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Red Hill Quartet: In Memoriam

Ricky Luther In Memoriam

Posted on February 20, 2017 with 0 comments
I first met Ricky at a party in 1963. We were both teenagers. I had never played with a vibes player before and I had never heard the kind of music he was playing. It was adventurous, melodic, and totally original. We became friends and played in every band together since then.

Ricky’s music is emotional, exuberant, unconventional, and compassionate, much like the man who created it. He would play with anyone, anywhere – from street corners to concerts just for the sheer joy of making music. The passion he felt for music was evident every time he played. Ricky’s consistently upbeat disposition, along with his unique approach to playing and composing, made rehearsals and gigs great fun. Being self-taught, his approach to music was totally his own and his musical conception provided much of the basis for the band’s music. We feel blessed that we had the opportunity to play with him for so many years. He will be greatly missed.

Ricky passed away in July, 2016 after a short but intense battle with lymphoma. As the Red Hill Quartet continues on, his musical legacy will always be a strong presence.

His original bio is included below.

The most prolific composer in the band, Ricky's unconventional compositions provide much of the canvas the band uses for its musical images. His driving solos and unique approach to harmony add a great deal of texture to the sound.

"Music is therapy for the soul." Ricky's favorite quote, especially after the third drink.

His entire life, even before he was born, Ricky 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 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 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.