Redwood Jazz Alliance

2015-16 Season

It's our 10th season! To end the decade, we're bringing back a bunch of old friends, all of whom have been here before, though almost always at the helm of different bands. (Many of the sidemen have played here, too, some of them as leaders.) Once again we've got the usual mix of Critics' Poll winners, Guggenheim fellows, and NPR featured artists—not to mention plain ol' great players. But this year, even though we didn't deliberately set out to do so, it turns out we're also Giving the Drummer Some: fully half of this season's groups are led by some of the best tub-thumpers, bucket-bangers, and skin-slappers in the business. Beat that!

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. All of this season's guests will also present a workshop or clinic, free and open to the public, usually but not always the morning after the 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 (Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom)
(Or visit the separate Boom Tic Boom event page)

Listen to the 2015-16 Season Mixtape on Soundcloud
Watch the 2015-16 Season Playlist on YouTube

Myra Melford

Photo: Bryan Miller


Myra Melford's Snowy Egret
Wednesday, October 14, 2015 (8 pm) | Morris Graves Museum of Art
Myra Melford, piano; Ron Miles, cornet; Liberty Ellman, guitar; Stomu Takeishi, acoustic bass guitar; Tyshawn Sorey, drums

Pianist, composer, and UC Berkeley music professor Myra Melford is such an essential figure in modern music—and in the history of the RJA—that we’ve made her our first “three-peat” bandleader.  Her writing is lauded for its wide-ranging sources, its surprising melodies and harmonies, its uncommon instrumental combinations, and the space it leaves for intensely focused group improvisations. “Snowy Egret” (the name of her latest band and album) includes several old friends, and its repertoire is inspired by Uruguayan author Eduardo Galeano’s Memory of Fire trilogy.

“A visionary bandleader with a singularly expansive sound embracing a global array of influences.”
—Andrew Gilbert, Berkeleyside
myra melford on voa's beyond category
buy tickets to snowy egret

Scott Amendola Band

The Scott Amendola Band
Presented in partnership with the Arcata Playhouse
Wednesday & Thursday, November 11 & 12, 2015 (8 pm) | Arcata Playhouse
Jenny Scheinman, violin; Nels Cline and Jeff Parker, guitars; John Shifflett, bass; Scott Amendola, drums

Bay Area fixture Amendola is equally at home in the pocket and on the edge. For him, the drumkit, as he likes to say, isn't so much an instrument as a musical portal.  His extensive resume includes long collaborations with guitar gods Charlie Hunter and Nels Cline—and earlier this year he reunited the Scott Amendola Band, a powerhouse unit of close musical friends, all West Coasters, whose potent synergy is more than enough to spark two nights' worth of surprise and delight.

"A drummer equally committed to invention and groove."
—Nate Chinen, New York Times
buy tickets to scott amendola

Christmas Tree-O

Photo: Fran Kaufman

Matt Wilson's Christmas Tree-O
Tuesday, December 1, 2015 (8 pm) | Kate Buchanan Room, HSU
Jeff Lederer, reeds; Paul Sikivie, bass; Matt Wilson, drums

In a perfect world, we’d have Matt Wilson back every year. You won’t meet a more magnanimous soul in the jazz cosmos (maybe not in any cosmos) and—no disrespect to our other guests—you won’t find a greater musician, either.  Wilson’s "Tree-O" takes on the holiday repertoire, both sacred and secular, in ways that are alternately goofy and earnest, inexorable and unpredictable—and totally reverent.  We know: holiday shows can be dreary.  This one is utterly fresh.

"If we were to form a jazz combo, our model would most definitely be Matt Wilson’s Christmas Tree-O!."
—The Three Wise Men
matt wilson's christmas tree-o on npr's tiny desk concert

Rez Abbasi

Rez Abbasi Acoustic Quartet
Sunday, February 7, 2016 (8 pm) | Arcata Playhouse
Rez Abbasi, guitars; Bill Ware, vibraphone; Stephan Crump, bass; Eric McPherson, drums

The fleet-fingered guitarist (and perennial favorite in the DownBeat critics poll) is noted for his “ethnic” fusions.  But on his latest album, Intents and Purposes, Abbasi takes on a different kind of fusion, reimagining 70s classics by Joe Zawinul, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and John McLaughlin as acoustic tunes, dialing down the volume and bringing out the beauty.  The new arrangements retain the rhythmic drive and complexity of the originals, but explore their open spaces and hidden textures, too. 

"By stripping away most of the bravado that tended to coat these songs in their original incarnations, Abbasi brings forward melody, detail, and thrilling subtlety."
—Will Layman, Pop Matters
allen morrison profiles rez abbasi in downbeat

Michael Blake

Michael Blake's Tiddy Boom
Thursday, March 10, 2016 (8 pm) | Fulkerson Recital Hall, HSU
Michael Blake, tenor sax; Frank Kimbrough, piano; Ben Allison, bass; Rudy Royston, drums

Our favorite unsung hero returns with a project inspired by two titans of the tenor sax—Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young—and music that manages to honor each man’s distinctive sound while channeling both. Blake and his bandmates have reached that point in their careers where they're sounding like old souls themselves: relaxed, adept, sure-footed, nothing left to prove.  The album Tiddy Boom was our top pick of 2014. The music is pure joy.

"Blake’s tenor burbles and barks out references to past masters while remaining firmly planted in the present." 
—James Hale, DownBeat
tiddy boom at sunnyside records bandcamp page

Allison Miller
Photo: Desdemona Burgin

Allison Miller's Boom Tic Boom
Sunday, April 10, 2016 (8 pm) | Kate Buchanan Room, HSU
Ben Goldberg, clarinets; Kirk Knuffke, cornet; Myra Melford, piano; Jenny Scheinman, violin; Haggai Cohen Milo, bass; Allison Miller, drums

Allison Miller has a thing for Humboldt County—and evidently we’ve got a thing for her, too.  In the last five years, Miller has dropped in not just with her own band, but with Kitty Margolis, the Honey Ear Trio, Jessica Lurie, and the Tiptons.  Her music grooves and challenges at the same time, and we can’t wait to hear the expanded version of Boom Tic Boom, which for its new studio album (and for this West Coast tour) adds multi-reedist Ben Goldberg and cornetist Kirk Knuffke to the core quartet.

“A drummer of fierce clarity and bold imagination.”
—John Fordham, London Guardian
boom tic boom on npr's tiny desk concert

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