The "gone" CD is the latest in the series of Kurt Ribak Trio CDs. The first track is also the title of the CD, and was written in memory of Kurt's father. This recording explores some new sonic ground for the Trio, as some tracks have been described as having an Americana/jazz feel reminiscent of some of Bill Frisell's writing, while the tune "River Chorus" has been described as having those same qualities while also being reminiscent of Abdullah Ibrahim's adaptations of South African music to jazz. Other tracks, such as "It's Only a Paper Moon" take a standard and dress it in a suit of new rhythm. "Guilt," "Obsessions" and "The Munsters Have Martinis" appeared on the debut CD "Kurt Ribak Trio" but these are entirely different recordings featuring drummer Kevin Mummey as well as pianist Greg Sankovich.
Kurt Ribak (pronounced REE-bok, like the shoes) grew up in Berkeley, CA. Early musical experiences included singing in the San Francisco Boys Chorus. In grade school Kurt began studying the cello. Kurt later studied with major cellists, including Bonnie Hampton, Susie Napper, and Elisabeth LeGuin.
While a student at UC Berkeley Kurt began playing electric bass, buying his first good bass with money made working as a janitor. At Cal he continued to play classical music and studied jazz while playing in the UC Jazz Ensembles, where he met and first played with pianist Greg Sankovich.
Kurt subsequently earned a scholarship to Berklee College of Music, after a bout with tendinitis. He graduated with top honors. He spent many hours transcribing and absorbing the styles of bassists Paul Chambers, Ray Brown, and Charles Mingus, but also spent hours dissecting the compositions and arrangements of African bandleader Fela Kuti and R&B giant James Brown.
Kurt first learned of his love of composition while at Berklee College of Music. His early tunes often reflected a strong Thelonious Monk influence, while others reflect his love of the great bassists/composer/bandleader Charles Mingus, whose music he studied intensively at Berklee. Later tunes bring to mind the South African composer Abdullah Ibrahim a.k.a. Dollar Brand, Horace Silver, Lee Morgan, and Cannonball Adderley.
After graduation from Berklee Kurt returned to the San Francisco Bay area. In 2001 Kurt started his own group, the Kurt Ribak Trio, which has been his primary musical focus. In 2003 he re-connected with UC Jazz Ensembles bandmate Greg Sankovich, the trio’s pianist. The Kurt Ribak Trio features Kurt’s own compositions but includes select jazz standards and under-appreciated tunes from the Great American Songbook.
The Kurt Ribak Trio has three CDs out, "Kurt Ribak Trio," "more," and "gone." All the CDs feature Kurt's compositions. The CDs have proven popular in Japan, where Disk Union and GATS Productions Ltd. are distributing the CDs. The track "Pseudoafrocubanismo" from "Kurt Ribak Trio" was licensed for inclusion in the Japanese LP and CD release "Jazz Bar 2007, " and the track "Prima" appeared on "Jazz Bar 2008." The releases enjoy regular airplay on KCSM-FM and steady sales in both the US and in Japan. A third Kurt Ribak Trio CD, "gone," will be released in 2009.
Greg Sankovich is the main pianist in Kurt Ribak's group. Greg has been performing on keyboards and producing music since he was twelve years old. He began with classical studies when he was five years old. His musical inspirations included Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, Wynton Kelly, and Keith Jarrett.
Greg attended University of California, Berkeley, where he was active in the UC Berkeley Jazz Ensembles, touring Japan, Northern Europe, Poland, and Scandinavia. After graduation from UC Berkeley, Greg moved to Japan with a UCB inspired jazz-fusion band, Taikun. Greg lived in Japan over ten years, performing and composing for a long line of top Japanese artists.
Greg, a Bay Area native, returned to the san Francisco area in the mid-1990s and has since contributed to an eclectic range of musical projects from jazz to house to hiphop to pop. He has worked with many talented artists including Terry Francis, Brenda Boykin, H-Foundation, Onions, and Doc Martin. He has contributed music to over 20 record labels including Warner, Columbia, Siesta, Tango, and Yoshitoshi. Greg’s music can also be found in the soundtrack for "Groove," a Sony Classics film, as well as in numerous TV jingles.
Greg produces dance music and performs regularly in the SF Bay Area. Greg has produced dance music currently in Europe’s Top Ten. He performs with many groups, including bassist/composer Kurt Ribak’s original groups, jazz-funk band Times 4 featuring sensational saxophonist Lincoln Adler, jam band Ten Ton Chicken, R&B band Blue Sky Band, and various jazz projects. Times 4 has appeared at the JVC Jazz Festival, Pearl's in San Francisco, and Yoshi's in both Oakland and San Francisco.