ taping."

Rickman also played during Hicks’ July 2006 performance on ABC’s "Good Morning America" show, a hit with the audience despite technical difficulties and unexpected wet weather.

"We performed outdoors at a park and three minutes after we finished our last song, it poured rain. It was humorous watching some 500 people, our audience, scurrying for cover," Rickman laughed.

A locksmith by day, the Granada Hills resident often is time-challenged. "Sometimes it’s tough to do both, especially after working a 10-hour day at CSUN, but somehow I’m able to find the energy," Rickman said.

Longtime friend Andy Weiner said Rickman’s love for music can be traced back to his days as a CSUN student. Weiner, fellow CSUN alum and a keyboard player on the "American Idol" tour, recalled the "jam sessions in the dorms [until] three to four in the morning" that Rickman was known for organizing, sessions that ended only when the dorm supervisor appeared.

Rickman—skilled on soprano, alto and tenor sax as well as clarinet, flute and piccolo—plays with five different bands. His credits include performances with singers Tony Bennett, Cab Calloway, Charo, Jimmy Heath, Jack Jones, Al Martino, Diane Shuur, Jerry Vale and Nancy Wilson.

Weiner attributes his friend’s success to his unique sound. "He sounds like a singer through his sax," says Weiner. "His tone …fills a whole room."

Rickman is working on his first CD. "I plan to perform music as long as my body allows me to," he said.

California State University, Northridge at 18111 Nordhoff Street, Northridge, CA 91330 / Phone: 818-677-1200 / © 2006 CSU Northridge