Healdsburg Jazz Festival Announces 2014 Headliners
featuring a two-day Celebration of the Blues
honoring Charlie Musselwhite
Festival dates: May 31-June 8, 2014
The 16th Annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival once again brings a wide array of jazz styles to Sonoma Country’s wine country destination, from May 30 – June 10. The 10 days of music will include a two day mini festival “Celebrating the Blues,” with Charlie Musselwhite and Joshua Redman, jazz legend Ron Carter and his quartet, Latin jazz maestro Poncho Sanchez with an all-star Octet, plus a rare West Coast appearance of the grand piano duo, Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes. More acts will be announced soon.
2014 Festival Highlights the Blues
“Celebrating the Blues” – A Two day Mini-Festival May 31-June 1 at Santa Rosa’s Jackson Theater
Area resident and event musical director, Charlie Musselwhite curates this special two day event that will take the audience on a historical musical journey exploring the roots of blues, its relationship to jazz and the universal influence Blues has on many of today’s musical art forms. The event will showcase and honor Musselwhite’s diverse talent and contribution to the music world. The project has been awarded $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for Arts (NEA) to enable this very unique musical production.
This project has been years in the making. Even though Musselwhite lives in this area, he is rarely home, due to his extremely busy touring schedule. His most recent project, recording and tour with singer-songwriter Ben Harper, resulted in their Grammy nominated CD “Get Up!” The CD was nominated both in the American Roots / Blues category, and for a music film of the making of the CD, “I’m In I’m Out And I’m Gone.” Musselwhite is nominated for a third Grammy, also in the American Roots / Blues category, for his role on the tribute CD “Remembering Little Walter.”
Saturday, May 31: Blues Meets Jazz, Jackson Theater, Santa Rosa
Set 1 – “Blues On the Porch”
An unplugged acoustic set with Charlie with his friends and special guests Elvin Bishop and Guy Davis. These three musicians will play and tell tales, separately and together demonstrating the widespread influence of the blues throughout much of 20th century music. Electric guitarist-singer-songwriter Elvin Bishop was a founding member of the seminal Paul Butterfield Blues Band; Guy Davis is an actor, educator and life-long acoustic blues musician.
Set 2 – “Continental Drifter” Revisited
In 1999 Charlie Musselwhite recorded in Europe the critically acclaimed album “Continental Drifter,” with Cuban’s Eliades Ochoa and Cuarteto Patria. For this program musician, educator and historian, John Santos Y Sus Soneros will help re-create the rhythmic Son style from the recording. The band includes musicians versed in this style, including two Cuban-born musicians, Perico Hernandez and percussionist Orestes Vilató (formerly of Santana’s band). Musselwhite’s 1999 recording of Cuban standards such as “Chan Chan” and “Sabroso,” with English-language lyrics he wrote for this session, will be brought back to life on the Jackson stage during this evening’s performance.
Sunday, June 1: Jazz Meets Blues, Jackson Theater, Santa Rosa
Set 1 – Joshua Redman Quartet with special guest Charlie Musselwhite
Bay Area saxophone star Joshua Redman will bring his Quartet to the stage, exploring the blues roots of more contemporary jazz, with Musselwhite joining in for several numbers. Redman’s quartet including piano, bass and drums, carries on the charismatic saxophonist’s jazz vision, one that emphasizes not only jazz traditions but cutting-edge experimentation in his always-evolving musical expressions.
Set 2 – Charlie Musselwhite Group with special guest Joshua Redman
For the grand finale of the two days, Charlie Musselwhite Blues Band will take the stage, featuring June Core on drums, Steve Froberg on bass and Matt Stubbs on guitar, with the saxophonist Redman sitting in for some “alive and kicking” blues tunes to conclude the Celebration of the Blues.
Other Festival Highlights
A number of other concerts for the 2014 Healdsburg Jazz Festival have also been announced. The 10-day event will begin on Friday, May 30, and continues with daily concerts and club shows through the week until the Festival Finale the following Sunday, June 8. Currently scheduled highlights include:
Thursday, June 5, Raven Theater, Healdsburg
Original music composed by Marcus Shelby from his suite “Harriet Tubman, Bound for the Promised Land” with the 19-piece Marcus Shelby Orchestra featuring Faye Carol plus the HJF Freedom Jazz Choir, a 100-member all volunteer community chorus, The oratorio tells the compelling story of Tubman, a woman who escaped slavery and dedicated herself to challenging the grave injustices in her day.
Friday, June 6, Raven Theater, Healdsburg
Two of the premier pianists in jazz, Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes will perform a two-piano concert. Charlap is a two-time Grammy nominee, and Rosnes has garnered four Juno Awards (the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy). The couple’s debut CD, “Double Portrait” (Blue Note) reflects not only their artistic kinship but their personal relationship as husband and wife too. This Raven Theater concert will mark their first joint appearance locally.
Saturday, June 7, Raven Theater, Healdsburg
The Ron Carter Quartet, fronted by the legendary bassist, will perform at Healdsburg’s Raven Theater. Carter has appeared on over 2,500 albums since his recording career began in 1960 with Eric Dolphy. His appearance at the Healdsburg Jazz Festival continues its tradition of bringing legendary musicians to Healdsburg’s Raven Theater, a list that includes Roy Haynes, McCoy Tyner, Pharaoh Sanders, Charlie Haden, Charles Lloyd, the late Jim Hall, and many others.
Sunday, June 8, Rodney Strong Vineyards
Sunday’s finale at Rodney Strong Vineyards promises to be another popular Latin Jazz extravaganza, with Grammy winning bandleader and salsa singer Poncho Sanchez And His Latin Jazz Band. Also on the bill will be the Claudia Villela Trio, featuring Villela’s haunting improvisations and her surprising five-octave range in a set ranging from Brazilian baroque to bossa nova to free jazz.
Tickets for all 2014 Healdsburg Jazz Festival events will be available in March, 2014.
ABOUT THE HEALDSBURG JAZZ FESTIVAL: Founded in 1999 by artistic director Jessica Felix, the Festival enters its 16th year with another full program of jazz artists exploring the many facets of America’s premier musical art form, from back-porch blues to post-bop experimentation.
In addition to the annual Festival, held the first week of June each year, the non-profit 501(c)(3) organization sponsors numerous music education programs in Healdsburg area schools for primary and secondary school students, and presents a series of Jazz Masters” concerts throughout the year.