A Latin Jazz Festival Finale

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 (see seating notes below)
Winery sponsor Rodney Strong Vineyards
Food Vendors: Fork Catering, Killer Baking Co. and Wurst Sausage Grill


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.

Seating notes: The $65 ticket includes a standard-size folding chair under a shade canopy. Chairs and canopy are supplied. There are no chairs and no shade supplied for the $45 ticket, it’s open seating in the grassy area in front of the stage. The “low chair, no umbrellas” request is for those seated in this front area or elsewhere on the viewing grounds.

Claudia Villela (Ron Jones)

Opening the show, Rio de Janeiro-raised Claudia Villela is primed to mesmerize the crowd with the haunting vocals and powerful piano playing that have made her a top attraction of Brazilian music. She dominated at our 2009 Latin Jazz in Concert, and continues to gain new fans with every appearance.

Her band is bolstered by the stunning and complex guitar playing of her longtime companion, guitarist Ricardo Peixoto, and the versatile percussion of Brian Rice, a master of an entire range of Latin instruments including the pandeiro hand drum critical to the music of Brazil. Prepare to be mesmerized, and don’t forget to samba. Visit claudiavillela.com

Then 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.


When 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. Visit ponchosanchez.com

For more about the venue, see our Festival FAQ.