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Curious blips and scratches

Thundercat wrestles sounds from his instrument that aren’t normally associated with it

Thundercat
Thundercat
Past Event

Thundercat and Zack Fox

  • Sunday, December 23, 2018, 8 p.m.
  • Music Box, 1337 India Street, San Diego
  • 21+ / $32 - $34

Stephen Bruner, from Watts, California, grew up in a musical home. Both his father and his brother are heavy hitters who earned their reputations performing as sidemen with frontline jazz artists. But Bruner’s childhood is not offered up in explanation of his emergence as a prodigy on the electric bass. He did that on his own time and within his own reach. His music bears little resemblance to other electric bassists, and his musical path swings away from his family’s.

Maybe that’s the reason behind Stephen Bruner’s curious alter ego. On stage and on record, he calls himself Thundercat. It’s a name that sounds more like a cartoon super hero than it does a bass phenomenon. The 34-year-old Thundercat is also a singer, songwriter, producer, and a session musician. As a wage earner, his scope is vast, having backed R&B artists such as Erykah Badu and the rapper Snoop Dogg. Thundercat was even a member of Suicidal Tendencies, a thrash punk band. But Bruner has developed bass enough skills to be included on the short list of bassists who not only work the instrument as a rhythm tool, playing the roots of chords and governing the culture of a song, but also simultaneously elevate bass to a solo chair instrument. Think Victor Wooten or Stanley Clark or Billy Sheehan, Les Claypool, Tal Wilkenfeld.

Video:

Thundercat - Live Performance in Echoplex

Thundercat wrestles sounds from his instrument that aren’t normally associated with it, curious blips and scratches along the order of a Tibetan coffee shop trio or a West African singalong. He fits them into a deep melodic music that identifies with a near-extinct American art form called Acid Jazz. Acid was the child of fusion and smooth jazz. Here, it promises hypnotic phrases, intense instrumentals, and Bruner’s own sweet-as-a-lozenge voice layered over the top. For the listener, that means an inventive, audience-friendly modern spin on straight-ahead jazz music.

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Thundercat
Thundercat
Past Event

Thundercat and Zack Fox

  • Sunday, December 23, 2018, 8 p.m.
  • Music Box, 1337 India Street, San Diego
  • 21+ / $32 - $34

Stephen Bruner, from Watts, California, grew up in a musical home. Both his father and his brother are heavy hitters who earned their reputations performing as sidemen with frontline jazz artists. But Bruner’s childhood is not offered up in explanation of his emergence as a prodigy on the electric bass. He did that on his own time and within his own reach. His music bears little resemblance to other electric bassists, and his musical path swings away from his family’s.

Maybe that’s the reason behind Stephen Bruner’s curious alter ego. On stage and on record, he calls himself Thundercat. It’s a name that sounds more like a cartoon super hero than it does a bass phenomenon. The 34-year-old Thundercat is also a singer, songwriter, producer, and a session musician. As a wage earner, his scope is vast, having backed R&B artists such as Erykah Badu and the rapper Snoop Dogg. Thundercat was even a member of Suicidal Tendencies, a thrash punk band. But Bruner has developed bass enough skills to be included on the short list of bassists who not only work the instrument as a rhythm tool, playing the roots of chords and governing the culture of a song, but also simultaneously elevate bass to a solo chair instrument. Think Victor Wooten or Stanley Clark or Billy Sheehan, Les Claypool, Tal Wilkenfeld.

Video:

Thundercat - Live Performance in Echoplex

Thundercat wrestles sounds from his instrument that aren’t normally associated with it, curious blips and scratches along the order of a Tibetan coffee shop trio or a West African singalong. He fits them into a deep melodic music that identifies with a near-extinct American art form called Acid Jazz. Acid was the child of fusion and smooth jazz. Here, it promises hypnotic phrases, intense instrumentals, and Bruner’s own sweet-as-a-lozenge voice layered over the top. For the listener, that means an inventive, audience-friendly modern spin on straight-ahead jazz music.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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