From the street corner to the concert hall, the pickPocket ensemble create a contermporary chamber cafe music that moves both body and soul. Based in Northern California, we have toured internationally and released 6 CD's of original music. Our music has been featured in several films and on NPR and public television.
To listen to the pickPocket ensemble is to embark on a journey. Speak to audience members after a performance: one will have been to Bogota, one to Prague, one to Paris. Yet for all its wide-ranging inspirations, the music of the pickPocket ensemble remains intensely personal and immediately engaging, an invitation to listen in on an intimate and ongoing conversation.
"A sublime and nuanced hip acoustic band." - West Coast Live Radio.
Marguerite Ostro - Violin
Yates Brown - Guitar and Banjo
Kurt Ribak - Double Bass
Michaelle Goerlitz - Percussion
Rick Corrigan - composition, Accordion and Piano
Soul Cafe (CD) 2007
Fingerpainting in Red Wine (CD) 2005
If I Were A Highway (CD) 2003
A Streetcar Too Far (CD) 2000
International House Of Dreams (CD) 1999
GORGEOUS RAINY DAY MUSIC FROM PICKPOCKET ENSEMBLE
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Sometimes the best albums take the longest to get to know: that’s our excuse for sitting on this one...Sometimes the best albums take the longest to get to know: that’s our excuse for sitting on this one as long as we have (it came out last fall). Bay Area instrumentalists Pickpocket Ensemble’s latest album Memory is one of the most unselfconsciously beautiful ones to come over the transom in recent months. Their dark, austere, gypsy-tinged acoustic melodies linger over tricky rhythms that sometimes shift shape to the point where it’s impossible not to get lost. Plaintive but not sentimental, wistful without being hokey, this is tremendously captivating rainy-day music.
The opening cut, Home, blends elements of Belgian barroom musette with tricky gypsy rhythms, bandleader/accordionist Rick Corrigan layering one track over another like a piece of baklava, guitarist Yates Brown and violinist Marguerite Ostro’s lines mingling with the wary ambience over the shifting pulse of bassist Kurt Ribak and percussionist Michaelle Goerlitz. The aptly titled 3 AM veers closer to gypsy jazz with staccato piano and memorably spiky solos from both piano and guitar. The third track, If (not to be confused with the cheeseball 70s hit by Bread…or the Pink Floyd tune, come to think of it) is another brooding minor key number, violin taking the lead over incisive, thoughtful fingerpicked guitar. Brown’s gorgeously spiraling solo over shuffling acoustic guitar and bright piano on the fourth track, Sometimes Never, is one of the album’s high points.
Baroque meets jazz on the wistful ballad Bird in a Web, featuring another beautiful Brown solo. They follow that with the bittersweet, elegaic waltz For Those Who’ve Left and then Seriously, which blends gypsy jazz with a cosmopolitan, Astor Piazzolla-ish elegance. The title track adds banjo and brass – and a sizzling muted trumpet solo – over a bracing minor-key gospel melody; after a brief Arab-flavored spot for solo cello, they close the album with a characteristically pensive, rhythmically dizzying number titled Nowhere Else. Fans of eclectic pan-global bands from Beirut to Kotorino will enjoy this: count it among the best we’ve heard lately.
the pickPocket ensemble - MEMORY
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Rick Corrigan’s self-labeled ‘café music’ bleeds across genres, mixing and matching continents and c...Rick Corrigan’s self-labeled ‘café music’ bleeds across genres, mixing and matching continents and cultures, ultimately creating an intimate experience that doesn’t segregate—but rather celebrates
On MEMORY The pickPocket Ensemble incorporate violin, accordion, trumpet, guitar and banjo compositions, scored to complex, yet toe-tappingly vibrant time signatures that allow listeners to meander through European cities, become caught up in the winds above the Atlas Mountains and trace steps back to the strangely familiar lands of a foreign cinema soundtrack. Their name relates to the pocket-sized capacity of the instrumentals of around three-minutes in length, whose small bursts intertwine influences from European cities onto the contours of their Balkan inspired landscapes. From the Latino rhythms of 3am to the melodic longing of the violin-led, and piano-accompanied If, the five-piece hailing from North California create music full of mystery, heartache, joy and spirit—but at the core of this—memory.
Corrigan himself noted numerous listeners’ comments on the nostalgic feel unearthed upon watching the collective, and on playing this release: of fans ‘remind[ed] of music they heard as a child…[yet] it’s never the same song twice and never the same place twice.’ There is something both
familiar and dreamily evocative in what is, in essence, world music tastefully pickpocketed from Paris, Tuscany, Eastern Europe and Africa.
Thankfully the quintet is deft in its stitching, and in distilling this music, through simplifying though never losing flair or originality, the pickPocket Ensemble have succeeded in creating an album that seamlessly skips effortlessly through the continents of their influence, with arrangements so full of energy and emotion that you can almost feel them standing before you in some dusty Parisian cafe. Melanie McGovern
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Memory, independent release (2010) The Pick Pocket Ensemble features acoustic café music on its i...Memory, independent release (2010)
The Pick Pocket Ensemble features acoustic café music on its independent release, “Memory”. Waxing nostalgic for Eastern European fare and the French musette (without the bagpipes), the ensemble hops and skips its way through global street side cafes. You can easily picture yourself sitting in a Bulgarian or Parisian café sipping designer coffee while buskers serenade you with these little gems.
Featuring accordion, guitar, banjo, piano, violin, percussion, and bass, this Bay Area ensemble will have listeners lapping from their coffee cups.
The musicians perform short songs, with the longest one, “Nowhere Else” clocking in at 4 1/2 minutes, and the shortest in less than a minute. The instrumental recording presents potent melodies with a circus tinge. However, on “For Those Who’ve Left” portrays an Erik Satie melancholy with its conversation between piano and violin.
The title track, sounds liked it hailed out of Bulgaria alternating with Central France with its plucky banjo, and swinging violin.
Sad or happy songs, you can hear the musicians having fun as they give their listeners an earful of yummy acoustic flavors. I’ll personally thank the bandleader and founder, Rick Corrigan (accordion, piano and composition), for leaving electronic music behind and charting in territory that journeys backwards in time. And after listening to heavier produced music, listening to “Memory” compares to eating an after dinner mint, it’s the final taste that lingers on the tongue.
The pickPocket ensemble -Memory
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Group founder, accordionist and pianist Rich Corrigan calls his quintet’s acoustic instrumental outp...Group founder, accordionist and pianist Rich Corrigan calls his quintet’s acoustic instrumental output “cafe music.” That’s as good a label as any for the delightfully playful tunes he composed for an ensemble that includes a violinist, guitarist, bassist and percussionist.
Using Corrigan’s keyboard prowess and Marguerite Ostro’s lively klezmer violin touches, this group creates a sweet swirl of exquisitely performed music informed by French chanson, Gypsy swing, Balkan beats, contemporary chamber music, film scores and North African melodies along with blues, jazz, folk and Latin elements.
“Memory” is only a half-hour long but its 10 compositions are completely satisfying, with each piece a fully realized work of musical heft.
The musical execution is often lightning quick, and at other times lyrically serene.
This ensemble has effectively picked the pocket of a score of musical styles from all over the world to create a melodic and cohesive work of originality, humor and melodic invention.
– Eric Feber, The Pilot
7 albums from 2010 that deserved more attention
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4. PickPocket Ensemble, "Memory" The sixth album from the San Francisco quintet balances the music ...4. PickPocket Ensemble, "Memory"
The sixth album from the San Francisco quintet balances the music of Parisian cafes with ragtime and jigs, a sensual throwback to a time when Europe was defined by borders, currency, language and indigenous music. They cross boundaries at will, fully fleshing out the idea that modern chamber music can remain rooted culturally and be simultaneously buoyant and striking. Some smart DJ will take this record and give it a Gotan Project/Bajofondo treatment.
- Phil Gallo
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The San Francisco band could be termed “world music” for the diversity of their influences, but thei...The San Francisco band could be termed “world music” for the diversity of their influences, but their all-acoustic, honed-from-playing-live arrangements set them apart from the increasingly dull digitalization of global sound. On Memory, the Ensemble draws from Serbian and Gypsy influences, with echoes of jazz and Appalachia, on instrumental compositions that could be the soundtrack to an art house film no one has made. Memory is music to dream with.
the pickPocket ensemble - Memory
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The Pickpocket Ensemble is a collection of five musicians from Northern California that specializ...
The Pickpocket Ensemble is a collection of five musicians from Northern California that specialize in chamber café music.
The band consists of Marguerite Ostro on violin, Rick Corrigan who is the composer and plays both accordion and piano, Michaelle Goerlitz on percussion, Yates Brown who plays guitar and banjo, and Kurt Ribak on bass. This is the band’s sixth album release, and is exactly what you would expect.
‘Memory’ is a ten track album, the tracks varying between forty nine seconds and four and a half minutes all instrumental compositions of near perfect café music.
The starter track ‘home’ is an accordion based French-sounding jazz café soundtrack, which eases the listener into the album beautifully. In fact there are no duff tracks on the album, and the music takes on the colours of various different folk and Gypsy music styles.
My favourite compositions on this album are ‘3AM’ a jazzy piano and guitar number, ‘Bird in a Web’ which is primarily guitar based and is bright and uplifting; ‘Seriously’ which has some Eastern European influences and the title track ‘Memory’ which features some fine banjo work from Yates Brown along with some great trumpet from Peter Jacques who was guesting, and is the perfect party accompaniment.
In fact, there’s very little that I can add about this. The band clearly know their stuff, and Rick Corrigan knows how to compose the perfect café soundtrack. Whilst their music is so specialised that I can’t see this CD flying off the racks, that should not distract anyone from the band members’ undeniable talent.
If they were playing a café near me, I’d drink there all day.
The pickPocket ensemble - Memory
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approaching folk music from an urban acoustic perspective and weaving in time worn subtleties and nu...approaching folk music from an urban acoustic perspective and weaving in time worn subtleties and nuances of world cafe, while managing to engage the listener fully with a depth and perspective all their own.
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The pickPocket Ensemble, Memory. This album of catchy, original compositions agglomerates several ol...The pickPocket Ensemble, Memory. This album of catchy, original compositions agglomerates several old world styles, including klezmer, gypsy, flamenco, and tango. Marguerite Ostro's violin is mesmerizing. "Bird in a Web" lays a languid melody over a drum pattern that actually swings. "Seriously" has the shuffling rhythm of a dance number. The title track combines fiddle and banjo in a way that recalls the gothic south.
If I Were A Highway
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"After much too long an absence from the recording studio, San Francisco's own Pickpocket Ensemble r..."After much too long an absence from the recording studio, San Francisco's own Pickpocket Ensemble returns with their third album and an apparently expanded line up. Listening to them on disc I still lament the loss of our beloved Radio Valencia where (how spoiled we were then) one could catch them live for free on regular basis. For those unfamiliar, the Pickpocket Ensemble play a wonderfully unselfconscious amalgamation of, for lack of a better term, folk music from around the world. The group is led by accordionist Rick Corrigan, who also writes the bulk of their material and filled out by violin, double bass, guitar and percussion. Along with both the Parisian and Eastern influences that form the bedrock of the Pickpocket Ensemble, Corrigan has been further embracing the sounds of Klezmer music and in addition he seems to be delving into the realms of both Spanish and Nubian music. But parsing out specific influences with the Pickpocket Ensemble is a tricky thing as Corrigan's superb arrangements are knit so tightly it becomes difficult to separate the musical threads. The reason I suppose is because Corrigan and company choose to use their alembic to reinforce the commonalities of such diverse elements as much as they do to punctuate the differences. The result of course is just plain fine music that can only come from the Pickpocket Ensemble. Corrigan, an excellent accordion player, has always surrounded himself with great musicians and the recent additions of Marguerite Ostrovski on violin, Tim Fox on guitar and Will High on double bass are certainly no exceptions. Highly recommended!"
Packed Her things
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pickPocket Ensemble - Packed Her Things: Este es un grupo de músicos de Berkeley que tocan bajo la ...pickPocket Ensemble - Packed Her Things: Este es un grupo de músicos de Berkeley que tocan bajo la dirección de un acordeonista llamado Rick Corrigan, quien creo que si se sabe mover puede llegar a ser un excelente compositor de música de películas. Después de escuchar estos tres temas, sólo te quedará suponer que Hollywood lo está esperando. Toca música gitana, de Europa del Este, con toques de medio oriente. En "Packed Her Things" uno ya se imagina la historia. La violinista flaca mantenía un romance con el acordeonista, pero parece que se pelearon y ella empacó sus chivas y se fué. Corrigan, ni cojudo, llamó a su amante -la otra violinista- y la puso en la banda a tocar un tema dedicado a la primera. Para el verano del 2003, los pickPocket Ensemble se han ido de gira a Holanda. Espero que estén tocando en las estaciones de metro y en los parques, te aseguro que van a ganar más dinero de esa forma. Es una banda del pueblo para el pueblo.
Del CD If I were a highway(pP productions)
If I Were A Highway
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"The pickPocket ensemble is an instrumental quintet from the United States of America that has taken..."The pickPocket ensemble is an instrumental quintet from the United States of America that has taken my attention. Their music is somehow very light and harmonic (I do not mean easy listening!). The tunes are creeping through the ears into my mind - where they will stay for long.
It is not to easy to pigeonhole the music of the pickpockets - it is melodious instrumental urban acoustic chamber folk music of the world with edges of jazz klezmer swing etc ... and this mixture makes up wonderful music.. The five musicians are Marguerite Ostrovski on fiddle, Greg Kehret on double bass and ac. bass guitar, Tim Fox on guitar, Aharon Wheels Bolsta on percussion and finally Rick Corrigan on accordian. Rick does also write all these fine tunes. I can imagine to hear their music somewhere in a nice street cafe - but also on the big music festivals... Hopefully this ensemble will find their way also to Europe soon!"
Fingerpainting in Red Wine
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"They are a group of musicians who constantly strive to think outside the square, and more important..."They are a group of musicians who constantly strive to think outside the square, and more importantly make us the listener realize that the brain is a muscle... and just like any other muscle, we use it or lose it. the band's meditative sound has been described as 'cafe music without borders.' Truth is that you would be hard-pressed the world over to find cafe music of this quality!"
Fingerpainting in Red Wine
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"Fingerpainting in Red Wine is a fresh, open minded CD with well played music. a real pleasure to h..."Fingerpainting in Red Wine is a fresh, open minded CD with well played music. a real pleasure to hear."
The pickPocket ensemble have a set list of 45+ original pieces. Our pieces run anywhere from 2 minutes to 8-10 minutes. Improvisation is an integral part of our performance. We generally play one hour sets, sometimes as many as three, but usually one or two in an evening.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.