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Healdsburg Jazz Festival presents "Jazz and the Music of the Americas"

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A special program over the first weekend of Healdsburg Jazz Festival’s 17th Year

HEALDSBURG, CALIF. As the 17th annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival prepares for launch, starting on May 29 and running for 10 day to June 7, a strong point of cultural focus and excitement is a special two-day program, “Jazz and the Music of the Americas,” made possible by a generous grant from the NEA. In the heart of the scenic and savory Sonoma wine country, festival goers will have the opportunity to take in some of the prominent voices at the long-rooted juncture of jazz and Latin America music, on two successive weekend nights at the Jackson Theater, 4400 Day School Place, Santa Rosa.

Saturday, May 30 focuses on the music of Brazil, with legendary vocalist Luciana Souza in a duo with Brazilian guitarist Romero Lumbabo, plus the veteran group Trio da Paz with special guest, the eminent pianist Kenny Barron. The two Brazilian-centered collaborative groups epitomize the happy and ongoing artistic marriage of jazz and musical things Brazilian.

Brazil’s contributions to and collaborations with jazz has a special rhythmic emphasis, as bossa nova and samba blend freely and richly within the language of jazz. Brazilian music’s harmonic sophistication and its endemic sense of “swing” makes for an easy rapport with the vocabularies of jazz.

On Sunday, May 31, the scene shifts to Argentina and the Caribbean, the first region featuring reigning Argentine “nuevo tango” master Pablo Ziegler, a commanding pianist-composer and bandleader, and a right-hand musical ally of the late Astor Piazzolla for a decade. Ziegler has been the acknowledged heir to Piazzolla’s legacy, and has become a formidable jazz-tango artist in his own right.

The program concludes with a hot set of Caribbean-flavored arrangements from pioneer Eddie Palmieri, fronting his own Latin Jazz Septet. Palmieri, from Spanish Harlem with deep Puerto Rican roots, fully qualifies as an important “living legend” of Latin Jazz—and one who continues to disseminate musical energy and vision. Palmieri’s natural hybridizing musical work reaches back to his N.Y.C. band La Perfecta from a half century ago.

“Jazz and the Music of the Americas” is a two-day celebration held at the Jackson Theater in north Santa Rosa, interweaving musicians and idioms from Brazil, Argentina, and points Caribbean. Reserved tickets are available at $35, $45 and $65 levels; more information at healdsburgjazz.org or by phone 707-433-4644.

Additional material on these programs:

Saturday, May 30

Set 1: Luciana Souza Brazilian Duos with Romero Lubambo

Luciana Souza, a Brazilian legend and a masterful and subtle vocalist by any standard, will be in good, compatriot company in a duo with the sensitive Brazilian guitarist Lumbabo, a pairing with deep history and widespread acclaim, as heard on her album Duos III. She is one of Brazil’s most stellar, lyrical and flexible vocal exports –whose resume includes work with Paul Simon, Herbie Hancock, James Taylor and Osvaldo Golijov along with her own luminous, multiple Grammy-nominated solo career—and this signature duo setting lives up to its more-with-less dimensions. In Healdsburg, the duo will make beautiful music together, working two parts towards a greater whole, and ever-steeped in bold, proud Brazilian heritage.

Set 2: Trio da Paz with special guest Kenny Barron

Brazil’s potent musical contribution to the world of jazz continues with Trio da Paz, a stellar gathering of top Brazilian musicians Lubambo, bassist Nilson Matta and drummer Duduka da Fonseca. In Healdsburg, the occasion is made all the more special with the addition of luminous and lyrical pianist Kenny Barron. From their debut recording, Brazil from the Inside, through a discography including Partido Out, Café and Somewhere, the trio’s reputation has paved the way for the group’s many collaborations with notable figures from jazz, including piano master Kenny Barron, joining the trio this evening.

Barron is considered to be one of the dominant, tasteful and most distinctive voices on the contemporary jazz piano landscape today. As represented on Barron’s luminous fine 2002 album Canta Brazil, featuring Trio da Paz, the lyrical and ever-curious pianist’s innately broad palette extends to the Brazilian patois, and the musicians involved in this pact engage in a persuasive and perfectly natural dialogue between compatible compadres. Barron’s passion for Brazilian music has continued into his recent era. The Trio da Paz and Kenny Barron reunion will be doubtless be a memorable occasion.

Sunday, May 31

Set 1: Pablo Ziegler Jazz Trio for New Tango

If newer to the cross-cultural pact of jazz and South American than Brazil or Cuba, Argentina has come into its own as a cultural hot zone, thanks largely to the formidable jazz-linked innovations famed, late “nuevo tango” master Astor Piazzolla. Pablo Ziegler. Ziegler, who has also worked with Gary Burton and on the stricter jazz end of the spectrum, was a Piazzolla band member and co-creator of the jazz-inflected, improvisation-charged “Nuevo Tango” idiom. In Healdsburg, he will hold forth with his Jazz Trio for New Tango, with Hector del Curto on bandoneon (the Argentine concertina) and Claudio Ragazzi on guitar complementing the leader’s powerful piano work.

Set 2: Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Septet

When it comes to Latin Jazz, few names carry as much caché as Eddie Palmieri, the still-vibrant and super-charged pianist. His legacy has been cemented in recent years with his being laureled as an NEA Jazz Master and given a “Lifetime Achievement” award at the Latin Grammys. Palmieri’s band and musical energies are very much alive and afire in the present day, as the ageless powerhouse brings his Latin Jazz Septet to Healdsburg with Jonathan Powell on trumpet, Louis Fouche on alto sax, bassist Luques Curtis and the all-important percussion drive train of Anthony Carrillo on bongos, Vincente “Little Johnny” Rivero on congas and timbalero Camilo Molina. Seven voices in the band, tightly interwoven, and decades of musical wisdom from the exuberant, smile-ready leader’s perch add up to a repeatedly unforgettable listening experience. Expect the same in Healdsburg.

Other Festival highlights

The Healdsburg Jazz Festival presents with a full slate of music starting Friday May 29 with the opening night performance with singer Ed Reed (in a tribute to the John Coltrane/Johnny Hartmann partnership), followed by the Jazz and the Music of the Americas all weekend long. On Sunday, May 31, enjoy a Blues Brunch with Terrie Odabi and Evolution Blues; Tuesday June 2 brings Ritmos Unidas in the Healdsburg Plaza; Thursday June 4 finds the Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz / Jazz Latin Quintet at Shed; plus various jazz-and-wine pairings at different restaurants on weeknights.

The weekend kicks on with the Friday night concert at the Raven featuring the Benny Green Trio, followed on Saturday at the Raven with the all-star hard bop group The Cookers. The Festival ends in grand style on Sunday, June 7, with an afternoon of New Orleans on the Green at Dry Creek Vineyards, climaxing with the George Cables Trio and guest saxophonist Craig Handy, on Sunday night at the Raven. Once again the Healdsburg Jazz Festival lives up to its strong and growing reputation as one of the West Coast’s prime jazz events, attracting both discerning and casual fans of jazz. Come for the musical essence and festive spirit, and savor the wine country balm and beauty. It’s a match made in Northern California.

JACKSON THEATER
4400 Day School Place
Santa Rosa
7:30PM | $65 | $45 | $35
Reserved seating

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