Legendary drummer and producer, and now Ojai local, Simon Phillips, is one of the world’s most respected and celebrated drummers. A professional musician since the age of 12, his resume speaks for itself: he has toured and recorded extensively with artists including: Mick Jagger, The Who, Jeff Beck, Jack Bruce, Peter Gabriel, Joe Satriani, Tears for Fears, Judas Priest, Roxy Music, Michael Schenker, Nik Kershaw, Phd., Al DiMeola, 801, Pete Townshend, Russ Ballard, Robert Palmer, Stanley Clarke, The Pretenders, Jon Anderson, Whitesnake, and Dave Gilmour to name but a few. He was the drummer for Toto from1992 to 2014 when he left to pursue more jazz-fusion based projects, most notably, the Protocol series. Catch him in the latest of his jazz shows at the Deer Lodge before he goes on tour with Bill Evans in their joint Zen Amadeus group, and the Soulbop XL 15th Anniversary Tour, featuring himself, Bill Evans, Randy Brecker, Otmaro Ruiz and Teymur Phell.
Grammy-nominated Otmaro Ruiz from Venezuela is one of the most sought-after keyboardists for recording and has performed, recorded and toured extensively with such jazz giants as Diane Reeves, Herb Alpert, John McLaughlin, Jon Anderson and a galaxy of others. He conducts masterclasses all over the world, is a jazz piano faculty member at USC Thornton School of music, and a frequent guest clinician at Los Angeles Music Academy.
Alex Sills (guitar) is a Los Angeles-based guitarist and composer who, despite his youth, has already recorded and toured with such names as Steve Vai, Larry Koonse, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Virgil Donati, and Charlie Haden. His accolades include being a recipient of the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award and winner of the Rock Category in Lee Riteneur’s Six String Theory International Guitar Competition.
Local wunderkind, Jacob Scesney, is a young multi-instrumentalist best known for his saxophone work, and for making an age-defying, outsized splash on the scene. He plays regularly with Post-Modern Jukebox, The Legendary Mike Posner Band, Seal, and Casey Adams. He studied at California State University Northridge, where he was named the youngest lead alto in the history of the university’s Jazz A Band. He has also appeared on numerous tv shows including Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, Ellen, Dick Clark’s New Years Eve, TRL, Jimmy Kimmel, Glee, and as part of the house band of ‘The Voice.’
Jazz-Rock Bassist Benjamin J Shepherd is a New Zealand transplant and one of the busiest and most sought-after bassists in LA. He studied upright bass and bass guitar at California Institute of Arts under Charlie Haden, Alphonso Johnson and Darek Oles, and has worked on stage and in the studio with artists such as David Archuleta, Lee Ritenour, Mike Keneally, Mike Stern, Billy Childs, Patrice Rushen, Bob Sheppard, John Beasley, The Monk’estra, Virgil Donati, and many more.