No Time Out for Jazz

Look at the time! It’s already Tuesday, May 24 (Bob Dylan’s 70th, but who’s counting?), and the Healdsburg Jazz Festival begins next week, with Opening Night at the Raven on Friday June 3, followed by a Jazz Weekend at Rec Park, June 4 & 5.

After all that, maybe it’s time take a break from the big events and chill out. Have a jazz and wine dinner at the Dry Creek Kitchen, picnic in the Plaza with a young and energetic jazz band, then bossa nova on down to Brazil Night at the Bakery.

Jazz Guitar TrioJUNE 6, MONDAY — Jazz and Wine Dinner at DCK (7- 10 pm)

Let’s start with the venue — Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen, a local destination for fine cuisine from the celebrity chef, founder of “progressive American cuisine.” The guy has restaurants in Las Vegas, Washington DC, Dallas, several in Reno and New York and Healdsburg. DCK (as we call it here) will feature a three-course Sonoma Neighbors Menu this Monday night that’s sure to be given a special jazzy twist.

Why? Three fluid, inventive, and overall tasteful guitarists. John Stowell used to gig with vibes legends Milt Jackson and Lionel Hampton, Randy Vincent has gone straight jazz to Latin avant garde, and Kai Devitt-Lee is the hottest teenage jazz guitarist in the state. (More about that later.) Mix this three-course guitar trio with your progressive American cuisine and some Sonoma County wine. What could go wrong? No tickets necessary, just reservations, dinner, jazz and wine. More info here.

JUNE 7, TUESDAY —Jazz in the Healdsburg Plaza (6 – 8 pm)

SFJazz BandFor almost a quarter century Healdsburg has hosted free locals concerts in the Plaza on Tuesday nights. And for half that time the HJF has introduced regional and even national jazz talents to town. Don’t thank us just come and have fun!

The SFJazz High School All-Stars Jazz Orchestra is made up just that, the state’s best jazz talent in the 14-18 age bracket (give or take), selected to put on some show-stopping big band jazz at the San Francisco Jazz Festival every year. This year, they picked up on Kai Devitt-Lee of Healdsburg High, the first-ever local musicians to make the stage. So this is your chance to see big band jazz on the bandstand in Healdsburg. Free. More info here.

JUNE 8, WEDNESDAY — Brazil Night at the Bakery (7 – 10 pm)

Earlier this year we had a jazz party at Costeaux French Bakery and Café, an established business in town but newly remodeled. It was a big hit, a fitting climax to our Jazz on the Menu benefit. Our members and friends begged for more.

Sandy CressmanSo here it is: Brazil Night at the Bakery, a festive mid-week carnival in wine country. On stage: Sandy Cressman, long the signanture voice of Brazil’s music to Bay Area ears. Her “Homenagem Brasileira” is a classic of West Coast bossa nova, and she also embraces Flamenco, Cuban and other Latin styles. Also on stage will be Peter Barshay, Rich Kuhns and Kendrick Freeman.

With them will be Natalie Cressman, the talented 19-year old on summer vacation from the Manhattan School of Music and a rising star in jazz trombone and vocals. Guess what: She was in the SFJazz High School All-Stars just a couple years ago. It’s all beginning to make sense, isn’t it?

As an added treat, the Healdsburg High School Jazz Band will open the evening show. These youngsters carry on the tradition of talented combos coming out of our local schools (we modestly share the credit through our Jazz Education Programs), and this year they include Kai Devitt-Lee on guitar (see Monday, June 6 above), Oliver Lipton on drums, Haden Shoup on bass, Trevor O’Connor playing trumpet, Colin Deas on tenor sax and Ester Unti on trombone. All are under the direction of Lorca Hart, and they know their jazz! More info and tickets here.

Hard to believe, but we’re not done yet. Watch for our next Festival Coundown e-blast later this week on the magical, mysterious and magnificent Motéma Music Night!

REMEMBER: Many if not most of the artists appearing at the 13th annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival are donating their time and performances to help the Festival stay healthy for the coming years. We extend them our deepest gratitude, and hope you support their generoisty with your attendance.

Tickets are on sale for the Festival by walk-up or online, or just go to the 2011 Festival Schedule page to find links to each concert with tickets.

Keep reading our e-blasts, visit our Facebook page, tune in to our Twitter and check on the Website for updated information on all Festival events. See you at the 13th Annual Healdsburg Jazz Festivaldon’t miss it this time!