Labor Day weekend is fast approaching and if you’ve yet to formalize your out-of-town plans, let me make a suggestion – Healdsburg.
Yes, I know, not a particularly revelatory idea. The Sonoma County wine country’s rolling hills, slower pace and fine restaurants and shopping are likely to leap to any Northern Californian’s mind when contemplating the best way to spend the end-of-summer weekend. That said, Healdsburg carries extra appeal this weekend for jazz fans.
The Healdsburg Jazz Festival on Sunday will present Jazz Bliss Brazil at the Healdsburg Center for the Arts. The 7 p.m. set has sold out but $25 tickets remain for the 9 p.m. performance. Proceeds benefit the festival’s ongoing jazz education program.
The Los Angeles-based ensemble features Carol Bach-y-Rita (vocals and percussion), Robert Kyle (saxophone and flute), and Larry Steen (bass). They will be joined by special guests Chico Pinheiro (guitar) and Mauricio Zottarelli (drums). Here’s the lowdown from the HJF website:
Jazz Bliss Brazil is an exciting, eclectic ensemble pulsating with the vibrancy of classic American Jazz and the music of the Americas, chiefly Brazil. Carol Bach-y-Rita is fluent in five languages, singing mainly in English, Spanish and Portuguese. She has lived in a multitude of countries and spent many years touring Europe and the U.S. singing Jazz and bossa nova.
Robert Kyle has toured the world many times over as musical director/arranger/composer and lead player for a multitude of stars as well as in his own right. Moving brilliantly among jazz, blues, salsa and Brazilian genres, Robert is the main arranger for Jazz Bliss Brazil. Larry Steen, who shares the bass duties with the L.A.-based Latin Jazz band, has been a collaborator in studio and live performance with masters such as Ella Fitzgerald and Mel Torme, plus Ernie Watts, Robben Ford and even Jimmy Buffett.
You can indeed make a full jazz weekend of it in Healdsburg. Stop by Seasons in the Vineyard at 4 p.m. Saturday to taste wine and sample live jazz featuring Fred Randolph (bass), Alex Murzyn (saxophone), Grant Levin (piano) and Greg Wyser-Pratte (drums). The ensemble specializes in “riveting, multi-layered compositions ranging from straight-ahead to bebop and world.” From there, head over to the Hotel Healdsburg for the weekly Jazz in the Lobby. Saturday’s installment runs 6:30-9:30 p.m. and features the Lorca Hart piano trio.
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