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Red Hill Quartet

About Red Hill Quartet
The Red Hill Quartet is an eclectic Los Angeles-based jazz group comprised of top musicians from varied backgrounds who have come together to create the music they want to play. The members bring the influences of African, Indian, and Middle Eastern music while being solidly entrenched in the jazz tradition. This unique blend, coupled with an all original repertoire, has generated enthusiastic response from traditional jazz audiences as well as those who never considered themselves jazz fans. For this reason, the band has been very successful in reaching younger music fans.

The Red Hill Quartet originated in the 1990s as a quintet called Red Hill and formed by saxophonist Harvey Lane and vibes player Ricky Luther. Harvey and Ricky had played together for years and wanted to form a band that would expand conventional thinking on what a jazz band could be. The band brought together the talents of some excellent musicians with very different backgrounds. Percussionist Frank Bennett had an impressive resume as a jazz drummer, classical Indian percussionist, film score composer and orchestrator, and educator. Bill Torma was highly respected acoustic bass player, and Frank’s son Anand was a teenage prodigy on violin and electric mandacello, an instrument he designed.

Red Hill Quartet bandThe band played jazz clubs and concerts in the Los Angeles area and released one album for Aim Records called Mixed Messages. When Frank had to leave the group due to other commitments, Frank recommended multi-talented Leonice Shinneman as his replacement. Like Frank, Leonice has an extensive background in Indian percussion as well as jazz drumming and brings a great deal of rhythmic fire and variety to the band. Leonice plays tabla, as well as other Indian and African percussion, on a number of the band’s compositions. Leonice brought in bassist Mark London Sims, an old friend and colleague from his days at the California Institute of the Arts. Mark is a great bass player and has the ability to hold the time together no matter how complex the piece, giving Leonice the freedom to float the rhythm on top of the overall sound.

The band has been playing clubs, concerts (including a solo concert in Pershing Square for the L.A. Department of Cultural Affairs), and festivals in the Los Angeles area and has 3 CDs currently available on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, and other online retailers. Their latest CD, Analog Man in a Digital World is getting airplay on internet radio and has generated hundreds of new fans around the world.

The band is based in Echo Park, an old hilly area northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Over the years, it has been home to many artists, musicians, and social and political activists. During the 1920s and 30s, the press came to call it “Red Hill” because of the perceived subversive activities of its residents. Over the years it has continued to nurture the spirit of art in all its humanistic expressions. The band is privileged to be based in this unique setting and draws its name and inspiration from the area and its artistic environment.

Harvey Lane

Harvey Lane’s love of music started at age 8 when his father, a Benny Goodman fan, gave him a clarinet for his birthday. By the time he was in high school, he was playing with local jazz and blues bands, using an altered ID to perform at clubs he was too young to legally enter. While attending UCLA, he met vibes player Ricky Luther and developed a musical bond that has lasted throughout their careers in music.

After college, Harvey started an experimental eleven piece free jazz ensemble called The New World Jazz Company which featured extended interplay between different subsets of the band. The band created a great deal of interest and they played every Sunday at the legendary Topanga Corral for almost 2 years. Harvey was also an original member of the band Fusion, one of the first groups to incorporate influences from multiple musical genres. The band released one album, Border Town, for Atlantic/Atco.

In the late 1970s, Harvey and Ricky, along with guitarist Joe Gaeta, started a band called Luther Lane. The band was notable for featuring originals that morphed into other originals, giving the effect of extended compositions which would go off in multiple directions. The band released one album for the Varese Sarabande label titled Other Places. The album approached each side (this was an LP) as a continuous piece and did quite well. There are currently 3 sealed copies available on Ebay and the album is still referenced in a number of jazz blogs.

Harvey Lane playsIn the 90s, Harvey, along with Ricky, drummer Frank Bennett, bassist Bill Torma, and Frank’s son Anand, a teenage prodigy on violin and mandacello, formed a band called Red Hill. The band called upon the varied musical backgrounds of its members to create a unique musical synthesis. One album, entitled Mixed Messages was released on Aim Records. When Bill unexpectedly passed away and Frank’s film composition commitments became too demanding, the band reformed with its current rhythm section.

Harvey’s goal has always been to become the best saxophone player he can be and to create exciting, emotional music that transcends conventional thinking about what jazz can be.

Music is therapy for the soul.

Ricky favorite quote, especially after the third drink

Ricky LutherHis entire life, even before he was born, Ricky Luther was exposed to swinging music from his dad who played trumpet and rehearsed with his Navy band Salty Seven in their living room and his mother who was a jazz singer.

Ricky Luther started playing piano at Southern California coffee houses in the early sixties. This led to jamming with lots of blues musicians from Texas to New Orleans including playing in the oldest bar in the country, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop on Bourbon St.

Art happens when a concrete form transcends into an abstraction or metaphor.

Ricky's favorite quote after the fourth drink
Ricky Luther playsRicky is best known for writing music filled with melody and interesting chord changes that become formats for the group’s musical exploration. He’s also known to spout off about his love of the twelve tone scale and that the sensation of tone represents a profound sense of continuity to the sub-conscious, but don't get him started unless you’re ready for a long conversation. However, no matter how abstract he gets, Ricky's songs end up being kind of pretty and engaging.

Mark London SimsMark London Sims’ passion is creating music. Inspired by his grandmother, a gospel pianist, Mark has filled his life with joyous musical opportunities. A native of Southern California, he grew up on soul music from the 60s and 70s. While his parents were at work, he’d spin Motown records on his grandmother’s record player. At 11, his big chance came to play guitar when his uncle needed money to go to Grambling College in Louisiana. He sold Mark an electric guitar for eleven dollars. Unable to afford lessons, Mark bought a couple of guitar books and taught himself music.

From that point until now, Mark’s relationship with music has been ever-growing stronger and unbroken. While an undergraduate at the University California of Santa Barbara, Mark started a couple of jazz groups for which he composed music. At the same time he started playing bass because he couldn't find a bass player for his groups. It was then while practicing in his dorm room that he fell in love with the bass.

After graduating at the top of his class with a Master’s degree in Jazz Composition from California Institute of the Arts, Mark based himself in Los Angeles where he enjoys playing with a multitude of awe-inspiring musicians. From Brazilian to Americana, rock to African music, blues to gospel and jazz to reggae, Mark has continuously worked as a bassist and composer for nearly two decades.

Mark London Sims on BassWith an unyielding commitment to live music, Mark has played shows throughout Europe, North America and Asia. Last summer his schedule included the Montreux Jazz and Afro Pfingsten world music festivals in Switzerland, the Summerjam Reggae Festival in Germany and a performance in Greenland. He has worked with Don Cherry (Ornette Coleman), Joe Higgs (Bob Marley), Stevie Wonder, Albert "Tootie" Heath (Heath Brothers, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock), Charles Neville (Neville Bros), Percy Sledge, Ralph McDonald, Robert Greenidge (Jimmy Buffet), The Watts Prophets, Badialy Cissoko, The Mighty Sparrow, Floyd Domino (Asleep at the Wheel), Calypso Rose, Ken "Professor" Philmore, Aziz Faye, Sonja Marie. The Eels, Nels Cline (Wilco), Dave Wakeling (English Beat), Ben Harper, Mark Nauseef (Thin Lizzy), L. Shankar, Rocky Dawuni and The Untouchables.

Mark also appears on over 50 recordings. He has written, recorded and produced two albums under his name, Strange Groove Picnic and Limited Expression. Several others bear his original compositions. One such record, Dark was honored as one of Billboard Magazine's the top 30 Classic Progressive Music recordings of the 20th Century.

Watching the waves from a ship to and from Japan and looking out of the car window on multiple trips across the USA, in my childhood gave me the space to study time itself, and the complexity and harmonics of rhythm order and chaos. Subdividing and predicting the instant objects would pass, or their relationship to others in time consumed the hours of my youth. It all comes down to time. That is why I went into drumming, Jazz, Indian classical and African. All the great rhythm traditions. When I drum, I sing the melody of the arrow of time.

Leonice Shinneman

Leonice ShinnemanLeonice Shinneman is recognized as the foremost American disciple of the legendary North Indian tabla and pakhawaj master Pandit Taranath Rao. Broadening his expertise in the Farukkhabad style of tabla performance, Leonice continued his studies with Pandit Ravi Bellare. Leonice's original research on calculations within the tala system has shed new light on the art of improvising rhythmic resolutions in real-time. Lessons with renowned South Indian Ghatam master T.H. Subash Chandran have led to his mastery of Karnatic percussion. Ustad Alla Rakha, T.R. Harihara Sarma, Swapan Chaudhuri and T.R. Rajamani were also his teachers.

Leonice has given tabla and pakhawaj solos in Europe, India, Mexico and the U.S.A. and has performed Indian classical music in concert with Amiya Dasgupta, L. Shankar, Ganasaraswathy, Zakir Hussain and Rajeev Taranath. Numerous concerts with Ghanaian master drummers Alfred and Kobla Ladzekpo have given Leonice extensive knowledge of African Ewe style. He has recorded and worked with Frank Zappa, Howard Levi, Gino Vannelli, Kiss, Kula Shaker and is heard on the SWR 4cd set New Jazz Meeting 2000, Leonice composed and performed music for the theatrical premiere of Naga Mandala, and has played on several prominent film scores including Drugstore Cowboy and Aliens 3.

Leonice Shimmeman playsHe was co-founder of the world music group Dark whose recordings Dark and Tamna Voda were produced by CMP records. Combining East Indian and West African Rhythms, Leonice performs utilizing an innovative drum kit of his own design. He holds several U.S. patents for original percussion equipment and received his BFA and MFA from California Institute of the Arts, where he also served on the faculty.

Anand BennettAnand Bennett is the grand-son of Indian musician Dr. S. Ramanathan and the inventor of Contraconcept, a system for tuning and designing stringed instruments in various scale lengths. While primarily a jazz musician, Indian Carnatic, Macedonian folk and western music influence him to make his improvising a rich tapestry.

Anand divides his time performing and recording instruments from the Contraconcept production line while teaching several gifted protoges playing in town. His mentors are Dave Carpenter, Peter Erskine, and Miroslav Tadic. He has performed in NYC with Jack DeJohnette, Geri Allen and Dave Holland and has toured with Lionel Richie and Toni Braxton.

Upcoming Shows

Fall Into Jazz With The Red Hill Quartet

Red Hill Quartet at Colombo's Sept 6th, 2014

Fall is coming and so is The Red Hill Quartet to Colombo's Italian Steakhouse. Listen to Red Hill's original jazz consisting of an eclectic blend of influences from Indian, African and Middle Eastern music as well as traditional jazz.

Colombo's is an old school Italian steakhouse offering delicious food, legendary drinks and an intimate atmosphere, perfect for listening to live jazz. And for non meat eaters there are plenty of food options for you too.

No cover, but reservations are recommended and should be made for 8:30pm or after. Be sure to mention you are coming to see The Red Hill Quartet so you get the best seating for watching the show.

By Phone: 323.254.9138

When: Saturday, Sept 6th
Time: 7pm-10pm
Location: Colombo's Italian Steakhouse, 1833 Colorado Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90041
Admission: Free, but reservations are recommended

Red Hill Quartet Starts Monthly Residency at Byblos

Red Hill Quartet at Byblos May 25th, 2014

The response to the Red Hill Quartet's first show at Byblos Restaurant was so enthusiastic that Red Hill has been asked to come back. Starting May 25th, the quartet will be performing the last Sunday of every month. Each show will be unique with fresh takes on songs and sometimes special guests. Here's a clip from their first show.

When: Sunday, May 25th
Time: 7pm-10pm
Location: Byblos Restaurant, 1964 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025
Admission: $10 cover/ cash only

Byblos Restaurant offers authentic Lebanese cuisine in an elegant atmosphere. To make dinner reservations call 310.475.9558.

Red Hill Quartet Invades Genghis Cohen

Red Hill Quartet Invades Genghis Cohen May 17th, 2014

For the first time the Red Hill Quartet will perform at Genghis Cohen. The intimate setting is a perfect place to listen Red Hill's entrancing jazz. This eclectic group of top notch musicians blend their varied backgrounds to create music that mixes the influences of African, Indian, and Middle Eastern music with traditional jazz. The quartet is comprised of Harvey Lane on sax, Mark London Sims on bass, Ricky Luther on vibes and Leonice Shinneman on drums and tabla.

Date: Saturday, May 17th
Time: 7:30pm
Location: Genghis Cohen Bar and Restaurant, 740 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, California 90046
Admission: $10 cover/ cash only

Genghis Cohen offers fresh Chinese food with no MSG. Try this delicious cuisine before or after Red Hill's show. Reservations are suggested. 323.653.0640

Red Hill Quartet's First Show of 2014

Red Hill Quartet Live at Blybos

On Sunday, March 30th come listen to live jazz by the Red Hill Quartet, an eclectic jazz group comprised of top musicians who bring the influences of African, Indian, and Middle Eastern music to traditional jazz. This unique blend, coupled with an all original repertoire, has generated enthusiastic response from traditional jazz audiences as well as those who never considered themselves jazz fans.

Date: Sunday, March 30th
Time: 7-10pm (doors open at 6:30pm)
Where: Byblos Restaurant, 1964 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90025
Tickets: $10 (buy at the door)

Byblos Restaurant offers authentic Lebanese cuisine in an elegant atmosphere. To make dinner reservations call 310.475.9558.

Red Hill Quartet Joins The Cusp Association

Red Hill Quartet

The Cusp Association is happy to welcome the Red Hill Quartet, an eclectic Los Angeles-based jazz group comprised of top musicians from varied backgrounds who have come together to create the music they want to play. The members bring the influences of African, Indian, and Middle Eastern music while being solidly entrenched in the jazz tradition. This unique blend, coupled with an all original repertoire, has generated enthusiastic response from traditional jazz audiences as well as those who never considered themselves jazz fans.