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June 8 – Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band

with the Claudia Villela Trio

Poncho SanchezWhen: Sunday, June 8
Where: Rodney Strong Vineyards, 11455 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg
Time: 3 pm (Gates open 2 pm)
Tickets: $65 | $45
Children 10 and under FREE | Low chairs only, no umbrellas
Winery sponsor Rodney Strong Vineyards


Mind, heart and feet will be the main attributes at the Festival Finale, as Latin jazz stars Poncho Sanchez and Claudia Villela supply grooves for dancing and grist for the imagination at Rodney Strong Vineyards. Opening the show, Rio de Janeiro-raised Villela is set to mesmerize the crowd with the haunting vocals and powerful piano playing that have made her a top attraction of Brazilian music, bolstered by the stunning and complex guitar playing of her longtime companion, guitarist, Ricardo Peixoto and the versatile percussion of Brian Rice who is a master of an entire range of Latin instruments including the pandeiro, a hand drum critical to the music of Brazil.

Claudia Villela (Ron Jones)Anyone mesmerized by the end of Villela’s set won’t stay that way once Poncho Sanchez takes the stage with his eight-piece Latin Jazz Band, pushing the deep grooves that have made him the country’s most consistently popular Latin jazz artist. For more than 30 years Sanchez has done the good work of fusing dance music to modern jazz with an effortlessness that masks the virtuosity underneath. The result? The grooves get you moving while the solos dazzle.

As befits a Mexican-American who dove headlong into Afro-Cuban jazz in his early days, singer and conguero Sanchez delivers a true musical fusion. His pan Latin mastery has made him a valuable contributor to the music of Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria, Eddie Harris, Freddie Hubbard, Tito Puente and many more, and earned him a Grammy award for his own album Latin Soul, one of 25 discs he’s recorded for Concord. As Sanchez plays, his arms tell the story, moving elastically as they translate currents from the heart and mind into a mile-wide clave. Whether he’s delivering a cha-cha, bolero, timba or mambo, the rhythms and the riffs make sitting still impossible.

His band consists of Sanchez on congas and lead vocals, Francisco Torres on trombone, Ron Blake on trumpet and flugelhorn, Joey De Leon Jr. on timbales, Rob Hardt on saxophones and flute, Andy Langham on piano, Rene Camacho on bass, and Angel Rodriguez on bongos and percussion.


June 8 – Charles Lloyd & Zakir Hussain Workshop

Common Ground Youth Workshop 

Charles Lloyd (George Wells)What: Free interactive workshop for students K-12
When: Sunday morning, June 8
Where: Raven Theater, 115 North St., Healdsburg
Time: 11 am
Tickets: Students k-12 free / Adults $25, must be accompanied by a student.
All seats must be reserved by credit card, available by phone only. Monday-Friday, 11 am – 4 pm, (707) 433-4644

A great friend of the Healdsburg Jazz Festival, saxophone sage Charles Lloyd returns on June 8 in collaboration with tabla legend Zakir Hussain and dancer Antonia Minnecola to present a free interactive workshop geared for youth, called “Common Ground.”

Zakir Hussain (George Wells)Anyone who has listened to Lloyd and Hussain’s band Sangam knows how well the saxophone and tablas match up. At the workshop the musicians will discuss the instruments’ mechanisms and histories and demonstrate how versatile they are in cross-cultural projects, including working with dancers like Minnecola, one of American’s leading exponents of kathak, the rhythmic and expressive dance of North India.

Funded in part by the City of Healdsburg.

June 7 – Other Saturday Events

Seasons, Vintners and Jazz in the Lobby

Benny Barth

Benny Barth Trio

When: Saturday Afternoon, June 7
Where: Seasons of the Vineyard, 113 Plaza St., Healdsburg
Time: 4 – 6:00 pm
No cover
Ferrari-Carano Winery

At 85 years old, Benny Barth is jazz history personified. He’s played drums behind Duke Ellington, Ben Webster, Wes Montgomery and on and on. He played the at first Monterey Jazz Festival in 1958 with his band the Mastersounds, and at the 50th one in 2007 with the Benny Barth Trio, featuring Randy Vincent on guitar and Chris Amberger on bass. This same trio will be a treat for Healdsburg Jazz Festival goers the afternoon of June 7. Watch them live it and love it.

Meet the Vintners: A Jazz & Wine Club Event

Drink wine? Support jazz!With jazz piano from Susan Sutton

When: Saturday Afternoon, June 7
Where: Erickson Fine Art Gallery, 324 Healdsburg Ave.
Time: 4 – 6:00 pm  Free: Sponsored by

Meet the owners and winemakers of Tympany Wines, Lynda and Louis Jordan. Their cabernet is one of the four bottles included in the June Wine Club Sampler. Stop by and taste the exceptional wine, listen to cool jazz piano by Susan Sutton and check out the gallery art.

Lorca Hart Trio

Lorca HartWhen: Saturday, June 7, 9 – Midnight
Where: Hotel Healdsburg Lobby, 25 Matheson St., Healdsburg
No cover
Winery sponsor Chalk Hill Winery

There are always surprises at the Healdsburg Jazz Festival, and one place you are almost guaranteed to find some is the Hotel Healdsburg. That’s where the musicians come to hang out after their gigs are done, and they often sit in with the band. And when the band is led by drummer Lorca Hart, anything is possible. Lorca is the son of one of jazz’s real drum legends, Billy Hart. Since he’s been hired by musicians ranging from Hugh Masakela to Julian Lage to Red Holloway, you can consider this Hart well seasoned. Come over to the Lobby and see for yourself.

June 7 – Ron Carter Quartet

and the Healdsburg High School Jazz Band

Ron Carter (FortunaSung)When: Saturday, June 7
Where: Raven Theater, 115 North Street, Healdsburg
Time: 7:30 pm
Tickets: $75 | $55 (Reserved Seating)
Event Sponsor: Voigt Family Sculpture Foundation

BPT_buy_tickets_smallThere aren’t really many superlatives in the lexicon that haven’t already been applied to bassist Ron Carter. Any major jazz figure between now and 1960 is likely to have utilized his services — he is more in demand than any other bass player. He’s appeared on more jazz albums than anyone else. He can contribute more to a band than practically anyone, on any instrument, could dream of.

From Eric Dolphy to Jim Hall to Antonio Carlos Jobim to Kenny Burrell to Roberta Flack to Paul Desmond to McCoy Tyner to A Tribe Called Quest to Phoebe Snow to major symphony orchestras to Miles Davis— whose magical second quintet he anchored for five years—Ron has been the pulse, or as he likes to put it, “the quarterback.” He is an NEA Jazz Master, but as for the rest of his awards, international accolades, honorary degrees and directorships, feel free to Google him because there are too many to list here. He’s just done it all.

Well, not everything. For instance, he’s never performed at the Healdsburg Jazz Festival. Thankfully, that oversight is being rectified this summer. The 76-year-old bassist arrives with his quartet featuring three superb players: drummer Payton Crossley, percussionist Rolando Morales-Mattos, and pianist Renee Rosnes, whose spectacular skills will also be on display in the Raven Theater show on June 6.

This group romps through ballads, blues, sambas and a handful of Miles Davis tunes, with the elegant Carter always in the fore showing how exquisite touch, dead-on timing, astounding flexibility and a deep spirit can usher in transcendence. In a field where the word “legend” is overused, come and witness one of the real ones. The opening act tonight will be the Healdsburg High School Jazz Band, which under the tutelage of drummer Lorca Hart has achieved maximum swing.

Healdsburg High School Jazz Band with Lorca HartOpening the concert will be the year-end performance of the Healdsburg High School Jazz Band, a 7-piece combo featuring local students, many of whom have played together for three years. Lorca Hart, a jazz drummer who will lead his own quartet on Saturday night, June 7, at the Hotel Healdsburg Lobby, is the director of this exceptional student group. Expect a brass-heavy attack and solos from each of these talented young musicians.

June 6 – Other Friday Events

Wine & Food Pairings plus Jazz in the Lobby

Smith Dobson VSmith Dobson Quartet

When: Friday Afternoon, June 6
Where: Partake by K-J, 241 Healdsburg Ave.
Time: 5 – 7:00 pm
Reservations recommended: (707) 433-6000,

In Bay Area Jazz circles, the name Smith Dobson is quite a pedigree. Smith Dobson IV was a brilliant pianist and educator who worked with Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Bobby Hutcherson before his life was cut short in a car crash in 2001. Various family members are proudly bearing the torch, including Smith Dobson V.  He’s very focused on swinging, but always with an ear open to what’s new. With Dobson on saxophone, pianist Keith Saunders, bassist Doug Stuart and drummer Tony Johnson, this quartet will deliver a hard-driving set that balances past, present and future. The venue is Partake by K-J, Kendall-Jackson’s dining and tasting room in the center of Healdsburg just off the Healdsburg Plaza, for a Friday afternoon “Happy Hour” of food, wine and jazz – the way we like it.

Walter Savage’s Bucket List

Walter Savage

When: Friday Evening, June 6
Where: Hotel Healdsburg Lobby, 25 Matheson St.
Time: 9 pm – Midnight
No Cover.
Winery sponsor Chalk Hill Winery

A Bay Area bass mainstay for many years, Walter Savage always brings something extra thanks to his desire to get his instrument front and center without ever losing the groove. Now living in Arkansas, the bassist has always wanted to play the Healdsburg Jazz Festival – it‘s on his “bucket list,” hence the band name. It’s going to be a Healdsburg reunion for Walter and some of the cream of Bay Area jazz artists: pianist Glen Pearson, saxophonist Dave Ellis and drummer Darrell Green.  And since it’s after-hours for the Raven Theater crowd, who knows who will show up in the audience – or on the bandstand?

June 6 – Bill Charlap & Renee Rosnes Piano Duo plus…

With Special Guest Bobby Hutcherson

Renee Rosnes and Bill CharlapWhen: Friday, June 6
Where: Raven Theater, 115 North St., Healdsburg
Time: 7:30 pm
Tickets: Reserved Seating $65 | $45

BPT_buy_tickets_smallElegance, impeccability, adventure, swing, dynamism, sass—these are some of the qualities Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes each bring to the grand piano. Put the two together— which is easy to do as they’re married — and you have something like the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of jazz piano. Yes, they are that good. After years of recording in their own respective bands and as sidepeople with a host of jazz greats, Bill and Renee released Double Portrait in 2010, and they’ll be assuming their tandem grand mode for the Healdsburg Jazz Festival.

Bobby HutchersonAs an added highlight, legendary jazz vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson will play with Charlap and Rosnes during the evening. Hutcherson has been a mentor as well as stage partner for the piano duo over the years, and Healdsburg Jazz is proud to welcome the NEA Jazz Master him back to town.

Despite the virtuosity Renee and Bill share, each has found different routes to the keys. Whereas Bill Charlap has displayed uncommon devotion to the standard repertoire, Renee is a prolific composer and pretty much game for anything. Born to Broadway composer Moose Charlap and singer Sandy Stewart, Bill—a two-time Grammy nominee—has worked with Tony Bennett, Phil Woods, Gerry Mulligan and Benny Carter, among others. Since 1997 he has led a trio with bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington that invites comparison to the great trios of Bill Evans.

A Canadian who has garnered four Juno awards (that country’s equivalent of the Grammys) and who recently discovered she has an East Indian heritage, Renee Rosnes has worked with Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson and J.J. Johnson. She served 20 years in saxophonist James Moody’s band, which gives you an idea of her bop bona fides, and she was the founding pianist for the SFJAZZ Collective.

Double Portrait, their recording together, displays each of their proclivities, with tunes that include Double Rainbow” by Jobim, “My Man’s Gone” by Gershwin, “Inner Urge” by Joe Henderson, “Chorinho” by Lyle Mays and “Dancing in the Dark” by Deitz & Schwartz. At Healdsburg Bill and Renee definitely will be dancing.

June 5 – Marcus Shelby and the Freedom Jazz Choir

Harriet Tubman: Bound for the Promised Land

Marcus Shelby and the Freedom Jazz ChoirWhen: Thursday, June 5
Where: Raven Theater, 115 North St., Healdsburg
Time: 7:00 pm
Tickets: $20

Buy ticketsThis is the climactic performance of Marcus Shelby‘s 2014 project with Healdsburg Jazz – the final performance of his oratorio Harriet Tubman: Bound for the Promised Land, featuring his 18-piece orchestra and the 100-strong voices of the HJF Freedom Jazz Choir. (See the post on earlier performances.)

The 17-piece jazz orchestra, featuring Faye Carol, will perform the musical suite for big band and choir inspired by the music of the Civil Rights Movement. Joining them for this evening will be Adam Ivey of the Santa Rosa Community Baptist Church, premiering two new compositions.


June 4 – Mads Tolling Quartet

Tribute to Jean-Luc Ponty

Mads Tolling QuartetWhen: Wednesday, June 4
Where: Spoonbar, 219 Healdsburg Ave.
Time: 7:30 – 10:30 pm
No Cover: Phone (707) 433-7222

Jazz fusion tends to get a bad rap. But, as Duke Ellington said, there are only two kinds of music: good and bad. So, get ready to meet some good fusion, courtesy of the Mads Tolling Quartet. Born and raised in Denmark, violinist Tolling came to the U.S. at age 20 to attend the Berklee College of Music, where his star rose quickly. While there, he was snapped up by fusion bass legend Stanley Clarke, and he later joined the Bay Area’s magnificent Turtle Island String Quartet, with whom he won two Grammy awards for Classical Crossover albums.

When it comes to combining jazz and classical sensibilities on violin, Tolling’s main model is indubitably the great French artist Jean-Luc Ponty, to whom he paid tribute on his recent album Celebrating Jean-Luc Ponty—Live at Yoshi’s. That celebration will continue at the Healdsburg Jazz Festival when Tolling brings his quartet into Spoonbar, where the jazz fans come to rock out. Featuring Dave McNab on guitar, Sam Bevan on bass and Eric Garland on drums, this band likes to plug in, and Spoonbar is the perfect place for it. Not to mention, with the way Tolling swings, Ellington would have hired him in a second.

June 3 – Carlitos Medrano y Sabor de Mi Cuba

Cuban Quartet at Partake by K-J

Carlitos MedranoWhen: Tuesday, June 3
Where: Partake by K-J, 241 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg
Time: 8 – 10:00 pm
Reservations recommended: (707) 433-6000,

Partake by K-J, “A Wine and Food Pairing Experience,” is Kendall-Jackson’s dining and tasting room in the center of Healdsburg. Here you can explore a wide range of wine flights to satisfy your curiosity and thirst. They offer a selection of seasonal bites driven by local gardens and Sonoma County’s culinary artisans.

At last year’s Healdsburg Jazz Festival, Cuban conga ace Carlitos Medrano and his band Sabor de Mi Cuba worked the crowd into a dance frenzy, so by popular demand they are returning this summer. Since he emigrated from Cuba in 2008, Carlitos has been a mainstay of Afro-Cuban jazz in the Bay Area. Find out why on June 3 when he brings his drums and band back to Partake with Sulkary Valverde, vocals; Antonio Cortada, bass; Julio Cesar, piano.

June 3 – Groovemasters with Rhonda Benin

Jazz at the Healdsburg Plaza

Rhonda Benin @ Healdsburg FestivalWhen: Tuesday, June 3
Where: Healdsburg Plaza, Healdsburg Ave. @ Matheson St.
Time: 6 – 8:00 pm | FREE

One of the highlights of the summer in Healdsburg are the Tuesdays in the Plaza, free two-hour concerts by artists from bluegrass to jazz, country to ethnic. For the past decade-plus the first Tuesday in June has been reserved for artists from the Healdsburg Jazz Festival, and this year we’re  pleased to present the Groovemasters, featuring the magnificent Rhonda Benin.

Classic soul, old-school R&B, tasty funk, down-home blues and straight-up jazz are all on this belter’s menu. Starting out as an L.A. background vocalist, Rhonda estimates she has sung on more than 100 albums. She moved to the Bay Area in 1989, joining Linda Tillery’s Cultural Heritage Ensemble, which exposed her to all the historical forms of African American music, and more.

The Groovemaster Band1Rhonda spends a lot of time educating kids about music and African American culture. But singing is mainly what she’s about, and with the Groovemasters—Lorenzo Hawkins on keyboards, Timm Walker on bass, Wilson Brooks on drums and Charles Spikes on guitar— she’s got the engine behind her to get the party started. And finished.

Healdsburg Jazz Festival
P.O. Box 266, Healdsburg, CA 95448
Telephone: (707) 433-4633 | Fax: (707) 431-8371

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