We’ve got a whole new vibe coming to our free live music series, Live After 5, as it takes over the historic Breakers Building come March 10 from 5PM to 11PM.

Dubbed Neo Soulstice, this month’s event is set to spotlight the impact jazz has made one contemporary music and artists—and also marks our first guest curators for Live After 5, Menchie Caliboso and Tokotah Ashcraft.

”There is a misconception that jazz is dead but it is alive and well,” said Menchie Caliboso, curator for this month’s Live After 5. “It’s just being manifested in so many different new and exciting sounds of today and I like to think we have the full spectrum in this lineup.”

That lineup will feature headliners Tiffany Gouche and Jungle Fire. Joining them will be The Black Noise, Katalyst, Bootleg Orchestra, Eusebio Akasa, and NiceGuyxVinny.

Spoken word artists will include Shy but Flyy, The Loneliest Casanova, Jragonfly Jon, Nerd, and Micah Bournes.

”Look at this spread,” Caliboso said. “Jungle Fire reflects jazz in funk and afro-beat, Tiffany Gouche in neo-soul/R&B, Black Noise in rock/R&B, and Bootleg Orchestra in soul/pop. Katalyst is the epitome of jazz and hip hop; they’re an Inglewood-based group of young jazz musicians who have played with esteemed musicians, such as Roy Hargrove, Anderson Paak, and even Kendrick Lamar. The same goes for DJs NiceGuyxVinny and Eusebio Akasha, who often spin jazz-inspired hip hop and funk. We also have a separate room for spoken word artists, a movement that parallels the foundations of jazz.”

To top it all off, the Breakers—closed for a while due to a renovation—is now being opened to the public to unveil its new design.

This attention to jazz makes sense since Long Beach is steeped in jazz history. The rising tide of live music invading Long Beach—largely led by programs like Live After 5 and a deepened interest in live music—harkens to the days when Jazz Safari, Vault 350, and the Arena regularly hosted local and international musicians of the highest caliber. When it comes to jazz and the blues, Long Beach has hosted the best of the best: from Chuck Berry to James Brown, Buddy Guy to the Blues Brothers Band, Gladys Knight to The O’Jays…

Even our university, CSULB, became the first four-year university in the nation to offer a B.M. in Jazz Studies in 1978 followed by an M.M. in Jazz Studies in the 90s. This isn’t to mention the university’s studio home to famed station K-Jazz (or what was formerly KLON, the entity that hosted the Blues and Gospel Festival before it became known as the Long Beach Blues Festival).

”We wanted to bring this to Long Beach, as Long Beach continues to be a cultural hub for so many musicians and music listeners,” Caliboso said. “Jazz in Long Beach goes as far back as Nat King Cole—maybe earlier—before he met mainstream success, and today, many of our homebred musicians continue to make a career out of jazz. We are a diverse city and we are not shy of celebrating the diverse sounds of music.”

Bring on the diversity.

Menchie Caliboso is a researcher by day and a musician by night. That is, she uses research to address issues in health care, and she uses music to help uplift people and communities. Hailing from Long Beach, Caliboso received her B.M. from Berklee College of Music and her M.A. from Cal State Long Beach. Caliboso is also the founder of local music group Bootleg Orchestra as well as the music-and-culture think tank Society for Long Beach Music.

Tokotah Ashcraft is no stranger to Long Beach, as she is the main events coordinator of regionally-renowned First Fridays at Bixby Knolls – a monthly art walk that celebrates small business, music, and community. With her long thread of experience working with record labels and music festivals (e.g., Coachella), she is also the founder of Falling Mirrors Collective, an event production company that focuses on bringing cutting-edge artists to Long Beach.

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