Redwood Jazz Alliance

2011-12 Season

Over the course of five seasons, we reckon more than 6000 pairs of ears have taken in the sounds of the world-class musicians who've graced our stages, while a smaller but lucky number of those ears have heard the same artists drop wisdom at free public workshops—"religious experiences," one attendee dubbed them long ago. We're ready to up the totals (and reprise the great sounds and great science) in Season Six.

Admission is still a depression-friendly $15 General Admission and $10 for students & seniors. Advance tickets will be available at People's Records, Wildwood Music, Wildberries Marketplace, and the Works—and (along with discounted season tickets) here at our website. Each of the season's artists will also present a workshop or clinic, free and open to the public, usually the morning after the scheduled concert. As the season unfolds, click on each artist's name below to see a web page devoted to him or her. And feel free to contact us at with questions, comments--and donations!

Jump to: Next Show (Claire Daly Quartet)
Or: Go to the "Claire Daly" page

Hear this season's artists by starting the audio player to the right:

Donny McCaslin


Donny McCaslin Group
Thursday, September 15, 2011 (8 pm) | Kate Buchanan Room, HSU
Donny McCaslin, tenor saxophone; Uri Caine, keyboards; Fima Ephron, bass; Mark Guiliana, drums

It’s not often we invite a past guest to return as a leader—but when Donny McCaslin (RJA 2008-09) offered to swing through with his new quartet on his way to the Monterey Jazz Festival, we couldn’t resist.  Like many of McCaslin's past projects, this one is turning heads:  DownBeat hears in his venture into “electric” jazz “an irrepressible outpouring of ideas, sometimes flowing with such force that they seem to back up, tripping on each other, then gushing forth giddily.”  With echoes of Memphis soul, Led Zeppelin, and West Coast funk (think Tower of Power), the band’s album Perpetual Motion, says Jazz Times, is still firmly grounded in the tenor saxophonist’s “vibrant, room-filling tone [and] the boundless rhythmic fluency of his soloing.”

“Indisputably one of the major saxophone voices of his generation.”
—David Adler, Jazz Times
donny mccaslin at ted kurland associates

David Binney

David Binney Quartet
Thursday, October 6, 2011 (8 pm) | Kate Buchanan Room, HSU
David Binney, alto saxophone; David Virelles, piano; Eivind Opsvik, bass; Dan Weiss, drums

Alto saxophonist David Binney, on the other hand--Donny’s longtime friend, collaborator and producer--has never headlined an RJA show.  So when he showed up with drummer Antonio Sanchez a couple of years ago, we set out to fix that.  (We’d actually set our sights on Binney, whose knotty, dramatic, tuneful compositions are among the most distinctive in modern jazz, a long time ago.)  On his latest album, Barefooted Town, Binney augments the most recent incarnation of his “Third Occasion” quartet with guests Ambrose Akinmusire (RJA 2010-11) and Mark Turner (RJA 2008-09, with FLY); a whole lot of musicians’ musicians like to play with him when they can.  But the core members of this band, which features up-and-coming Cuban pianist David Virelles, form a crack unit all by themselves.

"A strikingly original composer, leader, conceptualist"
third occasion quartet live at newport 2010

Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom
Sunday, October 30, 2011 (8 pm) | Kate Buchanan Room, HSU
Allison Miller, drums; Jenny Scheinman, violin; Myra Melford, piano; Todd Sickafoose, bass

Twice named "rising star drummer" in the DownBeat critics poll, Miller keeps time for Natalie Merchant and Ani DiFranco when she's not busy with her own groups (some of whose music was recruited for Showtime's "The L Word"). The compelling grooves of Boom Tic Boom take in everything from post-bop and avant-garde to country and funk, and they landed high on a bunch of "Best of 2010" lists, including ours. Oh--and the BTB band members might include one or two familar names....

"Miller is a drummer of fierce clarity and bold imagination."
—John Fordham, London Guardian
allison miller promo video | boom tic boom on youtube

Harris Eisenstadt
Photo: Peter Gannushkin

Harris Eisenstadt's Canada Day
March 1, 2012 (8 pm) | Arcata Playhouse
Harris Eisenstadt, drums; Nate Wooley, trumpet; Matt Bauder, tenor sax; Chris Dingman, vibraphone; Garth Stevenson, bass

We don’t know if Jason Marsalis had fellow drummer Harris Eisenstadt in mind when he railed last year against the “Jazz Nerds International” who are betraying The Tradition.  But we expect Harris would cop to the label—and we think that’s a good thing.  In the words of New York Times critic Nate Chinen, Eisenstadt “works along jazz’s progressive fringe but doesn’t generally set out to make a ruckus. In his own music especially, he often seems intent on extracting consonance from dissonance or forging ungainliness into grace.”  That description fits his band Canada Day to a “T.”  The graceful quintet features the talents of trumpeter Nate Wooley and vibraphonist Chris Dingman—both of whom have been getting lots of attention on their own lately.  DownBeat gave Canada Day’s first album four stars; the second was an Editors’ Pick.

"A composer of great depth and diversity...and a formidable bandleader [with] a love for post-modern mainstream jazz."
—Michael Nastos, All Music Guide
canada day promo film

Kitty Margolis

Kitty Margolis
March 30, 2012 | Morris Graves Museum of Art, Eureka
Kitty Margolis, vocals; with Murray Low, piano; John Shifflett, bass, and Allison Miller, drums

A hometown favorite in the Bay Area, this North Beach denizen has filled houses--and brought them down--all over the world. Margolis was one of the 90s innovators who prepared the way for this year's models (Gretchen Parlato, Becca Stevens, Rebecca Martin), but she's still way out front. And along with the pioneers whose torch she carries--mavericks like Betty Carter and Sheila Jordan--her powerfully supple voice, her inventive phrasing, and her deft improvisation have won her plenty of love from jazz instrumentalists.

"Like few other singers, she is expanding and contemporizing the vocal jazz vernacular. Spectacular."
LA Times
kitty margolis youtube mix

Rez Abbasi

Rez Abbasi's Invocation Quintet
April 25, 2012 | Fulkerson Recital Hall, HSU
Rez Abbasi, guitar; Matt Mitchell, piano; David Binney, alto saxophone; Johannes Weidenmueller, bass; Dan Weiss, drums

Like his friends and fellow innovators Vijay Iyer (RJA 2010-11) and Rudresh Mahanthappa, Karachi-born/California-raised Rez Abbasi is, as Yoshi's Oakland described him last spring, "an emblematic figure in the globalization of jazz." Invocation's seamless welding of South Asian sounds and vanguard jazz put its debut album, the prophetic Things to Come (2009), among DownBeat's top CDs of the decade.

“An amazing guitarist…unique and beautiful music – and best of all – very original…I’m really impressed.”
—Pat Metheny
rez abbasi acoustic quartet live at newport 2010

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