Redwood Jazz Alliance

2014-15 Season

Call this the Year of the Singer. Between us and CenterArts (with whom we're partnering again this year on one spectacular special event), Humboldt County will play host to five vocalists in 2014-15: two stellar veterans, two white-hot supernovas, and one rising star. Throw in a passel o' post-bop all-stars, three sax powerhouses, and our first-ever trombonist-led group, and we'll call that a great season—our last in single digits (Number 9). We've still got the usual mix of Critics' Poll winners, MacArthur "geniuses," and NPR featured artists—not to mention just plain great players—but this year we've added our first bona fide NEA Jazz Master.

Our prices have held steady since our very first concert in twenty-ought-six: $15 General Admission and $10 Student/Senior. Advance tickets for most shows will be available at Wildberries Marketplace, Wildwood Music, People's Records, and The Works—and (along with discounted season tickets) here at our website. (Please take note: special arrangements will be in place for our first "pre-season" show, a collaboration with CenterArts.) Most of this season's guests 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/her/them. And feel free to contact us at with questions, comments, and donations!

Jump to: Next Show (Ryan Keberle and Catharsis)
(Or visit the separate Ryan Keberle event page)

Listen to the 2014-15 Season Mixtape on Soundcloud
Watch the 2014-15 Season Playlist on YouTube

Cecile McLorin Salvant


Cécile McLorin Salvant & Trio
Tuesday, September 16, 2014 (8 pm) | Van Duzer Theatre, HSU
A special pre-season co-presentation with CenterArts
With Aaron Diehl, piano; Paul Sikivie, bass; Lawrence Leathers, drums

The lead sentence of DownBeat’s August 2014 cover story says it all: “Eighteen months ago, hardly anyone knew who Cécile McLorin Salvant was. Now everybody in the jazz world knows her name.” Her win in the 2010 Thelonious Monk competition was a shot across the bow, but the fireworks really began in 2013 with her U.S. debut, WomanChild. This year, 154 jazz writers named that album record of the year in the DownBeat International Critics Poll—and they put McLorin Salvant atop the Female Vocalist, Rising Star-Jazz Artist, and Rising Star-Female Vocalist categories for good measure.  This daring, canny singer is only 24—and she’s headed for the stars.

“[McLorin Salvant] puts original, idiosyncratic and virtuosic force on old repertory, some of it from the high era of American songbook standards, some of it older than jazz itself. She’s the latest answer to the question of what jazz has to do with you.”
—Ben Ratliff, New York Times
cécile mcloren salvant live on wnyc's soundcheck
buy tickets for cécile mcloren salvant (starting august 4)

The Cookers

The Cookers
Made possible in part with help from the Western Jazz Presenters Network and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 (8 pm) | Kate Buchanan Room, HSU
Craig Handy, alto sax; Billy Harper, tenor sax; Eddie Henderson and David Weiss, trumpets; George Cables, piano; Cecil McBee, bass; Billy Hart, drums

There’s a simple reason for this hard-bop supergroup’s moniker, and it’s not that they’re talented in the kitchen. The heavyweights who make up The Cookers have credentials beyond reproach, though simply gathering a group of legends and throwing them onto a stage isn’t necessarily a recipe for success.  But “these guys,” says bandleader David Weiss, “all speak a common language.”  They’ve “been in a lot of the most important bands in the history of this music. They know what makes bands great.” That begins to explain why they’ve cohered into a unit that transcends its all-star status. They’re a lifeline to one of the music’s golden eras, but they’re also living legends making vital, modern music. Come and get it!

"Pure, blaring, charging hard bop."
—Thomas Conrad, Jazz Times

the cookers at motéma records
the cookers on npr's the checkout live from 92y tribeca
buy tickets for the cookers

Greg Osby

Greg Osby Quartet
Sunday, October 19, 2014 (8 pm) | Fulkerson Recital Hall, HSU
Made possible in part with help from the Western Jazz Presenters Network and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
Greg Osby, alto sax; Simona Premazzi, piano; Desmond White, bass; Adam Arruda, drums

Greg Osby is one of the shapers of contemporary jazz and one of most original saxophonists of the past quarter-century. In the 80s, he found his voice as part of the M-Base collective and in Jack DeJohnette’s Special Edition. In the 90s, he was a mainstay for Blue Note, cutting 14 albums for the legendary label before striking out on his own. (Since 2005, his Inner Circle Music has been both an outlet for his own work and an incubator for young talents.)  A few years back, New York’s storied Village Vanguard marked Osby's 50th birthday—and his stature in the field—with a weeklong residency.  Since then, he’s been one of just a handful of artists to be accorded that honor annually.

"One of the most forward thinking, outspoken, and at times misunderstood artists in contemporary jazz."
—Mark F. Turner, All About Jazz
greg osby quintet on npr's live at the village vanguard
buy tickets for greg osby

Miguel Zenon

Miguel Zenón Quartet
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 (8 pm) | Kate Buchanan Room, HSU
Miguel Zenón, alto sax; Luis Perdomo, piano; Hans Glawischnig, bass; Eric Doob, drums

When Miguel Zenón brought this sizzling ensemble to the RJA stage in 2008, he was already a rapidly rising star, with four albums as a leader to his credit.  A few months later he got a MacArthur Fellowship—commonly known as the “Genius” award.  Since then, he’s become a senior member of the SFJazz Ensemble and a Resident Artistic Director at SFJazz. And he’s continued to blaze new paths merging jazz, classical, and Puerto Rican folk forms, most recently with a work for big band entitled “Identities Are Changeable,” with his crack quartet at the core.

"The de facto spokesman for the jazz possibilities inherent in the musical DNA of Puerto Rico."
—Dan Bilawsky, All About Jazz
miguel zenón quartet on npr's live at the village vanguard

Melissa Aldana Crash Trio

Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio
Tuesday, February 3, 2015 (8 pm) | Arcata Playhouse
Melissa Aldana, tenor sax; Pablo Menares, bass; Francisco Mela, drums

There was bound to be a whole lot of hype last year when the Chilean-born Aldana, then just 24, became the first female instrumentalist to win the Thelonious Monk Competition in its twenty-seven-year history. This past January in New York we heard her trio in person—and we’re here to tell you: Believe The Hype. Controlled, confident, scary-smart, Aldana is steeped in jazz history, channeling Sonny Rollins one moment and Mark Turner the next, but ultimately speaking in her own voice, inflected with a deep velvet tone and an equally deep sense of play. As Jazz Times put it in its June feature story, she’s poised to become “Jazz’s Next Tenor Sax Great.”

"Aldana has a clear, limber tone that she can darken at whim, so that it’s possible to hear an older generation of tenor players haunting her sound." 
—Nate Chinen, New York Times
crash trio on npr's the checkout live at berklee

Sheila Jordan & Cameron Brown
Photo: Bill King

Sheila Jordan with Cameron Brown
Sunday, March 8, 2015 (8 pm) | Morris Graves Museum of Art
Sheila Jordan, voice; Cameron Brown, bass

Arriving in New York from Detroit in the early 50s, Jordan befriended and performed with jazz giants like Lennie Tristano, Charles Mingus, Max Roach, and—most significantly—Charlie Parker. The first female vocalist to record an album for Blue Note, she pioneered the art of the voice/bass duo, eventually developing long and sympathetic partnerships with Arild Anderson, Harvie S and Cameron Brown, who has accompanied everyone from Chet Baker to Archie Shepp, but who may be best known for his tenure with the Don Pullen/George Adams quartet. In 2012, as an octogenarian, Jordan was named an NEA Jazz Master, the nation’s highest honor in jazz. Luckily for us, as a friend of hers put it, “Sheila doesn’t feel age.”

“She's not an impressionist so much as a medium, channelling the jazz of the past through an imagination that constantly reinvents its own material.”
—Richard Cook & Brian Morton, The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings
nea jazz masters tribute to sheila jordan
buy tickets for sheila jordan

Ryan Keberle

Ryan Keberle and Catharsis featuring vocalist Camila Meza
Monday, April 13, 2015 (8 pm) | Arcata Playhouse
Ryan Keberle, trombone; Mike Rodriguez, trumpet; Jorge Roeder, bass; Eric Doob, drums; Camila Meza, voice

As a performer, composer, and arranger, Keberle draws upon lessons learned playing alongside masters of a multitude of forms, from jazz legends (Maria Schneider, Wynton Marsalis) and Latin jazz stalwarts (Pedro Giraudo, Ivan Lins)  to indie ground-breakers (Sufjan Stevens) and R&B superstars (Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys). His band Catharsis includes some of the most compelling up-and-comers in jazz; their voices come together in an approach rich with melodic invention, heavy groove, and a subtle indie rock sensibility.

“A young trombonist of vision and composure [with a] quartet...of rugged cohesion.”
—Nate Chinen, New York Times
catharsis live on wnyc's soundcheck

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