Friday, December 26, 2008

This is not Jazz

This is Trinidad, CA, on Christmas day (yesterday). High surf advisory, highest in years.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008

RJA's Top Picks of the Year

Read all about it at our blog. As ever, Brother Michael Eldridge delivers the good with fab style.

Dr. Dave’s Top Ten Jazz Albums of 2008

Joe Locke. Force of Four.

Who's afraid of Vibes!? We gotta get this guy here! Very advanced hot bop-tradition music, like Woody Shaw's fierce playing transferred to vibes.

Dafnis Prieto. Taking the Soul for a Walk. Dafnison Music.
Prieto's RJA appearance (sans Avishai Cohen's trumpet) was like Zenon's, brilliantly evocative of the Caribbean roots of jazz. Live, the drumming is noisy and parade-like; the second horn makes the record more like a "concert" than the actual show.

Donny McCaslin. Recommended Tools. Greenleaf.

Donny's explores the trio as the "most intimate" configuration, and reveals a huge personality behind his sound. Terrific technique never suffered less for expression of emotion.

Bill Dixon with the Exploding Star Orchestra. Thrill Jockey.

I've heard several people, one a big swell who should know whereof he speaks, that Bill Dixon is coasting on his achievements of thirty years ago. Being one who coasts on the 70s—when you and I were young, Billy--I should be able to see it, but I don't. He's amazing. 83 is the new 40. I've been listening to small group and solo Dixon over the years, so hearing Dixon's round black tone inside this big band thing is an especial treat. It's cantankerous and fiddly and loud without being muddy, or fey, and I love it. And Mazurek is doing now what he'll "coast on" thirty years hence ….

Paolo Fresu. Mare Nostrum. ACT.

Richard Galliano on accordion and bandoneon is the real reason for this choice, though Paolo's muted horn, even more Miles-like than usual, is always perfect. This is the soundtrack to the European holiday in my head.

Bennie Maupin. Early Reflections. Cryptogramophone.

Sheer unadulterated pure scary beauty.

Miguel Zenon. Awake. Marsalis Music.

Zenon is the most driven of any contemporary artist working to extend the main stream of the music. He brings extraordinary energy to the original African-Caribbean-North American fusion. Using the past to find the future with compelling, vigorous resolution. And as a "genius" grantee, he now has the bucks to help him to it!

Ben Allison. Little Things Rule the World. Palmetto.

Program music for everyday life in the year of 2008. Program music for everyday life in the year of 2008.World. Palmetto.

Adam Kolker. Flag Day. Sunny Side

Nicholas Payton, Into the Blue. Nonesuch.

Extremely Honorable Mention

Mary Halvorson — Dragon's Head (Firehouse 12)

John Ellis. Dance Like There's No Tomorrow. HYENA.

David Sanchez. Cultural Survival. Concord Picante.

Harris Eisenstadt — Guewel (Clean Feed)

Conrad Herwig. Latin Side of John Coltrane. Reissue of My Year.

McCoy Tyner, Guitars. Half Note.

Don Cherry — Live at Cafe Montmartre 1966, Vol. 2 (ESP)

Things tipping over into next year (I haven't heard but want to):

Wadada Leo Smith's Golden Quartet — Tabligh (Cuneiform)

Chico Hamilton, Andrew Hill, Dreams Come True, Joyous Shout, 2008

Taylor Ho Bynum — Asphalt Flowers Forking Paths (Hatology)

Ari Hoenig, Bert's Playground (Dreyfus)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

On the Radio

RJA Radio, this week:

Manuel Valera: FORMA NUEVA “nebulism” 5:32
Manuel Valera (piano), Seamus Blake (saxophone), John Patitucci (bass),
Bill Stewart (drums)

- Michael Moore & Fred Hersch: THIS WE KNOW “spirit of 76” 3:28
Michael Moore (clarinet), Fred Hersch (piano)

- San Francisco Jazz Collective: LIVE 2008 TOUR “the year 2008” 12:04
Stefon Harris (vibraphone), Miguel Zenon (alto sax), Joe Lovano (tenor sax),
Robin Eubanks (trombone), Dave Douglas (trumpet), Renee Rosnes (piano),
Matt Penman (bass), Eric Harland (drums)

- Jason Llindner: PREMONITION “mr. demargary” 6:12
Jason Lindner (piano), Myron Walden (alto sax), Alex Norris (trumpet),
Omer Avital (bass), Daniel Freedman (drums)

- Quest: OF ONE MIND “of one mind” 6:12
David LIebman (soprano sax), Richie Beirach (piano), Ron McLure (bass),
Billy Hart (drums)

- Brad Mehldau Trio: HOUSE ON HILL “backyard” 5:44
Brad Mehldau (piano), Larry Grenadier (bass), Jorge Rossy (drums)

- Dave Holland Sextet: PASS IT ON “sum of all parts” 8:11
Dave Holland (bass), Antonio Hart (alto sax), Robin Eubanks (trombone),
Alex Sipiagin (trumpet), Mulgrew Miller (piano), Eric Harland (drums)

- William Parker Quartet: PETIT OISEAU “the golden bell” 6:26
William Parker (bass), Rob Brown (alto sax), Lewis Barnes (trumpet),
Hamid Drake (drums)

- Joe Locke: FORCE OF FOUR “like Joe” 6:12
Joe Locke (vibes), Robert Rodriguez (piano), Ricardo Rodriguez (bass),
Jonathan Blake (drums)

- Francisco Mela: CIRIO “benes” 8:21
Francisco Mela (drums), Jason Moran (piano), Mark Turner (tenor sax),
Lionel Loueke (guitar), Larry Grenadier (bass)

- Frank Kimbrough: LONELY WOMAN “20 bars” 6:41
Frank Kimbrough (piano), Ben Wolfe (bass), Jeff Williams (drums)

- Harry Beckett: WARM SMILES “tender is the sky” 7:34
Harry Beckett (trumpet), Mike Osborne (alto sax), Frank Ricotti (vibes),
John Taylor (piano), Chris Laurence (bass), John Webb (drums)

- Antonio Sanchez: MIGRATION “one for antonio” 9:01
Antonio Sanchez (drums), Chick Corea, (piano), Scott Colley (bass)

- Ron Horton: EVERYTHING IN A DREAM “saint ita’s vision” 8:10
Ron Horton (trumpet), John O’Gallagher (alto sax), Tony Malaby (tenor sax),
Frank Kimbrouigh (piano), Masa Kamaguchi (bass), Mike Sarin (drums)

- Carla Bley Big Band: APPEARING NIGHTLY “greasy gravy” 8:50
Carla Bley (piano, conducting), & featuring: Gary Valente (trombone),
Lew Soloff (trumpet), Andy Sheppard (tenor sax), Wolfgang Puschnig (alto)

- Manuel Valera: VIENTOS “a la interperie” 8:53
Manuel Valera (piano), Joel Frahm (saxophone), James Genus (bass),
Ernesto SImpson (drums)

Anat Cohen with Several Members of the RJA

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Top Ten Jazz Recordings for 2008

This little jeu d'esprit of jazz enthusiasts is coming up fast, parlor-game-wise.

Here's a whole bunch of them from The Jazzhouse.

Stay tuned for the RJA members' contributions.....

This one is gonna be great

Our last show of 2008 is a great one! We're proud to present the Anat
Cohen Quartet on Tuesday, December 9 at 8 pm in the Kate Buchanan Room on
the HSU campus.

Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for students and seniors and are
on sale now online at and
at Peoples Records and the Works in Arcata and Eureka.

The Israeli-born clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen is one of the most
heralded young jazz musicians today. The Jazz Journalists Association
named Anat Cohen its "Up and Coming Musician of the Year" for 2007, and
since then her profile has only grown: more awards from DownBeat and the
JJA; headlining gigs at the Village Vanguard; feature stories in Jazz
Times, DownBeat and on NPR; and a star turn at this year's Monterey Jazz
Festival. Live performances by her quartet have reviewers gushing. "Sheer
musicality is their guiding force," says Jazz Times; "they just see no
reason not to have a hell of a grand time playing." Here's a sampling of
her other recent press:

"Yes, she is the real deal."—The New York Times

"Cohen makes it seem easy, mixing a gift for melody and an improvisational
fluidity that has few peers today."—DownBeat Magazine

"Cohen has emerged as one of the brightest, most original young
instrumentalists in jazz...[she] has expanded the vocabulary of jazz with
a distinctive accent of her own."—The Washington Post

"She alludes to the mystical in a merry way."—The Village Voice

An accomplished bandleader and prolific composer, conversant in modern and
traditional jazz, classical music, Brazilian choro, Argentine tango, and a
wide range of Afro-Cuban styles, Anat Cohen has established herself as one
of the primary voices of her generation on clarinet and soprano and tenor

Her quartet includes another Israeli-born musician, Gilad Hekselman on
guitar, along with the Americans Joe Martin on bass (here last year with
David Berkman) and Daniel Freedman on drums.

For more about Cohen and to hear streaming audio of her music, go to

Become a member of the RJA and help us continue to bring world-class jazz
artists to Humboldt County.

The Redwood Jazz Alliance is a non-profit organization dedicated to jazz
performance and education by visiting artists in Humboldt County. For more
information about us, please visit our web site at

Friday, November 14, 2008

Should we not.... to this guy about coming round to Arcata next year, in Season #4?

Third Up!

You do understand, do you not, Dear Readers, that we here at RJA are professors, and as such we are BUSY!. They workin' our asses off nowadays in the American University, so we don't get around to fun stuff such as updating blogs as much as we should do.

This is all my way of saying: next up = ANAT COHEN!

And this is BIG!

Here's what appears about her in this morning's SF Chronicle:

The young Israeli-born clarinetist and saxophonist Anat Cohen plays with feeling, fervor and finesse on this wide-ranging record. Working with fellow improvisers Jason Linder on piano and Fender Rhodes, bassist Omer Avital, Daniel Freedman on drums and percussion and guitarist Gilad Hekselman, Cohen serves up a felicitous mix of originals and classics that move in fresh ways but never lose the melodic thread. They bring out the beauty and fire of "Siboney" by the great Cuban composer Ernesto Lecuona, the clarinetist unleashing a passionate solo in the dancing montuno section. She alternates between B-flat and bass clarinet on a moving version of John Coltrane's floating meditation "After the Rain," skitters and sails through a briskly invigorating take on Fats Waller's "Jitterbug Waltz" and gets to the soulful heart of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come."

There's also a really good pic of her there, and guess what? The players mentioned are the ones gonna be here! December 9, people. Get ready!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

First Up!

Our first show of the year is right around the corner! The Donny McCaslin
Trio (McCaslin on tenor sax, Hans Glawischnig on bass and Ted Poor on
drums) is playing Fulkerson Recital Hall this next Tuesday, September 9 at
8 pm.

For more about McCaslin and to hear streaming audio of his music, go to

Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for students and seniors and are
on sale now online at and
at Peoples Records, the Works in Arcata and Eureka and the Metro.

Speaking of the Metro, we're sure many of you have heard that they'll be
closing their doors for good later this month. The Metro was one of the
first local businesses to sign on as an RJA supporter and we'd like to
urge you to support them now. They're trying to sell off their entire
inventory and there are good discounts to be had. Go to the Metro this
weekend, get your Donny McCaslin tickets and buy a couple of CDs. It will
be much appreciated by the good people there.

We'll see you Tuesday night!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Donny McCaslin Interviewed

Jason Crane interviews saxophonist and composer Donny McCaslin about his new record, Recommended Tools (Greenleaf Music, 2008).

Donny McCaslin Starts New RJA Season

You can find this announcement at our main web page:

The New Season Opens in September!

Look Here for the Fall Schedule

First up: Donny McCaslin Trio
Tuesday, September 9, 2008 (8 p.m.) | Fulkerson Recital Hall, HSU

One of the most electrifying tenors on the current jazz scene, McCaslin--2008 DownBeat Critics "Rising Star Tenor Saxophonist" Poll winner--replaced Chris Potter in the Dave Douglas Quintet and has been a star member of the Maria Schneider Orchestra for the past five years. (He was nominated for a Grammy for his solo work on Schneider's acclaimed "Concert in the Garden.") McCaslin's 2007 CD "In Pursuit" won critical raves, and this fall he's touring behind a new trio album, "Recommended Tools," featuring bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Johnathan Blake.

Dave Douglas Has this to Say about Donny

Dave Douglas discusses reviews of our next guest Donny McCaslin's recent CD release, "Recommended Tools."

Friday, July 25, 2008

Summer Radio





Dizzy Gillespie, Dizzy’s Diamonds, “Birk’s Works” [1/5] (4:56)

Lee Morgan, Search for the New Land, “Mr. Kenyatta” [3] (8:43)

Eddie Henderson, et al., Tribute to Lee Morgan, “Speedball” [4] (5:13)

Johnny Griffin, The Big Soul-Band, “Panic Room Blues” [3] (4:33)

“Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen” [4] (2:40)

Matthew Shipp, Blue Series Sampler: The Shape of Jazz to Come, “Cohesion” [1] (6:34)

Triptych Myth, The Beautiful, “Frida K, the Beautiful” [2] (5:12)

Jane Ira Bloom, Chasing Paint, “On Seeing JP” [4] (4:54)

Enrico Rava Quartet, The Words and the Days, “Secrets” [2] (10:31)


Russell Malone, Sweet Georgia Peach, “Mugshot” [1] (5:37)

George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band, Merryteria, “Second Line Sally” [5] (11:36)

DeeDee Bridgewater, Red Earth, “Mama Don’t Ever Go Away” [4] (5:38)

Miles Davis, Live at Fillmore East (March 7, 1970), “Spanish Key” [2/4] (8:33)

Cannonball Adderley Sextet, In New York, “Planet Earth” [3] (7:59)

Scott Colley, Architect of the Silent Moment, “Window of Time” [9] (8:07)

Carla Bley, The Lost Chords Find Paolo Fresu, “Ad Infinitum” [9] (7:42)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Join the RJA

A recent missive from Brother Eldridge in our name:

Hi friends,

We want to thank you for helping to make the second Redwood Jazz Alliance
season such a huge success. Each of the artists we hosted raved about your
enthusiasm and sophistication as fans of the music. It means the world to
us to know so many of you share our passion for great music in Humboldt

We have a very exciting line-up coming together for the 2008-2009 season.
Stay tuned for further announcements about that in the coming weeks.

As we said many times throughout the season, we can not put on so many
wonderful concerts and free workshops without tremendous support from our
local business community.

Now as we move into our third season, we need your help too.

Please become a member of the Redwood Jazz Alliance and help us grow and
thrive this season, and in the years to come.

Your annual tax-deductible donation of $40 will make you a member of the
RJA and will help make it possible for our organization to continue as a
staple of the vibrant Humboldt County arts scene.

In addition to the satisfaction that comes in knowing you are responsible
for the exciting performances we put on six times a year, thanks to the
generosity of three of our sponsors we are pleased to offer members the
following gifts:

· a 20% discount on used CDs at the Metro throughout the season
· a 10% discount on jazz CDs at the Works (both locations) throughout the
· 20% off of one purchase at Northtown Books

There are two ways you can become a member of the Redwood Jazz Alliance:

Make your donation online by going to


Send a check to:
Redwood Jazz Alliance
P.O. Box 4443
Arcata, CA 95521

With a membership in the Redwood Jazz Alliance, you become part of a
growing community that provides a home for world-class jazz in Humboldt

We hope you'll join us!

All the best,

The Redwood Jazz Alliance

We Live!

Bright Moments with the Redwood Jazz Alliance | 11 July 2008

July Birthdays:

Tomasz Stanko (b. 7/11/1942), “Svantetic.” Litania: Music of Krysztof Komeda (ECM, 1997)

Bill Carrothers (b. 7/13/1964), “It’s a Long, Long Way to Tipperary.” Armistice 1918 (Sketch, 2004)

Ahmad Jamal (b. 7/2/1930), “Flight.” The Essence, Part 1 (Verve, 1995)

Arthur Blythe (b. 7/5/1940), “Dance Benita Dance.” Hipmotism (Enja, 1991)

Weather Report, “Eurydice” (Joe Zawinul, b. 7/7/1932) Weather Report (Columbia, 1971)

Joe Harriott (b. 7/15/1928), “Formation.” Free Form (Jazzland, 1961, reissued ReDial, 1998)

Vince Guaraldi (b. 7/17/1928), “Joe Cool.” Charlie Brown’s Holiday Hits (Fantasy, 1998)

Steve Lacy & Mal Waldron (Lacy b. 7/23/1934), “House Party Starting.” Hot House (BMG/Novus, 1991)

Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band, “Rubylou’s Lullaby” (Blade, b. 7/25/1970). Season of Changes (Verve, 2008)

Edward Simon (b. 7/27/1969), “The Messenger.” Unicity (CamJazz, 2006)

Joel Harrison (b. 7/27/1954), “Here Comes the Sun.” Harrison on Harrison (HighNote, 2005) [w/Dave Liebman, soprano; Uri Caine, piano; Stephen Crump, bass; Dan Weiss, drums]

Joe Lovano & Hank Jones, “Lullaby” (b. 7/31/1918, Vicksburg MS). Kids: Live at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola (Blue Note, 2007)

Kenny Burrell (b. 7/31/1931), “Cheeta.” The Best of Kenny Burrell: The Blue Note Years (Blue Note, 1995) [originally released on Kenny Burrell, Vol. Two (Blue Note, 1956)]

And some great new releases:

Jenny Scheinman, “Born Into This.” Crossing the Field (Koch, 2008)

Guillermo Klein & Los Guachos, “Luz de Liz (Filtros).” Filtros (Sunnyside, 2008)

Rahsaan Roland Kirk, “Bright Moments.” Bright Moments (Atlantic, 1974)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Michael Blake, Ron Horton and Ben Allison. This is taken at the Penofin Festival, the day after they played at Humboldt with the RJA. Ben Allison's compositions are extremely wel put together. I can't think of another writer who has so much fun with the "post bebop" tradition. It gets him into funny conversations with and about Wynton Marsalis, but that's to be expected. He is listening to the world we live in, and having great big fun with it. I think he's unique.

And I can't begin to express my appreciation for Ron Horton's trumpet playing. It's lyrical, fast, as witty as Ben's material invites him to make it. His tone is pure and sweet like Armstrong, but without the hard vibrato of course. This band is rough on trumpeters, he told me: he's featured in the melody a lot of the time, and a lot of it is high and sustained note playing.

All around great stuff. A show to remember.
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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Ben Allison Interview

Wendy Butler conducted a very interesting interview with Ben on KHSU. Brother Eldridge has transcribed a good deal of it. You can find it here.

Two days to the show!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Man Sized Safe in Dick Cheney's Office

Next UP: Ben Allison. May 15. 8:00 PM. Fulkerson Recital Hall on the campus of HSU.

Greetings from your friends at the Redwood Jazz Alliance. We've got one more concert this season and it's going to be a good one. Ben Allison and his quintet Man Size Safe will be at Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus on Thursday, May 15 at 8 pm.

Ben Allison is one of the top young bassists in jazz today. He's won the Downbeat Magazine Critic's Poll "Rising Star Bassist" category the last three years and is equally praised as a composer and bandleader. Allison was the subject of a major profile in the April issue of Downbeat and the article proclaimed that his new CD with Man Size Safe, "Little Things Run The World" "promises to stand tall at the end of the year among the best CDs of 2008…Conceived with careful architectural attention and infused with myriad styles, including rock, pop, African, Americana and Latin, Allison’s cliché-free music has all the earmarks of jazz in motion to a higher evolutionary plateau." The article also raved that Allison is “leading a movement to create generationally relevant jazz.” He "stands at the forefront of a generation of young musicians who, steeped in the tradition, forge ahead with new modes of expression…[a place] where original music melds with social significance, where community identity trumps egocentricity and self-indulgence, where fresh standards resonate with the same emotional depth of the classic songbook."

Man Size Safe (the name was inspired by Allison reading in the Washington Post that Dick Cheney's office contains such an item) consists of Michael Blake on saxes, Ron Horton on trumpet, Steve Cardenas on guitar, Allison on bass and Michael Sarin on drums. The band mixes joyous exuberance and good-humored irreverence with textured grooves and an occasional political jab. “I’ve started to dabble in advocacy," Allison admits, "especially along the lines of alternative energy and renewable resources.” And yet, he cautions, "I don't want to use my music mainly as a platform. My main inspiration is to show by example what it means to cooperate, to celebrate this international art form that's about collaboration, peaceful interplay, and creative expression. That ties right into the biggest worldwide issues we face."

You can read more about Ben Allison, hear his music and check out some terrific multi-media content (including a podcast review of "Little Things Run The World" by New York Times critic Ben Ratliff and an "All Things Considered" feature on Allison) at our website:

Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for students and seniors and are on sale now online at and at Peoples Records, the Works in Arcata and Eureka and the Metro. (Please note the Metro charges a $1 handling fee on every ticket sold there.)

As with all artists that the Redwood Jazz Alliance brings to town, Ben Allison will also present a FREE public workshop. His is entitled "Composition and Improvisation: Two Sides of the Same Coin" and happens Friday, May 16th at 11:00 a.m. in the Studio Theater (Theatre Arts Room
115) on the HSU campus.

We'll see you at the show!

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

The David Berkman Trio. Tuesday night, April 22, 2008, at the Graves Gallery in Eureka, CA.
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Ian and Lila at the Berkman Show.
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Community Musician and bon vivant Gregg Moore pals around with Sound Man Extraordinaire Russ Cole at the Berkman concert.
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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Next Up: Ben Allison

You can find out about our next guest, Ben Allison, here. Brother Michael has done another great job of setting up streaming audio so you can hear a bit of the band's music--quite a bit, actually.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

John Fixes David's Ipod

This one is cute. John has just fixed David Berkman's Ipod. David's pointing to him as the guy who did it. He himself is all thumbs up.

That's Joe Martin and Ted Poor in the background. It was a great show and a great workshop afterwards!
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Monday, April 21, 2008


Here's a final reminder about the David Berkman Trio concert Tuesday night, April 22 at 8 pm at the Morris Graves Museum of Art (636 F St. in Eureka).

Remember that, because of the limited seating at the Graves, if you purchase tickets in advance online or at one of the outlets, we can guarantee you a seat. If you get them at the door, standing room may be all that's left. Tickets are on sale at The Metro, People's Records, The Works in Arcata and Eureka and online at Any remaining tickets can be purchased at the door.

Don’t forget about the free workshop that David Berkman will present on Wednesday, April 23rd at 11:00 a.m. in the Studio Theater (Theatre Arts 115) on the HSU campus. The workshop is entitled "Creative Practice, Jazz Standards, the Trio, the Cosmos, and You", so there should be something in it for everyone!

Friday, April 18, 2008

On the Radio Tonight





Count Basie, April in Paris, “April in Paris” [1] (3:47)

Mingus Big Band, Gunslinging Birds, “Gunslinging Bird” [1] (7:10)

Delirium Blues Project, Serve or Suffer, “Everybody’s Cryin’ Mercy” [8] (6:42)

Charles Lloyd, Rabo de Nube, “Booker’s Garden” [3] (14:33)

Palmetto All-Stars, The Other Side of Ellington, “Ad Lib on Nippon” [5] (4:10)

Ben Allison, Third Eye, “A Life in the Day of Man Ray” [6] (5:51)

Joel Frahm, Navigator, “White Bear Speaks” [8] (6:14)

David Berkman, Handmade, “A Tiny Prairie Landscape” [6] (2:19)

Miguel Zenón, Awake, “Camarón” [2] (7:43)


Claudia Acuña, Wind from the South, “Visions” [12] (6:26)

Sun Ra Arkestra, Lanquidity, “There Are Worlds (They Haven’t Told You Of)” [5] (10:57)

Miles Davis, Filles de Kilimanjaro, “Filles de Kilimanjaro” [4] (12:00)

Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Avatar, “Looking in Retrospective” [1] (9:42)

Anthony Brown’s Asian American Orchestra, Far East Suite, “Isfahan” [3] (7:02)

Randy Weston, Portraits of Duke Ellington, “C Jam Blues” [5] (7:25)

This Just In: Review of Zenon's _Awake_ on



We are in a golden age of Latin jazz activity, and here's more proof.

Awake is the third project by the Puerto Rican saxophonist and like his earlier works, it's full of intelligence, bristling with knowledge. Zenon, like a pile of younger musicians, works the two sides of the Latin jazz equation like few people have before him, and at times he sounds like Charlie Parker - check out "Awakening" - and at other times he and his exceptional group, Luis Perdomo on piano, Hans Glawischnig on bass and Henry Cole on drums move into a rhythmic sophistication that owes its robustness directly to the Caribbean. Zenon uses a string quartet for two pieces, and on one track amplifies the group with trumpet, trombone and tenor saxophone. At times Zenon exemplifies the rhythmic and harmonic modernity that's rife in New York jazz circles, and he's followed by the always great Perdomo - listen to Perdomo's solo on "Ulysses in Slow Motion." Anyway, this is work that is changing the way jazz functions, and elevating the high mark on what's possible in the idiom. It's historic.

Highly Recommended. (Peter Watrous)


Peter Watrous writes for the NT Times and Washington Post, among others.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Me, at or near the grave of Buddy Bolden

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Up Next at the RJA

Greetings from your friends at the Redwood Jazz Alliance. Miguel Zenón!

Whew! Thanks to all of you who came out. Zenón and his bandmates were thrilled with your attention and enthusiasm.

We've got another great show coming right up with the David Berkman Trio.

They're playing at the Morris Graves Museum of Art at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22. With four critically acclaimed albums (named to Top 10 lists by Jazziz, Jazz Times, and the New York Times) and a bestselling textbook ("The Jazz Musician's Guide to Creative Practicing") to his name, David Berkman has quietly become one of today’s most respected jazz pianists.

Berkman has performed with such luminaries as Sonny Stitt, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Tom Harrell, the Vanguard Orchestra, and Cecil McBee. He's had an especially long and fruitful relationship with drummer Matt Wilson, who appeared here with Trio M and Marty Ehrlich earlier this year. A very popular performer in Europe and Asia, Berkman is squeezing in this West Coast tour, his first, between a week in Paris and a multi-night stand at the Jazz Standard in New York City.

We felt that the intimate atmosphere and fine acoustics of the Graves would be the perfect place to hear this wonderful trio. The only downside to that is that the Graves seats just 110. If you purchase tickets in advance online or at one of the outlets, we can guarantee you a seat. If you get them at the door, standing room may be all that's left.

Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for students and seniors and are on sale now online at and at Peoples Records, the Works in Arcata and Eureka and the Metro. (Please note the Metro has recently begun charging a $1 handling fee on every ticket sold there.)

As with all artists that the Redwood Jazz Alliance brings to town, David Berkman will also present a FREE public workshop. His is entitled "Creative Practice, Jazz Standards, the Trio, the Cosmos, and You" and will take place on Wednesday, April 23rd at 11:00 a.m. in the Studio Theater (Theatre Arts 115) on the HSU campus.

To read more about Berkman and hear an audio stream of his music, go to

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Too Cool

Is this not the very coolest album cover ever?
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Local Paper Review of Zenon Show

Miguel Zenón Quartet, a progressive jazz experience

By MELODY STONE, The Eureka Reporter
Published: Apr 10 2008, 11:25 PM

Someone must say something about the wonderful things the Redwood Jazz Alliance is doing. They are bringing world-class jazz performers to play and teach in our community. Kudos!

Now, Miguel Zenón. On a personal note, I’m not a big modern-jazz buff. I know next to nothing about it. In fact, “Jazz: An American Art Form” is the only music appreciation class I didn’t take at Humboldt State University. I spent a weekend at the Jazz Festival not long ago, but nothing in my sphere of musical experiences prepared me for Miguel Zenón.

It was Monday night. I had gotten home from work and, over much protesting, convinced my husband, Luke, to attend the show with me.

I looked up some of the quartet’s music online. It sounded like a progression of noises; honestly, I was dreading sitting through two hours of it.

We arrive at HSU, the lights dimmed, the band took the stage and my jazz world changed forever.

Watching the musicians’ fingers wildly dance across the instruments or beat the drums left me in awe. Each instrument could be heard and had a role to play. The solos were displays of each musician’s musical prowess and each was impressive. Zenón led the band on tenor saxophone, and when he wasn’t playing, he sauntered behind the drums and watched smugly as his band played the music he had composed for them, taking into account, of course, a dash of improvisation.

Zenón played with fervor; he would bounce his shoulders up and down and sway back and forth while he played. He is native to Puerto Rico, so the compositions had a Latin flair that danced in between jazz notes.

The next day at HSU, Zenón and his band did a free workshop for the community. There, Zenón talked conceptually about the style of jazz they play. “The music we play, I consider jazz music. It comes out of a jazz background,” Zenón told the students and community members. “The feels come from Latin American music.”

He played a straight-blues tune with the band, played it again with the Latin flavor, then played it a third time mixing both straight jazz and Latin flavors.

Zenón talked about how the music they play isn’t meant to be dance music, with the rhythm being constant and central. “It is music that has elements of dance in it, but it’s not necessarily that.”

The members of the quartet are from all over the world and were exposed to music at very young ages. They all speak jazz as a second language. Zenón said that’s why the Latin and afro music comes out into the jazz.

Zenón plays with Luis Perdomo on piano, Henry Cole on drums and Hans Glawischnig on bass.

While at the concert, I became aware of the gentleman behind me hooting and yelping when the music got particularly amazing. At intermission I introduced myself to the enthusiast.

His name was Rondal Snodgrass and he has been a jazz lover for 50 years. “I’ve seen and heard a lot of the great musicians of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s,” he said. “This quartet is a superb blend of the individual instruments; that is very unique.”

Snodgrass said he would call this type of jazz “syncopated progressive jazz.”

When the show was over, my husband and I walked to the car. Luke said, “If you were to ask me how long I’ve been into jazz music, I would say, ‘Two hours.’”

Friday Night Radio

Bright Moments with the Redwood Jazz Alliance | April 11, 2008

  • Miguel Zenon, “Penta.” Awake (Marsalis Music, 2008)
  • Hans Glawischnig, “Line Drive.” Panorama (Sunnyside, 2008)

  • David Berkman, “Weird Knock.” Communication Theory (Palmetto, 2000)
  • Frank Kimbrough, “Quickening.” Air (Palmetto, 2008)
  • Brad Mehldau, “Wonderwall.” Live (Nonesuch, 2008)

  • Lionel Loueke, “Karibu.” Karibu (Blue Note, 2008)
  • Pat Metheny, “Son of Thirteen.” Day Trip (Nonesuch, 2008)
  • Bill McHenry, “African Song.” Roses (Sunnyside, 2007)
  • Palmetto All-Stars, “Fleurette Africaine.” The Other Side of Ellington (Palmetto, 1999)

  • SFJazz Collective, “San Francisco Suite: Alcatraz” (D. Douglas). Live 2007:4th Annual Concert Tour (SF Jazz, 2008)
  • Charles Lloyd, “Rabo de Nube.” Rabo de Nube (ECM, 2008)

  • Joel Frahm, “Interesting, Perhaps, But Hardly Fascinating Rhythm” (Berkman). Sorry, No Decaf (Palmetto, 1998).
  • David Berkman, “Not a Christmas Song.” Handmade (Palmetto, 1998).
  • Abigail Riccards, “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was” (Rodgers & Hart, arr. Berkman). When the Night Is New (Jazz Excursion, 2007)
  • David Berkman, “Mean Things Happening In This World” (Guthrie). Start Here, Finish There (Palmetto, 2004)

Master Class with Miguel Zenon

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Luis Perdomo, Miguel Zenon and Hans Glawischnig kick back a bit after last Monday's show in Arcata.
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Monday, April 7, 2008

Big Al

We're talking VERY big Al Carson, who sings every night on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. I just got back. Irv Peckham and I found Big Al in a bar with "Pirate" in the name. I forgot the rest of the name.

I saw a few jazz bands on the street too.
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Friday, March 28, 2008


The Redwood Jazz Alliance is proud to present the Miguel Zenon Quartet in concert, Monday, April 7 at 8:00 p.m., in the Kate Buchanan Room on the HSU campus.

Zenon, who won the Downbeat Critics Poll “Rising Star Alto Saxophone” category three years running (2004-2006) and was named Best New Artist of 2006 by the readers of Jazz Times, is a major new voice at the crossroads of contemporary and Latin jazz. Paul Olson of All About Jazz calls the Miguel Zenon Quartet “one of the premier live groups in contemporary jazz.”

A highly sought-after sideman (he’s done notable stints with David Sanchez and Charlie Haden’s Liberation Music Orchestra, among others—and he’s a founding member of the SFJazz Collective, with whom he appeared in Arcata for a CenterArts performance in 2004), Zenon is also well-established as a leader: his 2002 debut album, “Looking Forward,” was named independent jazz album of the year by the New York Times, and his most recent, “Jibaro” (which incorporates folk influences of the “musica jibara” of Zenon’s native Puerto Rico), made a half-dozen major Top 10 lists for 2006.

He’ll be touring behind a brand new release, “Awake,” due out April 1 on Branford Marsalis’s Marsalis Music label.

Two other members of Zenon’s quartet, Venezuelan-born pianist Luis Perdomo and Austrian-born bassist Hans Glawischnig, are critically acclaimed rising stars in their own right and have recently recorded as leaders of their own groups. The newest member of the group, drummer Henry Cole, was named as an outstanding young player to watch in the January 2006 Modern Drummer magazine feature article "The Future Of Drumming."

Zenon will also present a free public workshop on Tuesday, April 8 at 10:00 a.m., in Fulkerson Recital Hall at HSU.

Advance tickets ($15 general admission, $10 students and seniors) are available online at, and are also available at The Metro, The Works (both Eureka and Arcata), and People’s Records.

Look who's coming to town! Miguel Zenon, Monday night, April 7: A Musician's Musician.
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Friday, March 21, 2008

Kenny and Me

This is the singer Kenny Washington and me at the Marcus Shelby masterclass.

Postings have been sparse lately. I'm writing a paper for the 4Cs (College Composition and Communication Conference), and it's taking all my time. Here's my subject:

This panel extends Gregory Clark’s post-Burkean call for a “jazz rhetoric” by adding to Clark’s key term, “improvisation,” an exploration into the “dissonance” featured at the heart of Myron Tuman’s considerable body of work in the field of literacy and composition studies.

D. Stacey will trace Tuman’s achievement, through several book-length studies, of a complex ethical appeal to be described as “dissonant ambivalence.” This highly-developed point of view is a jazz-inflected, jangled, undecided, back-and-forth “dance-of-attitude” (see Burke) performed in Word Perfect as a celebration/lament of the displacement of old ways of reading by new technologies of writing; in Language and Limits with a critique of critical thinking in a description and defense of “deep language”; and in as the intent to fashion a skepticism of assent (a la the Wayne Booth of Modern Dogma and the Rhetoric of Assent [1974]).

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sunnyside Records Hearts RJA

Because we like Chris Potter, they like us:

Chris Potter's albums selected in the 10 best of 2007 by Chicago Tribune, PopMatters and the Redwood Jazz Alliance

Chris Potter

Chicago Tribune puts it in third position : "The writing for Potter's tentet is so harmonically advanced, structurally sound and intellectually rigorous as to demand repeated listening" .
Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune - December 2007 read the full article

PopMatters puts it in 7th :" Chris Potter is building a claim to greatness"
Will Layman, PopMatters - December 2007 read the full article

Northcoast Journal and the Redwood Jazz Alliance put both of his records tied in number 1 position:" What they have in common is Potter's brillinat improvisations,"
Redwood Jazz Alliance - December 2007 read the full article

Marcus Shelby Comes and Goes

It's hard to believe that the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra has come to town and left again. This one was huge. It took a lot of planning and even more legwork, but I think it went off superfine.

I'll have more pics and some thoughts on the big band's performance, the parties afterward, and the next days masterclass, forthcoming. Kenny Washington too.

Many big thanks to Jambalaya and Three Foods for taking such good care of the band after the show and at the next morning's send off breakfast. Of course there are many more people to thank too. I think Arcata-Eureka and McKinleyville have been long nurturing a serious desire for more great music to come to town.
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Thursday, March 6, 2008

Tomorrow Night!

Greetings from your friends at the Redwood Jazz Alliance. We've got a couple of final reminders about the Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra concert this Friday night in the Van Duzer Theater:

1) The concert starts at 7 p.m.

2) All tickets are general admission, so get there early for the best seats.

Tickets are available at The Metro, People's Records and the Works in Arcata and Eureka through Friday morning. You can purchase tickets from our website ( through Friday morning as well (and get a free RJA t-shirt if you buy a pair of tickets!)

Tickets will also be available at the door Friday night.

We'll see you at the show!

The Redwood Jazz Alliance

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

This Just In...

Greetings from the Redwood Jazz Alliance. RJA board member Eric Neel recently talked with Marcus Shelby about music, history, politics, and Harriet Tubman. You can read this revealing interview here:

We've also just added to our web site streaming audio of Marcus Shelby's music, including several movements of "Bound For The Promised Land:

Harriet Tubman". Go here: and then click on the "My Radio" button to listen.

Don't forget that if you purchase a pair of tickets for the Marcus shelby performance from our web site, you'll receive a free Redwood Jazz Alliance t-shirt. Buying tickets on our web site is easy and secure. Go here: and with just a couple of clicks you'll be done.

Of course, if you already have a RJA t-shirt, you can still purchase tickets online or at The Metro, Peoples Records and the Works in Arcata and Eureka.

Don't forget, too, about Wayne Horvitz and Sweeter Than The Day at Jambalaya on Sunday, March 2 at 8 pm. No advance tickets for this one.

It's $10 at the door.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Truly a Deal!

I just bought two tickets for the Marcus Shelby show at the RJA website.

(Yes, RJA members pay for their own seats at RJA shows. We're a non-profit and we figure it's only right.)

For ordering two tickets or more online for this show, you get a free RJA tee shirt. This is truly a deal!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

RJA Interviews Marcus Shelby

In the words of Brother Eldridge:

More scintillating colloquy from our probing president. Fantastico, Brother Neel.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Press Release

Tubman Oratorio Anchors Summit

Arcata – The Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra featuring Faye Carol will perform Shelby’s jazz oratorio, “Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman,” to inaugurate Humboldt State University’s 2008 Social Justice Summit on Friday, March 7.

Shelby, the Bay Area bassist, composer and educator, will lead a 15-piece big band with four singers, led by Ms. Carol, San Francisco’s acclaimed jazz and blues singer. She began her career in the 1960s as a vocalist with Bay Area R&B and funk bands and was vocal teacher and director of the Music in the Community program at the Black Repertory Group in Berkeley from 2001 to 2003.

“Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman” eulogizes the life of the Maryland runaway slave (1819 – 1913) who was a conductor of the Underground Railroad, a spy for Union forces and a leading abolitionist admired as the “Moses of Her People.” Mr. Shelby’s oratorio continues his thematic exploration of black history and social justice through music.

Premiered last May at the Yerba Buena Festival, “Bound for the Promised Land” won immediate critical acclaim as an “epic” that combines “fine composition, tight arrangement, technical virtuosity and chemistry.”

Shelby is an instructor at the Berkeley Young Musician program at San Francisco State University and the Stanford Jazz Workshop. A 2006 Fellow with the Resident Dialogues Program of the Committee for Black Performing Arts at Stanford, he is the 1991 winner of the Charles Mingus Scholarship.

Performing jazz and teaching the genre’s history, Shelby strives to present the art “as a distinctly American historic narrative [and] create dialogue about American experiences.” Telling African American stories through performance, he says, “helps shape the future of all American performing arts.”

Shelby’s oratorio epitomizes the theme of this year’s Social Justice Summit, “Reclaiming SOUL!” The performance will begin at 7:00 p.m. in Van Duzer Theater. Registered conference participants will be admitted free. General admission will be $15.00, admission for seniors and students with HSU I.D. will be $10.00

Co-partners of the Shelby jazz performance include HSU’s MultiCultural Center, organizer of the summit; the non-profit Redwood Jazz Alliance, which invites national and international musicians to the Redwood Coast, in collaboration with Humboldt State’s Department of Music; and HSU’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and its Department of World Languages and Cultures. Major funding also is provided by the Office of the President and the Diversity Program Funding Committee.

Details of the March 7 performance are at

Information about, and registration for, the Social Justice Summit is at The summit coordinator is Mona Mazzotti at 707/826-3369 or

HSU News & Information