This quartet has years of experience working together and playing throughout Northern California, and it shows!
Kurt Ribak (pronounced REE-bok, like the shoes) showed a penchant early on for finding rhythm and music where he could. HisÂ parents were not players but lovers of music. Ancestors include a female leader of an all-male band (â€œStella and her Fellasâ€) and Simon Rodia, the creator of the Watts Towers, a major work of folk art.Â When Kurt was about four years old his mother found him dancing to the sound of the dishwasher. More conventional early musical experiences included playing â€˜cello and singing in the San Francisco Boys Chorus, which performed with the San Francisco Symphony and Opera.
A Berkeley, CA native, Kurt attended UC Berkeley, where he continued playing classical music and played in the UC Jazz Ensembles. Kurt met pianist Greg Sankovich there and reconnected with his fellow San Francisco Boys Chorus alumnus, saxophonist Lincoln Adler. Kurt continues to play with Greg and Lincoln.
After a battle with tendinitis, Kurt won scholarships to Berklee College of Music. He graduated with top honors after practicing obsessively. He also spent many hours transcribing and absorbing the styles of bassists Paul Chambers, Ray Brown, and Charles Mingus and dissecting the compositions and arrangements of Nigerian bandleader Fela Kuti and R&B giant James Brown.
At Berklee College of Music Kurt learned he loved composition and songwriting. His early tunes reflect a strong Thelonious Monk influence, while others reflect his love of the great bassist/composer/bandleader Charles Mingus, whose music he studied intensively at Berklee. Later tunes bring to mind Horace Silver, Lee Morgan, and the South African composer Abdullah Ibrahim.
Kurt says what heâ€™s trying for in his music is â€œCharles Mingus meets The Meters. They go to Duke Ellingtonâ€™s house to jam, and every so often Cachao and Thelonious Monk sit in.â€
Kurt leads the Kurt Ribak Quartet and has worked as a musician sharing the stage with circus performers, preachers and fire-breathing strippers, but never all three at once. Kurt has performed in venues ranging from Yoshi’s to a club where someone stashed a loaded .45 in his bass bag. Kurt rarely plays there any more.
In June 2012 Kurt was in an auto accident, seriously injuring his left hand and forearm. A dozen operations and over three years later he is still recovering but has resumed playing, surprising some of his surgeons. He notes, â€œItâ€™s a tough way to find out, but when I was hurt I learned how many people loved me, cared about me. They say it takes a village to raise a child. It also takes a community to heal someone.â€
Kurt Ribak recently released his fourth recording as a leader, titled “I Got One More!” The Kurt Ribak Trio has three CDs out, all of which enjoy airplay on KCSM-FM, KPFA, KZSC, KKUP, San Diego’s Jazz 88, PRI and other jazz stations. He has led his group at venues throughout the greater Bay Area and beyond, including sold-out appearances at Yoshiâ€™s.
Our events are put on under the umbrella of the nonprofit Bird & Beckett Cultural Legacy Project (the "BBCLP"). That's how we fund our ambitious schedule of 300 or so concerts and literary events every year.
The BBCLP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit...
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Gigging musicians! You have nothing to lose but your lack of a collective voice to achieve fair wages for your work!
The IMA can be a conduit for you, if you join in to make it work.
Read more here - Andy Gilbert's Feb 25 article about the IMA from KQED's site