Bassist Luther Hughes received his training at the University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music and Long Beach City College, earning his bachelor's degree from Cal State Long Beach. His teachers included Alex Cirin, Thomas Martin, Nat Gangursky, Eileen Strang and Sue Raney.
Luther is involved in the music business in a number of ways:
* As a musician, he currently leads The Cannon Ball / Coltrane Project as well as Luther Hughes & Friends: Remembering the Nat King Cole Trio and H.E.R.K.
* As a record producer and music publisher, Luther heads up Primrose Lane Music, which he founded in 2004.
* As an educator, Luther currently teaches at Cal State University in Fullerton Ca. and Saddleback College in Mission Viejo Ca. He has taught at Cal State University Long Beach Ca., Golden West College in Huntington Beach Ca., the Musicians Institute in Hollywood Ca., Rio Hondo College in Whittier Ca. and formerly served as the Southern California Regional Director for Bruce Forman's Jazz Masters Workshop.
Luther has played bass with some of the biggest names in jazz in a career spanning over 30 years. He has performed or recorded with jazz legends such as Gene Harris, Mundell Lowe, Joe Henderson, Carmen McRae, Willie Bobo, Horace Silver, Harold Land, Don Ellis, Joe Pass, Louis Bellson, Hampton Hawes and many more.
Having recorded and performed on stage, and for film and television scores, Luther has appeared as a band member on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Boston Legal.
Born and raised in Southern California, Joe Bagg started playing by ear on a toy xylophone at an early age. His parents quickly got him a piano teacher, and Joe took piano lessons for a few years after that. He discovered jazz while in college and immediately changed his major from computer science to music. Upon hearing that jazz
pianist Kenny Barron was teaching at Rutgers University in New Jersey, Joe enrolled in the graduate program there and obtained his Master’s degree, studying with Barron for two years. After a couple of years in the Army as a Russian linguist stationed in Germany, Joe moved back to the states to California, where he has been a fixture on the Los Angeles jazz scene. In 1997, Joe started playing the Hammond B-3 organ and has quickly become one of the most in-demand organists on the west coast.
Since arriving in L.A., Joe has played and/or recorded with most of the jazz musicians in Southern California, as well as a number of visiting musicians including: Bobby Hutcherson, Charles McPherson, Anthony Wilson, Seamus Blake, Brian Lynch, Arthur Blythe, Ernie Watts, Joe LaBarbara, Ralph Moore, Marvin "Smitty" Smith, Jeff Hamilton, Andy Simpkins, Pete Christlieb, Billy Higgins, Roy McCurdy, Ralph Penland, Tony Dumas, Dave Pike, Larry Koonse, Steve Tavaglione and many more.
After graduating from the Guitar Institute of Technology in 1980, guitarist Sam Shepherd moved to New York City where he briefly studied with Jim Hall and John Scofield. He began playing small clubs and connected with a network of musicians which eventually led to him to taking a job playing in a nightly show in New Orleans’ French Quarter. After moving with his wife to Dana Point in 1987, Sam began balancing a full-time career as a middle school teacher with a steady schedule of jazz gigs with the area’s top players. He quickly began a long association with the late legendary pianist Rex Thompson playing duos and trios at DiMario’s and subsequently Jack’s Restaurant/ Bar both located in Dana Point. Sam was featured on Rex Thompson’s CD recording entitled Blame it on My Youth which also featured the outstanding musicianship of bassist Benjamin May and drummer Paul Kriebich. Sam later joined Tom Morey’s (of boogie board fame) Laguna Jazz Quartet which held down, during a nine-year span, the Sunday jazz brunch at the Salt Creek Grille in Dana Point. It was during this time that Sam teamed up with longtime friends and musical collaborators bassist Jack Prather and pianist Leonard Thompson to produce Jack’s Shades CD highlighting the exquisite song writing talents of Mr. Prather. All the while Sam has fronted his own ensembles playing in various establishments dotting the South Orange County musical landscape.