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Arts + CultureMusicUnder the Stars: Ruby Ibarra's time to shine, Octo...

Under the Stars: Ruby Ibarra’s time to shine, Octo Octa’s dance floor dreams…

Plus: SFJAZZ faculty and students celebrate Monk's birthday, Nick Andre convenes Jazz Mafia and Lyrics Born, more music

It’s Under the Stars, babe … in case you forgot. A quasi-weekly column that presents new music releases, upcoming shows, opinions, and a number of other adjacent items. We keep moving with the changes, thinking outside the margins.

Enjoy the spice of life while you’re here (RIP Alland Byallo). Let’s go …

RUBY IBARRA AT YERBA BUENA GARDENS, THU/12

Bigtime, legit, and heavyweight—but not for the reasons you might think—are the ways to perceive Ruby Ibarra, the emcee, director, and spoken-word artist from the Bay Area. Yes, for sure, she spits gold bars in Tagalog, Waray, and English a mulitlinguism that speaks to her cultural heritage as an immigrant from the Philippines. She has indeed become an invaluable rap artist, while also making strides in television and films and touring extensively across the United States and the Philippines, including to universities, empowerment conferences, and music venues. However, it is her involvement in the Pinays Rising scholarship program, which she co-founded in 2018, that sets her apart as not only a respected figure in the Bay Area but also as an active advocate using her platform to uplift others. Don’t miss the opportunity to attend this free lunchtime concert and support a true original from the Bay.

More information here.

CELEBRATE MONK’S BIRTHDAY AT JOE HENDERSON LAB, FRI/13

Thelonious Sphere Monk, one of the greatest composers and pianists of all time, had his birthday on October 10. San Francisco had two ways to honor this American master’s intellect. 

On October 10, the 4 Star Theater hosted Thelonious Monk Birthday Bash featuring music by the Edelman Family band, not to mention the films Monk and Monk in Europe. On October 13, SFJAZZ will feature celebrated faculty and students from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music in what they called a “Side-By-Side” performance at the Joe Henderson Lab as part of their Thelonious Monk Festival. The school’s Roots, Jazz & American Music (RJAM) program, which emphasizes the importance of jazz apprenticeship within the small ensemble setting, will feature vocal great Carmen Bradford of Count Basie Orchestra fame, SFJAZZ collective members Edward Simon, Warren Wolf, and David Sánchez, trumpeter Benny Benack III, and drum icon Matt Wilson.

This is how you honor an architect of sound transmission, whose musical sagacity, phrasings, and unorthodox approach fuel not only certain realms of electronic music today, but also various strains emanating from the jazz root. Arrangements from the likes of Patrice Rushen to the late Bernie Worrel to the futuristic wizards Flying Lotus and Kaidi Tatham: Monk flows through them all.

Get your tickets to SFJAZZ’s RJAM Thelonius Monk tribute here.

JAZZ MAFIA & NICK ANDRE FEAT. LYRICS BORN & LATEEF THE TRUTHSPEAKER, “L.T.D.”

Nick Andre, the SF-based music producer and co-founder of Slept On Records, maintains residency in the Bay Area sound. His arrangements, whether boogie, hip-hop, or fusion-y inspirations, always find their way through legendary collaborators with Bay roots and global impact.

“L.T.D.”, the third single from the new joint effort between West Coast producer Andre, Adam Theis, and the broad-based Oakland collective Jazz Mafia, features Lyrics Born taking the lead with two verses and Lateef The Truthspeaker piloting the hook in a duet with Jazz Mafia vocalist Yvette Pylant. This IRT slice of Bay talent casts a bright and warm light on the quality of artists with whom Andre somehow always aligns himself.

Purchase the single here.

OCTO OCTA, “DREAMS OF A DANCEFLOOR” EP (T4T LUV NRG)

So going back to Maya Bouldry-Morrison’s I Need You EP from 2019, there has always been this push-pull dynamic in her arrangements that forces listeners, dancers and lovers to expand their musical horizons beyond their preferred metier.

Generally, her releases consist of breakbeat, dreamy house, and a high-energy form of trance: a line-up that takes you on a journey. Personally, I lean in on the breakbeat and deep house angle, but always appreciate the macro scope of a night’s progression. The kind that takes you from 10pm to 4am—sometimes longer, depending on how comfortable your rave shoes are fitting those dew-beaters.

This is the strength of Dreams of a Dancefloor, Octo Octa’s latest release. The final track “Come Here, Let’s Commune”, maybe, could be (shrug emoji) her most captivating arrangement to date. It features vocal hiccups, handclaps, and a groovy AF melody that is not overly sweet, but just right. The sparse-but-powerful bass lines add depth to the arrangement, making it the perfect closing song to hear at a club right when the Muni starts running at 5:30am (if you are lucky.)

However, Maya Bouldry-Morrison doesn’t make it easy for you.

The first track “Late Night Love” sets the pace with its intense energy, building up the tempo and heart rate. The EP then transitions into the breakbeat trance fervor of “Let Yourself Go!”, which pushes everything to the limit, into the red, and to peak emotion.

Do I need to mention? Stay hydrated, people.

By the time we reach the lushness of “Commune”, everyone is united in the sense of togetherness for which Octo Octa always aims. And in this track, she exceeds expectations, taking us beyond the sweat and into a sweet redemption.

The EP is sold out on Bandcamp but hit a record store—they will be restocking it soon, if they know what’s really up. More information here.

Baby Bushka at Rickshaw Stop in 2022. Photo by Jon Bauer

RICKSHAW STOP TURNS 20 IN JANUARY

After the ball drops this January, the iconic SF music venue Rickshaw Stop officially turns a dub.

It will celebrate its 20th anniversary—that’s two decades of Bardot A Go Go and Jeffrey Paradise all up in that ether, Jack, let me tell you! To mark this momentous occasion, the Hayes Valley cultural institution will host a month-long series of amazing shows, featuring mostly bands and DJs who have played the venue over the last 20 years. Rickshaw Stop is a steadfast DIY institution that has been doing it themselves for a long time.

Since 2004, the venue has hosted a wide range of amazing indie and mid-major acts including MIA, Vampire Weekend, Billie Eilish, Charli XCX, Wet Leg, Ty Segall, Mac Demarco, The Breeders, Pussy Riot, Mayer Hawthorne, Poolside (that’s Jeffrey Paradise and Filip Nikolic’s chillwave group), and many more.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Rickshaw Stop is throwing a party all through January, featuring old friends and a feast of local bands who are currently killing it on a national level, where they are representing SF/the Bay Area to the fullest. Some of the groups performing include Juicebumps, Spiral Dub, Shannon Shaw, Mae Powell, Fake Fruit, Planet Booty, Smoked Out Soul, and The Umbrellas, who will be bringing it with an album release party. And that’s just a quick list. Rickshaw Stop packs the house with a top-notch local talent crew.

Dan Strachota, head of operations, expands on the non-stop barrage of talent the Bay still churns out in 2023:

I think the Bay Area, despite all the current hardships of living here, remains an amazing place to live. It brings amazing, talented people here to make amazing music. There’s still this idea of SF as a very creative place. And the venues are run by people who really care about fostering the scene and bands and DJs, and the people who move here or grow up here still appreciate how wonderful an experience going to see live music is.

Grab tickets here and read AG Spinelli’s 48hills feature on the anniversary series here.

48 Hills welcomes comments in the form of letters to the editor, which you can submit here. We also invite you to join the conversation on our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram

John-Paul Shiver
John-Paul Shiverhttps://www.clippings.me/channelsubtext
John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to 48 Hills since 2019. His work as an experienced music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in the Wire, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK, and Drowned In Sound.

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