The little jazz festival that couldn’t quit is about to turn 20! And with many of the stars who have elevated it over the years returning to celebrate, it’s going to be a blowout for the ages. Launching with a bang, the 20th Healdsburg Jazz Festival opens with a duet between arguably the two most creative guitarists in all of jazz: Bill Frisell and Julian Lage. Here to celebrate not only the festival’s 20th but his own 80th birthday is Charles Lloyd, the brilliant saxophonist/flutist and jazz revolutionary who will perform with the great tabla master Zakir Hussain, Bill Frisell, and other top artists. A scintillating trio of saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, bassist Dave Holland, and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington offers a tribute to the late Geri Allen, the late pianist so beloved by the festival audience. Two of the top clarinetists in jazz are here – Anat Cohen, who will play with the fabulous Brazilian outfit Trio da Paz with yet another top tier guitarist, Romero Lubambo, and Dr. Michael White, closing out the fest with his back-to-the-future seven piece Original Liberty Jazz Band coming direct from New Orleans for this exclusive grand finale.
Three of the finest piano trios in the business will be setting up for the 20th – those led by the supremely elegant Fred Hersch, the genre-busting Marc Cary, and (health permitting) George Cables, the master of all things post-bop. Lorca Hart, a propulsive and big-eared drummer leading a spectacular trio, will be around at a couple of venues, and trombonist Adam Theis is bringing his Cosa Nostra Strings plus vocals, and spoken word from Emcee Infinite ( a.k.a Carlos Aguirre) a human beatbox extravaganza. John Santos, a master of all forms of Afro- and Latin-based percussion, and his Sextet perform “A Puerto Rico Mi Amor,” a lament for an island devastated and left behind. The Chris Amberger Trio, featuring Sonoma Country’s top jazz talent, will spin out standards and more.
The final weekend will be truly special. First, a massive festival of jazz blowing will ensue when the Festival All-Stars take the stage at the Raven. This group of Healdsburg Jazz Festival veterans consists of saxophonists Bobby Watson, Azar Lawrence and special guest Chico Freeman, trumpeter David Weiss, percussion wizard Babatunde Lea, Healdsburg Jazz’s favorite drummer Billy Hart, and a few other luminaries yet to be determined. Then, in a special morning event on the final day, one of Healdsburg Jazz’s proudest creations – the 100-strong Freedom Jazz Choir led by bassist/composer/educator Marcus Shelby – will perform Lift Every Voice and Sing, a concert of song featuring guest singer Ruth Naomi Floyd, guest conductor /composer James Newton, and Marcus’ Big Band. Combining jazz with Afro American gospel and spiritual traditions and an immense chorus consisting of singers from Healdsburg and the surrounding county, Lift Every Voice and Sing will provide an opportunity for our community to unify and heal after the horrific fires of the fall.
Jazz is about, among other things, renewal, and so it goes for Sonoma County and the Healdsburg Jazz Festival. It’s time to celebrate with amazing music, then start planning the next 20 years.
For More Information: healdsburgjazzfestival.org