As you may already know, the first Friday of every month at Bixby Knolls is not like any other Friday. It’s a time for businesses to open up and do their part to serve the artistic community by displaying the works of local artists. The famous Atlantic Avenue is closed off from traffic until late at night, allowing passersby to stroll through the shops and restaurants and enjoy what they have to offer. And of course, where there is a gathering of artists in Long Beach, there’s bound to be a good number of jazz and blues musicians present.
Performing both original tunes and jazz/pop standards at the BKBIA (Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association) Office located at 4313 Atlantic Avenue, starting from 6:30pm, will be Majic Bullet Theory, a local septet (sometimes sextet) excelling in funk, hip hop, and nu jazz. Founded and led by trumpeter Dave Williams since 2002, the band includes notable names such as guitarist Patrick Butler, Josh Harris and Vince Soluna on tenor sax and flute, bassists Mondo Reyes, and drummer/guitarist Damien Smith. Other affiliated performers include bassists Jose Ramirez and Austin Nicholsen, Julio Muniz on congas, S.O.U.L.-O., Jarvis Walters, and Cutz and Scratches. With heavy influences from John Coltrane, Prince, and Weather Report, MBT makes funky jazz accessible and performs at parties and weddings without dumbing anything down. The band has a trademark emphasis on improvisation and turntablism (in case you don’t know – the art of manipulating sounds and creating music using phonograph turntables and a DJ mixer) – MBT creates alluring tunes with hard-hitting beats and aleatoric elements that are meant to embody the urban life. The band has also released their debut album, Paradigm Shift. You can listen to it at http://mbtmusic.bandcamp.com/album/paradigm-shift.
There will be plenty of other free musical events to enjoy. At Jammin’ Music & Arts Academy (located on 4228 Atlantic Avenue), there will be an open session from 7:30pm to 9pm for anyone who wants to jam. At Georgie’s Place, the Greek American restaurant on 3850 Atlantic, R&B band the Soulcials will keep the music flowing through the night. Over ten venues will be offering musical entertainment throughout the evening so make sure you catch some of it!
December’s First Friday falls on the 2nd from 6pm to 10pm. Basically, the entire area of Atlantic Avenue that stretches from Bixby Road to San Antonio Drive is available for anyone to stop by and explore. Public parking as well as a free bus service for transportation within the area is available. If you own a bike, ride it over and save gas – there’s free valet and maintenance services available at The Workshop, the repair shop located on For more information, call the BKBIA headquarters at (562) 595-0081 or visit the First Friday website at http://firstfridayslongbeach.comfor directions and a full roster of events. This month’s Cultural Walk will have a holiday-themed twist – at 6pm, the 4th Annual Bixby Knolls Tree & Menorah Lighting Ceremony will take place near the fountains at Nino’s Italian Restaurant, located on 3853 Atlantic Avenue. The entire community is encouraged to attend and honor the traditions of Christmas and Hanukkah, listen to some carols, and enjoy some free hot chocolate.