REVIEW: Øogaloö’s crossover style ‘a memorable experience’

Concert at Quartyard a night full of funk, jazz and soul


Øogaloö played a night full of funk, jazz and soul at the Quartyard in Downtown San Diego on Nov. 18. Photo by Sarah Imani Mola

Sarah Imani Mola, Contributor

The below opinion piece was created as part of an extra credit opportunity for students in the Jazz History class with Associate Professor Michael Espar.

As an avid lover of many genres, I’m always looking to broaden my knowledge of musical topics.

Throughout the semester in the Jazz History class at San Diego City College, I learned how new music developed from previous genres. For my musical review, I wanted to go to a jazz concert that had a strong influence from other genres I enjoyed.

I went to see Øogaloö for a night full of funk, jazz and soul. Formerly known as Bøogaloö, the group recently changed to Øogaloö because of the association with an online extremist movement.

The event took place at the Quartyard in Downtown San Diego on Nov. 18. The Quartyard, made from repurposed shipping containers, is a unique space. I have been to this venue one time before, but never for a concert.

On this cold November evening, I pulled up to the venue excited to hear the band’s crossover of jazz.

The band started warming up as people trickled in, and the concert started shortly thereafter. “Softly, As in A Morning Sunrise,” a classic, was the first song played.

This song, re-imagined many times, was also the first piece we analyzed in my jazz history class.

This version had a slower tempo. The drummer kept time by playing a classic jazz beat. Between phrases, he added his own flair. 

The guitarist, Alex Ciavarelli, played the melody. His speedy licks and intense trills gave this version depth. The piano, bass, drums and djembe made up the rhythm section.

I enjoyed this song because it was perfect for an intro as it was widely known and the rendition was unique.

After the first song, the DJ introduced the band. Øogaloö is made up of Zack Naajoro, Dominic Littleton, Chris Cancelliere, Alex Ciavarelli, Ian Harland, Ruby G and Antar Martin. 


One of the most interesting things about the band is that they have a vibraphone player, Ian Harland.

A vibraphone has tuned metal bars. The vibraphone, which is usually played as a percussion instrument, is played using mallets to strike the metal bars. It was cool because vibraphones are not typically played in jazz.

In the next song, a cover of “Well You Needn’t,” the vibraphone played as the front-line instrument.

For the rest of the show, the band played their own pieces. The concert was a memorable experience.


The band had amazing chemistry. Not only did the band mesh very well together, but it also looked like they were having fun.

The crowd was very chill and attentive. The overall atmosphere was relaxed and felt more like a jam than a formal performance. 

With the open-air style at the Quartyard, music reverberated through the neighborhood. As the music drifted down the street, a small group of people even gathered outside to listen.

Experiences like this continue to help my musical appreciation grow. 

The group Øogaloö continues to play local events and host jam sessions throughout San Diego.

If you are interested in jazz with crossovers of soul, funk, R&B and bebop, check them out.

Correction: The name of the music course and the title of Michael Espar were incorrect in the original story. Both have been corrected. City Times regrets the error.