25 Years of Jazz

We would like to sincerely thank everyone who attended and supported our 25th Annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival June 17-25, 2023. We celebrated 9 days of music in wine country — honoring the past, present, and future. We presented over 100 artists at 10 unique venues in Healdsburg. Artists included GRAMMY Award Winner Best New Artist and Best Jazz Vocal Album Samara Joy, multi-GRAMMY Award Winner and NEA Jazz Master Dianne Reeves, iconic guitarist Bill Frisell, and so many more. We thank our sponsors, patrons/donors, members, volunteers, and our community for making the festival possible.


7 Days of Jazz in Wine Country

In 2022 we came back at full speed with a week of jazz June 13-19 in Healdsburg’s beautiful, wine country settings. Appearing in the Festival were artists from a wide array of genres, including NEA Jazz Master Dave Holland with Kenny Barron, blues legend Charlie Musselwhite, and San Francisco vocal star Bobi Céspedes. A welcoming celebration of jazz, music, the arts, and the best of Healdsburg, Sonoma County, and beyond.

Please enjoy our 2022 Festival program guide with a complete list of artists, sponsors, and people involved.


Jazz is Back!

After a year’s hiatus for the annual June festival due to Covid-19, the Healdsburg Jazz Festival returned with Live Jazz from June 17-20.

Four days of celebration began by highlighting the jazz of San Francisco’s Fillmore District in the 30s and 40s, known affectionately as the Harlem of the West. On the second night, we featured the music of San Francisco’s notoriously rowdy Barbary Coast (now North Beach and Chinatown). On June 19, we celebrated the new national holiday, Juneteenth, marking the day in Texas in 1865 when African American slaves were notified of their freedom, two years after the end of the Civil War and the Emancipation Declaration. On the festival’s final day, we celebrated Father’s Day with a concert featuring the esteemed Grammy-nominated San Franciscan vocalist Kenny Washington with his “What’s the Hurry” trio.

Please enjoy our 2021 festival guide for a complete list of sponsors, musicians, and other participants.


Honoring Women in Jazz

The Healdsburg Jazz Festival, May 29-June 7, 2020, was canceled due to the COVID-19. For the safety of fans, musicians, volunteers, and staff, it did not make sense to hold the Festival as scheduled.

We were days away from going to print with our ticket brochure and opening ticket sales when COVID-19 interrupted our lives and plans. Many put in countless hours to bring the Festival together, and here you can read and learn about the great musicians that were scheduled to come to Healdsburg to celebrate music and the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote.


HBGJAZZ Festival enters third decade

For its 21st edition, the Healdsburg Jazz Festival marched on with two special events: First, a 50th birthday party for elite jazz label ECM Records. With Ralph Towner and Paul McCandless; drummer Jack DeJohnette, saxophonist Ravi Coltrane, and bassist Matthew Garrison; and The Carla Bley Trio plus the Ethan Iverson-Mark Turner Duo.

Special event No. 2 was the premiere of Tunisian oud player, singer, and improviser extraordinaire Dhafer Youssef, who brought along top jazz players Matt Brewer on bass, Marcus Gilmore on drums, and Tigran Hamasyan on piano.

Other concerts included The Joey DeFrancesco Trio; The Regina Carter (picture) Quintet; Parlour Game featuring Jenny Scheinman on violin, Carmen Staaf on piano, Allison Miller on drums, and Tony Scherr on bass; the Cuban Harold López-Nussa Quartet; Guy Davis and singer Marcella Simien for a Blues Brunch; Calvin Keys and Jeff Chambers; the Carlos Herrera Latin Trio; the King Street Giants at the Plaza; and Adam Shulman Quartet, among others.

At the Jazz Village Campus, hundreds of students participated in interactive and fun music workshops, and the Jazz Village provided free outdoor concerts with Erik Jekabson Quintet, Atta Kid, Trevor Kinsel Trio, Randy Vincent Trio, Gary Johnson Quartet, Josh Jones Latin Ensemble, Ian Scherer, Carlitos Medrano trio, Gold Coast Jazz Band, Ruth Ahlers Quartet, among others.


20th Anniversary Special Edition

The biggest Healdsburg Jazz Festival was organized to mark the organization’s 20th Anniversary, and it embodied Jazz and Community.

The lineup included Charles Lloyd’s 80th Birthday celebration with Zakir Hussain, Gerald Clayton, Harish Raghavan. Eric Harland and guest Bill Frisell; Art of the Trio double bill with The Fred Hersch Trio and Trio da Paz with guests Anat Cohen and Claudia Villela; Bill Frisell and Julian Lage duo; Celebrating Geri Allen with Ravi Coltrane, Dave Holland and Terri Lyne Carrington; George Cables Trio with Essiet Essiet and Victor Lewis; a Festival All-Stars concert (picture) with Bobby Watson, Azar Lawrence, David Weiss, Chico Freeman, Babatunde Lea, Billy Hart, among others; Marc Cary Trio; Dr. Michael White’s Original Liberty Jazz Band; John Santos Sextet “A Puerto Rico mi amor”; and Adam Theis with the Cosa Nostra Strings, among many others.

It was the first edition of the Jazz Village, a free, outdoor mini-festival within the Jazz Festival.


19th Healdsburg Jazz Festival

The 19th Festival had a superb lineup with Dave Stryker Quartet with guest Bob Mintzer; Heath Brothers with Jimmy and Tootie Heath and Jeb Patton and David Wong; and Bobby Hutcherson Tribute band with Renee Rosnes, Ray Drummond, Victor Lewis and Steve Nelson; Pacific Mambo Orchestra 20 Piece Big Band; Dance Lessons with Santa Rosa Salsa; Ricardo Peixoto Trio with Peter Barshay and Kendrick Freeman; Carlitos Medrano & Sabor De Mi Cuba, a free concert in the Plaza; John Santos Quartet with guest spoken-word artist Rico Pabón including Saul Sierra, Marco Diaz and David Flores; Kenny Garrett Quintet; Lavay Smith and Her Red-Hot Skillet Lickers; Joe Lovano Classic Quartet with Lawrence Fields, Peter Slavov and Lamy Istrefi; Harvey Wainapel Quartet with Adam Schulman (picture), Peter Barshay and Sylvia Cuenca; The Django All-Stars, direct from France with Samson Schmitt, Ludovic Beier, Pierre Blanchard, Doudou Cuillerier and Antonio Licusati; Henry Butler Solo, and the Russian River Ramblers.


Billy Hart in the Spotlight

The opening weekend presented a 40-Year Billy Hart (picture) Retrospective, funded in part by an NEA grant: QUEST with Dave Liebman, Richie Beirach, Ron McClure and Billy Hart; Billy Hart leader with Craig Taborn, Dave Holland, Joshua Redman, Oliver Lake, Eddie Henderson; Billy Hart Quartet with Ethan Iverson, Mark Turner and Ben Street; Oceans of Time, Billy Hart leader with Craig Handy, Chris Potter, Mark Feldman, David Fiuczynski, Dave Kikoski, Santi Debriano, and guest Lorca Hart on a second drum set.

The Festival also included performances by Julian Lage New Trio; a Blues Brunch with Lady Bianca; Kevin Fitzsimmons Quartet; Grupo Falso Baiano; Charlie Hunter Trio with Kirk Knuffke and Scott Amendola; Claire Daly Quintet; the 2016 Grammy-nominated 12-year-old pianist from Bali Joey Alexander Trio; Babatunde Lea and Friends; Fred Hersch and Anat Cohen Duo; Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra with special guest Tiffany Austin and Craig Handy, among others.


Latin Jazz and Hard Bop Masters Highlight the 17th Festival

The Festival showcased rare appearances by Brazilian artists including vocal legend Luciana Souza in a duo with Romero Lumbabo and Trio da Paz—with special guest Kenny Barron, plus Argentine “Nuevo tango” master Pablo Ziegler, and formative Latin Jazz legend Eddie Palmieri (picture).

The line-up also included harp bop all-star band The Cookers; George Cables and Benny Green; Ed Reed’s Tribute to John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman; blues with Terrie Odabi and other acclaimed Latin Jazz groups including the Wayne Wallace Quintet with guest Jackie Ryan and the band Ritmos Unidos. A new outdoor event, “New Orleans Day on the Green” with three bands including St. Gabriel’s Celestial Brass Band, The Dixie Giants and the Russian River Ramblers. Other performances included Lorca Hart trio and Sylvia Cuenca trio.


Celebration of the Blues plus other Jazz performances

The 10 days of music included a two-day mini-festival “Celebrating the Blues,” with Charlie Musselwhite and Joshua Redman, jazz legend Ron Carter and his quartet, Latin jazz maestro Poncho Sanchez with an all-star Octet, plus a rare West Coast appearance of the grand piano duo, Bill Charlap and Renee Rosnes.

Other Festival highlights included the Marcus Shelby Orchestra with the 100 voices HBGJAZZ Freedom Jazz Choir; the Ron Carter Quartet; Claudia Villela trio; and Poncho Sanchez And His Latin Jazz Band (picture), among others.


Tribute to Charlie Haden

We celebrated the 15th Anniversary with a two day Tribute to Charlie Haden, wich included big names like Carla Bley, Bill Frisell, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Lee Konitz, Ravi Coltrane, Geri Allen, Chris Potter and many more. There was an exclusive 2013 engagement of the Charles Lloyd–Jason Moran duo; and the extraordinary vocal ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock playing outdoors; and the premier of the Freedom Jazz Choir.

Other performances included the Fred Hersch trio, John Heard quartet, guitarist Will Bernard, drummer Sylvia Cuenca, multi-instrumentalist Roger Glenn and his Latin Jazz Ensemble, the Frisco Jazz Band and the New Horizon Stompers, and many more.


The Roy-Al Family and Other Jazz Masters

Thanks to an NEA Live Jazz Masters Grant, we featured legendary drummer Roy Haynes and his “Roy-Al Family” for our finale at Rodney Strong, with fellow “Jazz Master” Sheila Jordan on the same bill. Plus the exciting Vijay Iyer Trio and more talents from all generations of jazz, from the very birth of the music to its latest expressions.

Other activities included Shelia Jordan’s four-hour vocal master class and an open panel discussion, The Roy-al Family: Exploring the Haynes’ family’s musical legacy.


A Dream Lineup Performing in Benefit of the HBGJAZZ Festival

It was a dream line-up, with so many of these musicians offered their talents in benefit for the HBGJAZZ Festival to help assure its survival, and build for its future.

With performances by Fred Hersch and Julian Lage; an Afternoon of Vocal Jazz with Madeline Eastman, Bobbe Norris, Linda Tillery, Rhonda Benin, Kenny Washington, Jackie Ryan, Ed Reed, Nicolas Bearde, and more. Other performances included artists such as George Cables, Billy Hart, Larry Dunlap, Tammy Hall, John Santos Sextet plus Pete Escovedo and special guest Arturo Sandoval; Nilson Matta with Roni Ben Hur. Billy Hart, Romero Lubambo, Harvey Wainapel, Ricardo Peixoto, Ted Moore, Ami Mollineri; Bay Area vocalist Sandy Cressman with Natalie Cressman; A Motema Music Label night with Babatunde Lea, Leon Thomas, Marc Cary, and Geri Allen. Followed by Charles Lloyd, tabla master Zakir Hussain, and drummer Eric Harland. The final concert featured a Healdsburg All-Stars night (picture) with Denny Zeitlin, John Heard Trio, George Cables, Bobby Hutcherson, Bobby Watson, Craig Handy and other soloists.


Art of the Solo Guitar Mini-Fest and an Eclectic Mix of Jazz Talent

Many familiar faces showed up again in a reunion of jazz voices, with a dash of “new blood” to create an intoxicating musical cocktail. George Cables, Leny Andrade, Craig Handy, Shea Breaux Wells and Lorca Hart, but a new guitar-slinger showed up in the form of 16-year old Kai Devitt-Lee. Esperanza Spalding packed the Raven, her star still rising, and the year’s Brazil-fest at Rec Park included first generation Bossa Nova star Oscar Castro-Neves, as well as Claudia Villela and Romero Lubambo.

Christian Foley-Beining brought his new playing partner Paul McCandless to the stage, marking the return of the Oregon multi-instrumentalist to local celebrity. An unusual addition to the line-up was the Art of the Solo Guitar mini-fest, a day long workshop and concert at the local guitar factory of Tom Ribbecke. Other concerts showcased the combined bassist Charlie Haden, pianist Geri Allen, with Ravi Coltrane on sax. For the finale, a line-up billed as the “keepers of the flame” brought vocalist Gretchen Parlato to the spotlight, and Cuban-born drummer Dafnis Prieto and his Sí o Sí Quartet jammed with visionary Berkeley musician Peter Apfelbaum. The finale saw pianist Jason Moran leading his Bandwagon through an eclectic set, featuring Bill Frisell on guest guitar.


A Heady mix of Jazz Legends and New Kids on the Block

Julian Lage kicked it off, followed the next night by the sensational Esperanza Spalding (picture) in her Festival debut. Then the Rec Park turned into Brazil as guitar maestro Toninho Horta with Airto wowed the open-air audience. Leny Andrade and Stephanie Ozer returned, and the Bossa Nova beat became an integral part of the Festival score.

As the week progressed the “rising stars” ascended, introducing Healdsburg audiences to Debbie Poryes, guitarist Jason Bodlovich and pianist/composer Noam Lemish. Piano soloist Denny Zeitlin and saxophonist John Handy followed the next night. Other performances included Randy Weston with his African Rhythms Quintet; Benny Barth, Azar Lawrence and Eddie Marshall; jazz guru Richard Howell opened for the James Moody Quartet, with guest Marlena Shaw. In addition, several downtown tasting rooms stepped up with jazz-and-wine mini-concerts, setting a new tradition for the coming years.


Charles Lloyd, Billy Hart, Eddie Palmieri, Kenny Barron, and Other Stars to Celebrate 10th Anniversary

The 10th Anniversary Festival brought Jazz Legend Charles Lloyd (picture) to the festival for a memorable concert, playing in quartet and trio forms with Zakir Hussain, Jason Moran and others. Eddie Palmieri and Pete Escovedo gave us our first “Day on the Green” at Rec Park, while the Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Ensemble livelied up the picnickers at Tuesday on the Plaza.

A special tribute to Eric Dolphy saw Bennie Maupin, James Newton, Billy Hart and others; and the next night saw Charlie Haden, Kenny Barron and Joshua Redmond on stage, along with local favorites Julian Lage, Ray Drummond and Billy Hart.“Spirituals and sacred jazz” performance with James Newton, George Cables and Ruth Naomi Floyd; Cedar Walton and Bobby Hutcherson and their combos, including Renee Rosnes, Victor Lewis, Bobby Watson, Craig Handy, Mary Stallings and more, concluded another great year for Healdsburg Jazz.


Setting the Stage for Another Decade of Memorable Music

It was the ninth year in a long and successful decade for the Healdsburg Jazz Festival. It featured a tribute to piano virtuoso George Cables, with saxophonist Gary Bartz and drummer Tain Watts; trumpeter Roy Hargrove opened the strong show. But a week earlier, the action was at Healdsburg’s Rec Park for an all-afternoon open air festival in Celebration of New Orleans and her musicians. Delfeayo Marsalis brought a quintet, the Rebirth Brass Band showed up, and other acts gave a festive atmosphere to the park.

The Rebirth of the Cookers was another highlight in a concert, featuring Eddie Henderson, Billy Harper, Craig Handy and more, and the duo of Taylor Eigsti and Julian Lage won over new fans. But for many the highlight came early in the week when Brazil’s legendary singer Leny Andrade (picture), backed by Stephanie Ozer. Chicago’s Patricia Barber, Rhiannon, the John Heard Trio and other great stars.


A Showcase of Legendary Talent

Once again the Healdsburg Jazz Festival reached into the upper reaches of jazz’s legendary talent and pulled in McCoy Tyner (picture), pianist par excellence, whose career with Miles, Coltrane and more needs no elaboration. Other stars included West Coat bassist Charlie Haden and his quartet, the return of the Heath Brothers in tribute to the recently passed Percy Heath, and veteran jazz vocalist Mark Murphy. Barndiva again hosted the opening weekend with Marc Cary, Bruce Foreman, Rebecca Mauleon and Shea Breaux Wells appearing in various venues. Billy Hart led a trio with Julian Lage and Santi Debriano, and many other artists appeared throughout the week.


Local and Global Stars in a Jazz Bash to Remember

The Seventh Annual festival added a new venue, the back garden of Barndiva, for a kickoff weekend of great new jazz from saxophonist Virginia Mayhew and, the next night, Marc Cary leading a trio from the piano. Then it was off to the races with Mimi Fox at Hotel Healdsburg, and Mark Cantor returning with his jazz shorts at the Raven before the first weekend was over. John Santos and the Machete Ensemble headlined a Tuesday in the Plaza show, and other artists included Jessica Williams, Mary Stallings, Brazilian jazz artists Claudia Villela and Ricardo Peixoto as the week progressed.

Legendary vibraphonist Gary Burton (picture) with his new Generation band including young Julian Lage on guitar. It concluded with Kenny Barron, Regina Carter, Babatunde Lea, Richard Howell.


Tribute to Roy Haynes

Driven by legendary jazz drummer Roy Haynes (picture), then 79 years young, the Festival roared into the summer with saxmen Kenny Garrett and Frank Morgan, piano virtuosos Geri Allen and Fred Hersch, vocalists Carmen Lundy and Kim Parker (daughter-in-law of Charlie), and the always-welcome return of Charles Lloyd, playing a sold-out Raven Theater appearance with percussionist Zakir Hussain. Regulars John Heard and Billy Hart were on hand as well, and the usual appreciative wine country audience.


Growing as a Festival with Jazz Diva Abbey Lincoln

For the first time the Festival ran a full week, with the last of the great jazz divas, Abbey Lincoln (picture) headlining the finale — held at Rodney Strong on the final Sunday for the first time — along with a top flight of stars of the art form. James Newton brought a quartet, Bobby Hutcherson hung with George Cables and Ray Drummond, Joe Lovano played with his lady Judi Silvano and the Mary Stallings Quartet reigned at Quivira. Julian Lage, John Heard, Khalil Shaheed, Angela Wellman and Billy Hart were some of the other performers at the Fifth Annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival.


A Festival Well Integrated to the Summer Schedule of the Wine Country

The new Hotel Healdsburg became part of our festival by hosting several events, and we roped Felix & Louie’s on the Plaza into a couple shows as well. Once again the finale was held in the Healdsburg Plaza, with a well-received concert with Babatunde Lea and other Bay Area favorites.

Performances included Randy Weston African Rhythms; Jeff Pittson Trio with John Wittala and Deson Claiborne; Triple Bill: Julian Lage Group with Art Hirahara, Todd Sickafoose and Alan U’Ren Curtis Fuller Super Band with Louis Hayes, James Williams Jackie McLean with Cedar Walton Trio with David Williams and Albert “Tootie” Heath; Felix and Louie’s Eddie Marshall Quartet with Ron Stallings, Jeff Chambers and Leonard Thompson; Mark Levine Trio with Peter Barshay and Alan U’ren.


Honoring Billy Higgins

This year’s Festival was to honor percussionist Billy Higgins but he unfortunately passed away in just weeks earlier. We redirected the festival as a tribute but felt his engaging spirit with us the entire time.

Trentadue Gala dinner and concert with Don Moye, Craig Handy and Ray Drummond; Renee Rosness Trio with Billy Drummond and Peter Washington; Jerry Gonzalez (picture) and the Fort Apache Band Pete Escovedo Orchestra Saturday; Ray Drummond Quartet with Craig Handy, Rob Schneiderman and Billy Hart Tribute to Lester Bowie in Film and Music With Don Moye, Amina Claudine Myers and Arthur Blythe Special Film about Lester Bowie created for this event; The Heath Brothers, Jimmy, Tootie and Percy with Jeb Patton Billy Higgins Sextet Harold Land, Oscar Brashear and George Bohanon and Jeffery Littleton. Festival Finale – Full set of drummers honoring Billy Higgins. Don Moye, Tootie Heath, Billy Drummond, Steve Barrios, Jerry Gonzalez, Myron Cohen.


World-Class Artists Performing in Healdsburg and Loving It

Our second year opened with a gala dinner at Villa Chanticleer. For the first time, we put on a concert at Rodney Strong Vineyards, featuring the legendary Pharoah Sanders and George Coleman. Many of the names and faces that have become familiar to Healdsburgundians showed up, including Billy Higgins, George Cables, Fred Hersch and Charles Lloyd (picture, with Jessica Felix), with the first appearance of local guitar prodigy Julian Lage.

Raven Film Center Jazz Night at the Movies with Marc Cantor Friday; Fred Hersch and Jane Ira Bloom Duo; George Coleman Quartet with Harold Mabern, Jeffrey Littleton and Victor Lewis Pharoah Sanders Ensemble with William Henderson, Jeffrey Littleton and Billy Higgins; Von and Chico Freeman Quintet with George Cables and Victor Lewis. Hot Jazz Brunch with Greg Hester Quartet at Belvedere Winery; Geyser Peak Winery Picnic Area Tacuma King and the Children’s World Music Workshop Charles Lloyd Quartet featuring John Abercrombie and Billy Higgins with special guest Julian Lage.


The Beginning of It All

The first Healdsburg Jazz Festival seems small in retrospect, but it was a big event in this then-sleepy town. Big stars headlined, with Higgins performing a solo concert as well as backing the other performers, and film historian Mark Cantor made his initial appearance. The first Sunday finale was held in the Healdsburg Plaza. And it was free.

It started with Raven Theater Jazz Night at the Movies, followed by the Bobby Hutcherson Quartet with Cedar Walton, Tony Dumas and Billy Higgins the next night. On Saturday afternoon, we witnessed an afternoon with Billy Higgins (picture) in a solo concert, again at the Raven, with the Cedar Walton Quartet with took center stage that night. Sunday afternoon brought our first finale, a free concert in the Plaza with the Cannonball Sextet, Tacuma King with the Children’s World Music Workshop, much to the delight of Healdsburg residents and visitors.