Sonoma County has a small but dedicated cadre of jazz fans. Their efforts, both as producers and consumers of the music, contribute significantly to the North Bay’s quality of life. In addition to major festivals like Healdsburg, jazz performances and education regularly take place in smaller venues and informal settings.
Sonoma State’s Jazz Forum series offers a case in point. Boasting a reputation for hosting living legends and rising stars, the series provides community members with free, up-close encounters with significant artists. The events are presented at 1 p.m. Wednesdays in Green Music Center Room 1029 on the Sonoma State campus.
This being Wednesday, the forum continues this afternoon with vocalist Kathy Kosins (above). She began her singing career in the ‘80s with Was/Not Was and over the years has added composer-arranger, educator and painter to her resume. She performs with Ken Cook (piano), John Wittala (bass) and Akira Tana (drums), all formidable Bay Area talents.
Next up in the series is an October 30 date with the Sonoma State Jazz Faculty Ensemble featuring Dave Scott (trumpet), Kasey Knudsen (saxophone), Ken Cook (piano), Randy Vincent (guitar), Cliff Hugo (bass) and Will Johnson (keyboards). That will be followed November 20 by Jim Snidero, whose credits range from Brother Jack McDuff and the Mingus Big Band to Frank Sinatra and Sting. He will discuss Jazz Conception Company, a series of groundbreaking multimedia music education tools.
Sonoma County’s ardor for the music is such that it actually supports a jazz-ish radio station, KJZY. In addition to including smooth and straight-ahead jazz on its largely pop playlist, the station presents our Jazzy After Work concerts from 5:30-8 p.m. at some of the region’s top locations.
Thursday’s show is set for the Viansa Winery and Marketplace in Sonoma and features the Bay Area Zydeco outfit Gator Nation along with gourmet food, top-flight wines, door prizes and more. The next concert is set for November 13 at John Ash & Co. in Santa Rosa and will showcase the music of Vernell Anders and V-Train.
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