First Friday: Hip Hop(e), Jazz & Storytelling—Part 2 (Green)

headshots of performers and poet

From left to right: Jonathan Borca, Gabby Horlick, Bennett Roth, Miguel “Frunkyman” Leyva, Mark Arroyo, and Rosanna Alvarez. Courtesy of the artists.

6–9pm • Free admission
Doors open at 6:45pm • Wendel Education Center

Join us for Part 2 of our three-part residency with Francis Experience Quartet. Blending rap, poetry and storytelling, this unique performance series is broken into distinct hues and themes to use various artistic mediums and storytelling as a vehicle to engage and bring together disparate audiences with one shared experience. Projected digital imagery from Illuminate SJ Now! provides an immersive visual backdrop to the performance. 

The Francis Experience Quartet includes Jonathan Borca and co-founder Gabby Horlick (drums), and standout musicians Bennett Roth (keys and vocals), Miguel “Frunkyman” Leyva (bass) with a special guest appearance by Mark Arroyo on guitar. 

Featured poet: Rosanna Alvarez

Register here

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This project is made possible with support from California Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit 


Art lovers at First Fridays enjoy a lounge-like atmosphere with music, drinks, and open galleries from 6–9pm.

Francis experience quartet

Jonathan Borca (emcee, poet) is an advocate, storyteller, and performing artist who by day, is the Deputy Director for the School of Arts and Culture at the Mexican Heritage Plaza and is an Arts Commissioner for the City of San José. By passion, he is an emcee and poet who performs with a variety of jazz ensembles ranging from a quartet to a big band. Borca, who is Mexican-Filipino, was raised in Eastside San José. His work experience includes over a decade of developing and scaling programs for nonprofits and public entities. He also directed all efforts for the California Arts Council Administrators of Color Fellowship (CAC ACF), a statewide initiative aiming to uplift an inclusive workforce. Most recently, Borca has produced a music and art series, "Colour Me GOLD," which celebrates BIPOC creatives, small businesses, and producers through creative community building.  

Gabby Horlick (drummer) of East San José is a professional drummer who has been playing professionally in the South Bay for over a decade. As a classically trained musician, she was often the only female drummer, paid musician, or instrumentalist in music circles. This disparity would become an important aside when pursuing her dream of starting a nontraditional jazz orchestra. As founder of 7th Street Big Band, this intention couldn’t be truer in the gender-balanced, mostly Millennial, Bay Area group of musicians with a sound that draws as much influence from pop, funk, and hip-hop as it does jazz. Gabby is also the co-founder of Francis Experience. 7th Street Big Band’s debut album, “Off Cinderella Lane” (2018), and their sophomore album, “Post Hang!” are available on all streaming platforms.  

Bennett Roth (keys) is a pianist/keyboardist, composer/arranger, emcee, producer, and multi-genre music educator based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Bennett began piano lessons when he was 7 years old and by age 10 became fascinated with the music of jazz. After playing mostly classical music during his first few years of studying piano, Bennett set off on a path of learning jazz standards and immersed himself in the music of the jazz giants—especially of legendary jazz pianists Dave Brubeck, Thelonious Monk, and Bill Evans—while practicing determinedly to develop his sound on the piano as an improviser. Jazz gave way to hip-hop as soon as he became a teenager, and Bennett soon found himself writing rhymes and crafting beats. His lyrical pursuits, piano chops, and production ambitions have made him a frequent contributor to numerous hip-hop, jazz, R&B, and soul albums as an emcee, pianist, composer, writer, and arranger. His discography includes his most recent single, “No Hay Corona” (2023); his solo debut album, “Grown” (2022); the duo album “After You” (2015) alongside guitarist Mason Razavi; “The Bad Ones” self-titled debut (2016), with 6 credited compositions; and “Put It Out” (2019), a 4-song hip-hop and jazz-influenced EP.

Miguel “Frunkyman” Leyva (bass) is a Bay Area-based bassist and composer who recently graduated from SJSU’s Jazz Studies Masters program. He spends his time working as a session musician, arranger, and composer for different media outlets, mostly cinematic projects in Los Angeles, where he obtained an undergraduate degree in media composition at CSUN. His passion for jazz and funk has compelled him to create and hone the Frunkyman sound concept /experience for the past year. The cosmically eccentric sound adorned with elaborate funk convolutions and electronic elements has been a new sound in the Bay Area, with notable performances at Blues and Brews Festival, San José Museum of Art, and San Jose Jazz Summer Fest. Projects he’s been involved in include Genius: Picasso, FIFA 2018, Drifting Dragons, and the Video Game Awards 2018. Frunkyman released two singles, “Friendzone” and “Fank Musique,” in 2023 available on all streaming platforms.

Special Guest Appearance

Mark Arroyo is a guitarist who mixes his love of jazz, funk, rock, hip-hop, dub, and electronic music to create a sound both foreign and familiar. His musical curiosity is on display in original compositions performed by The Mark Arroyo Trio, with a sensibility bridging modern jazz and the indie-rock underground. Arroyo is a Grantee of the 2021 SJZ Jazz Aid Fund, an excerpt from the commissioned piece "Pulse in Isolation" is available at

Illuminate SJ now! 

Illuminate SJ Now!'s mission is to transform downtown San José into a global epicenter of artistic innovation and creativity. Through pioneering immersive public art, Illuminate SJ Now! showcases large-scale illuminated, animated and projection-mapped murals and landmarks that pay homage to our city's heritage while pushing the limits of creative expression. 

By seamlessly blending art with urban spaces, Illuminate SJ Now! strives to ignite the imagination of both residents and visitors alike, fostering an inclusive and vibrant community that celebrates the profound power of artistic storytelling. Together, they aspire to establish downtown San José as an inspiring destination that not only connects people, but leave an indelible and transformative impact on all who encounter its extraordinary art scene.

Rosanna Alvarez

Rosanna Alvarez is a poet, international award-winning author, and multifaceted interdisciplinary storyteller whose work transgresses categorization. In addition to teaching within the Chicana and Chicano Studies Department at San José State University, she is the creative force behind Citlali Rose LLC, the voice of the sometimes Hella Chingona Podcast, and the co-founder and Editorial Director of the beloved EASTSIDE Magazine. Her award-winning poetry collection Braided [Un]Be-Longing is a 2023 International Book Awards honoree earning a silver medal for The Juan Felipe Herrera Best Poetry Book Award and a bronze medal for Best Cover Design.  Rosanna is a fellow with Anaphora Arts, a member of the Macondo Writers Workshop, and an alum of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute of Silicon Valley, VONA, and Tin House. A native Chicana of East San José, she grew up as the first-born of nine siblings in a loud and loving Mexican family. She remains in awe of the power of storytelling with heart in hand, ink to page, always hollering truths.