San Francisco Bay Area based composer and jazz bassist, Ravi Abcarian, started learning guitar at the age of seven and began playing bass when his high school jazz band director challenged him to switch from electric guitar to upright bass.

Ravi went on to join the house band for a weekly jam session at famed jazz venue, Yoshi’s Oakland. There, he met and began working with many of the Bay Area’s great musicians, including Faye Carol, Edwin Kelly, and Smiley Winters. By his mid-twenties he was busy performing a wide range of gigs from small clubs and cafés in Oakland and San Francisco to regional jazz festivals.

In 1997 Ravi was invited to join the Oakland, CA based nonprofit organization, Oaktown Jazz Workshops (OJW), as a bass instructor by Founding Director, Khalil Shaheed. Shortly after, Ravi was promoted to the position of Educational Director.  In 2011, Ravi was appointed Executive Director of OJW by Mr. Shaheed and the OJW Board of Directors.

Ravi has more than 20 years of teaching experience through his role as the Artistic Director of “The Richmond Jazz Collective,” a resident company at The East Bay Center for Performing Arts in Richmond, CA where he taught from 1993 to 2013, as a school music teacher for grades K-12, and teaching individual bass and guitar lessons at his home studio. He also enjoys working as a sideman, as is evidenced by his extensive experience accompanying artists ranging from legendary tap dancer Fayard Nicholas (of the Nicholas Brothers) and vocal group Sweet Honey in the Rock to tenor saxophonists Chico Freeman, Joshua Redman and Sonny Simmons.


Recent Posts

Khalil Shaheed Scholarship Fund

Dear Friend of Oaktown Jazz Workshops,

It is thanks to you that we enter 2019 with the momentum of a successful year and over two decades of providing year-round music education and presentations for young people.

This year Oaktown Jazz Workshops’ young musicians attended 140 ensemble workshops and performed at dozens of community events across the San Francisco Bay Area. Our instructors conducted over 50 music clinics at public schools and we continue to produce family-friendly concerts at our venue in Jack London Square, Oakland.

At the core of our organization are afterschool classes and workshops where young musicians learn to perform together as a group directly from professional musicians dedicated to helping youth develop their talents.

Many of Oaktown Jazz Workshops alumni are now widely recognized as some of the new exciting voices in jazz. Our Founding Director, Khalil Shaheed, was very proud of their musical accomplishments and also proud of how OJW was able to teach youth important life skills far beyond performing music.

Six years ago we launched the Khalil Shaheed Scholarship Fund to cover the cost of our workshops for young musicians whose families could not otherwise afford tuition. This fund has been absolutely critical in supporting local young people seeking opportunities for creative expression and artistic development.

Your support, in whatever amount you can manage, will encourage our children’s creativity, elevate music education and appreciation, and enrich our community.


Ravi Abcarian
Executive Director

  1. John Santos Quintet Saturday, October 6th • 7PM Leave a reply
  2. Khalil Shaheed Scholarship Fund Leave a reply
  3. A benefit concert for Mark Wright Leave a reply
  4. Josiah Woodson Leave a reply
  5. Jesse Levit Quartet Leave a reply
  6. A Musical Tribute to the Life of William Sims Leave a reply
  7. Richard Howell Quartet 5/27 Leave a reply
  8. Khalil Shaheed Scholarship Fund Leave a reply
  9. John Santos Quintet Saturday, November 19th at Oaktown Jazz® Leave a reply