Redwood Jazz Alliance

Ron Miles-Gary Versace-Matt Wilson Trio
Wednesday, March 2, 8 p.m.| Morris Graves Museum of Art, 636 F Street, Eureka

We’re sad to report that a family emergency has forced Matt Wilson to withdraw from the tour.  We’re glad to report, however, that the amiable Rudy Royston, whom our audiences met when he filled in for Johnathan Blake in the Tom Harrell Quintet, has stepped into the breach. 

Raised in Denver, Royston has a long history—and a great chemistry—with Ron Miles.  He has played on nearly all of Miles’s albums dating back to 1996, and like Miles he has collaborated frequently with fellow Denverite Bill Frisell, most recently in the guitarist’s “Beautiful Dreamers” trio.  For the past several years he has held down the drummer’s chair in saxophonist J.D. Allen’s trio as well as in bassist Ben Allison’s latest band (which also features violinist Jenny Scheinman), and he has recently played with Monk competition winner Jon Irabagon, fiery saxophonist Tia Fuller, and bassist Todd Sickafoose’s “Tiny Resistors” (again with Scheinman).  Happily, like Matt Wilson, Rudy Royston is also a common denominator for Ron Miles and Gary Versace, having joined Versace in organ trios led by guitarists Jonathan Kreisberg and Rez Abbasi. 

You can hear Royston’s propulsive drumming with the J.D. Allen Trio on NPR: Live at the Village Vanguard | Live at the Newport Jazz Festival | Live in Denver.  (The full set of the latter concert, featuring special guest Ron Miles, is at WBGO’s The Checkout.)

Rudy Royston

(For music and links, scroll to the bottom of this page)

Ron Miles
Ron Miles
Gary Versace
Gary Versace (© Guy Van de Poel)
Matt Wilson
Matt Wilson

This performance is presented in partnership with the Humboldt Arts Council at the Morris Graves Museum of Art.


We return to Eureka--and two former guests of the RJA return to Humboldt County, with a sympathetic third in tow.

Trumpeter Ron Miles, says NPR's Becca Pulliam, "sings through his horn." An anchor of the lively Denver scene and simply "one of the finest trumpeters in jazz today" (Jazz Times), Miles is known for his restrained, sensitive playing in a variety of contexts--most famously, perhaps, in collaborations with guitar heros like Bill Frisell and Charlie Hunter. (Miles and Hunter were two-fourths of "Go Home," who played to a packed Kate Buchanan Room in Spring 2009, and they returned to Arcata last spring for a funky Charlie Hunter Trio gig at the Jambalaya.)

Matt Wilson, who's played RJA dates with Trio M and Myra Melford's Be Bread, is one of the busiest, best, and most beloved drummers of his generation. Lines on his resume for the past year: schooled the kids on "What Is Free Jazz?" for Lincoln Center's "Jazz for Young People" series, performed a live set with his "Christmas Tree-O" for NPR Music, sat in with Joe Lovano's "Us Five" at the Village Vanguard, backed up Herbie Hancock at the White House, and joined rising star saxophonist Noah Preminger's new quartet. And in the same month in late 2009, he graced the covers of both DownBeat and Jazz Times. (Whew!) Wilson also has a reputation as the class clown of contemporary jazz, which really means that he has a blast when he plays, and he knows how to put audiences and fellow musicians completely at ease. ("An ambassador of good feeling," the New York Times calls him.) He's played with just about anyone you could name in the past two generations in addition to leading two working bands of his own (he's waxed nine discs for Palmetto and appeared on over 200 others!), but Wilson also has a knack for engineering imaginative and sometimes unexpected collaborations. He and Miles have teamed up in several different settings, most recently in an astonishing duo at the 2010 Ottawa Jazz Festival.

Meanwhile, in-demand keyboardist Gary Versace—a member of the Claudia Quintet, the Refuge Trio, and the Maria Schneider Orchestra—has been part of Team Wilson for years: his "uncommonly graceful, fluid" Hammond organ (Jazz Times) shapes the distinctive sound of Wilson's "Arts & Crafts" quartet. The three-time DownBeat critics "rising star" has also recorded as a leader for Criss Cross, Steeplechase, and the Japanese label M & I, and appeared as a sideman on more than fifty other albums.

Put these three together in the warm, intimate confines of the Morris Graves, and something joyous and sublime is bound to happen.

Tickets ($15 General Admission, $10 Students & Seniors) are available here at our website, or at Wildwood Music, People's Records, and The Works.

The trio will also present a FREE public workshop at 10:00 a.m. the following morning, Thursday, March 3d (location TBA). People of all levels of experience are welcome to attend.

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Additional support for this show comes from Big Pete's Pizzeria, Coast Central Credit Union, KHSU, Libation Wine Shop & Wine Bar, Rustic West Trading Company, Diane Sharples Taxes & Consulting, and Wildwood Music.

HSU SealThursday morning's workshop is made possible through the generosity of HSU's Office of the President, Office of the Provost, the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, and the Department of Music.

If you or your business would like to consider sponsoring a Redwood Jazz Alliance event and/or advertising in our concert programs, please e-mail us or visit our Underwriting & Donations page.

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