Saturday, May 30th – 8-11 pm
jazz club… when lights are low
Kurt Ribak Quartet

Kurt_RibakBassist Kurt Ribak crosses genres between gigs with seemingly no effort, as comfortable in a rockabilly gig as in a gypsy jazz setting or a bebop date.  Here, we can count on Kurt to deliver “music for the jazz impurist.”

Writing about Kurt’s recent CD
I Got One More!, the long-time Bay Area music critic Lee Hildebrand notes that,

“Dance-inspired rhythms anchor the 10 original tunes on I Got One More!, Ribak’s fourth album as a leader. Grooves range from swing, reggae, and bossa nova to bolero, boogaloo, greasy funk, and South African-spiced soca. Ribak’s compositions reflect the influence of Charles Mingus, Cannonball Adderley, and Abdullah Ibrahim.

The album represents a triumph of the human spirit. It is the bassist’s first recording since his left arm was mangled in a horrific accident. Ribak confronted the possibility he might never play again, but a year and seven surgeries later, he was back at his bass, having re-learned to play with his still-damaged hand. I Got One More! is the musically rewarding result of that remarkable comeback.

For this date, the Kurt is joined by reed player Mark Sowlakis, guitarist Tim Fox and drummer  Bryan Bowman.

Kurt Ribak.  After a battle with tendinitis, Kurt won scholarships to Berklee College of Music, where he graduated with top honors. Kurt has worked in settings ranging from opera to circuses to sharing the stage with preachers and fire-breathing strippers. (Kurt notes these were different events.) Venues range from Yoshi’s to a club where someone stashed a loaded .45 in his bass bag. Kurt no longer plays there on a regular basis.

At Berklee Kurt learned he loved composition and songwriting. Early tunes reflect a strong Thelonious Monk influence, while others reflect bassist/composer/bandleader Charles Mingus. Later tunes bring to mind Horace Silver, Lee Morgan, and the South African composer Abdullah Ibrahim. Kurt’s group features his own compositions.

Kurt describes his music as “Charles Mingus meets The Meters. They go to Duke Ellington’s house to jam, and every so often Cachao and Thelonious Monk sit in.”

Tim Fox.  Guitarist Tim Fox received his formal training at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, earning both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in guitar performance.

He has recorded with Klavier Records, both as a soloist and as a member of the San Francisco Guitar Quartet. For years he was a featured performer on KQED’s West Coast Weekend. His musical activities have become increasingly eclectic over time, having led a flamenco fusion band, Fox & Cats, fronting a swing combo, Dangerous Rhythm, and getting involved with other dodgy projects whenever possible.

Mark “Markos” Sowlakis.  Mark Sowlakis was a founding member of The Nuclear Whales Saxophone Orchestra and recorded with steel guitar wizard Bob Brozman. Shortly after high school he was introduced to master tenor saxophonist Warne Marsh, who became a musical influence, friend and mentor.

He studied clarinet at San Francisco State University with Don Carroll of the San Francisco Symphony and studied saxophone privately with tenor sax greats Larry Schneider and Joe Henderson. He then earned a Masters Degree in Clarinet Performance at the Mannes College of Music, studying with New York Philharmonic clarinetist Peter Simenauer and privately with Ken Peplowski.

Mr. Sowlakis has released four solo recordings, 2000’s Simple Beauty, Marking Time in 2002, and Sinfonetta, in 2005. His most recent recording is 2013’s “Universal Truths.”

Bryan Bowman.  Bryan Bowman has performed with numerous Bay Area and international artists including Deron Johnson (keyboardist with Miles Davis), Eric Reed, Ratso Harris, Matt Clark, Mark Levine, Larry Vuckovich, and Noel Jewkes. Bryan performed at the historic SFJAZZ Grand Opening in January of 2013 with Mary Stallings, Eric Reed and Matt Penman. He toured the United States with RCA recording artists Monica Behan and Deron Johnson. Bryan also records and performs in the international music scene with Bulgarian musicians Ivan Milev & Nikolay Kolev and Trio Mopmu with Lily Storm.

Formal education at The Berklee College of Music in Boston, CSU Long Beach, CSU Chico and the Ali Akbar College of Music.