Redwood Jazz Alliance

2013-14 Season

Season 8 is bass heavy. Nearly half of this year's bands are led or co-led by stand-up bassists. (So sue us: we like the low end.) And not that we've been rabid nativists till now, but the new line-up also looks unusually cosmopolitan. The bassists alone represent Denmark, Malaysia by way of Australia, and Israel; other prospective visitors hail from England, Sweden, the Netherlands, and—counting one expat—Germany. (Plenty of home-grown talent, as well, including a Humboldt native or two.) We've still got the usual mix of Critics' Poll winners, Guggenheim fellows, MacArthur "geniuses," and NPR featured artists, not to mention rising stars, unsung heroes, and just plain all-around great players. Fold that into a solid base of open-eared listeners and generous supporters, and you've got a recipe for a great season.

Our prices haven't changed in eight years: $15 General Admission and $10 for students & seniors. 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: we'll soon be switching from Google Checkout to Brown Paper Tickets. Also: special arrangements will be in place for our final show in April, a collaboration with Center Arts.) 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 or her. And feel free to contact us at with questions, comments, and donations!

Jump to: Next Show (we'll see you in September 2014!)

Listen to the 2013-14 Season Mixtape on Soundcloud
Watch the 2013-14 Season Playlist on YouTube



Monday, September 23, 2013 (8 pm) | Morris Graves Museum of Art
Jasper Høiby, bass; Ivo Neame, piano; Anton Eger, drums

We don’t like to brag, but by the time NPR Music endorsed Phronesis as one of “5 Young British Jazz Artists to Watch” back in 2010, we were already watching—and listening.  So was the rest of the world: that same year the trio, at the forefront of the European club and festival scene, crossed the pond to wow audiences at the Montreal International Jazz Festival and at New York’s legendary Jazz Standard. Meanwhile the UK’s influential Jazzwise magazine crowned their third CD, Alive, “Album of the Year.” This fall, they’re bringing their trademark sound—catchy hooks, complex changes, crackling rhythms, and lithe but tight-knit grooves—to the Monterey Jazz Festival…and to the RJA.

“As the pile of talented piano trios grows ever higher, it takes a very talented and exciting threesome to rise to the top and stay there. Enter Phronesis.”
—Bruce Lindsay, All About Jazz
phronesis at the 2013 montreal jazz festival
buy tickets for phronesis

Claudia Quintet

The Claudia Quintet
Tuesday, October 8, 2013 (8 pm) | Arcata Playhouse
John Hollenbeck, drums; Chris Speed, clarinet & tenor sax; Red Wierenga, accordion; Chris Tordini, bass; Matt Moran, vibes

Sometimes they’re a swinging big band, other times hipsters in a cool lounge act. They can sound like almost anything: an Ellington combo, a Scandinavian tone poem, the soundtrack to a film noir, even an indie band rocking en clavé. In the end, though, they sound like no one in the world but the Claudia Quintet. Each player is a consummate virtuoso with his own star on the jazz sidewalk of fame. And yet the ensemble interplay is wholly original, sometimes uncanny, distinguished by the group’s intense concentration on Hollenbeck’s often-gorgeous eclecticism, which dares to be both experimental and lyrical. “Precisely calibrated but willfully spontaneous chamber-jazz,” quips Nate Chinen in the New York Times.  Come hear that regulated spontaneity for yourself.

"A compelling example of what 21st century jazz can sound like: both maddeningly complex and irresistibly hard-grooving, performed by dexterous improvisers who inject something new into every take."
—"Sound of the City," The Village Voice
the claudia quintet live at newport 2012
buy tickets for the claudia quintet

Fred Hersch
Photo: Steve J. Sherman

Fred Hersch Trio
Monday, November 4, 2013 (8 pm) | Fulkerson Recital Hall, HSU
Fred Hersch, piano; John Hébert, bass; Eric McPherson, drums

Jazz piano doesn’t get any better than Fred Hersch. His 35-year career includes more than 40 albums as a leader or co-leader and annual weeklong residencies at the storied Village Vanguard. The New York Times called him “singular among the trailblazers of their art”; Vanity Fair, “the most arrestingly innovative pianist in jazz over the last decade or so.”  A younger peer, the great pianist Jason Moran, says that “Fred at the piano is like LeBron James on the basketball court. He’s perfection.” All we can add is that Hersch’s music is deeply beautiful and swings like mad, and his current trio is one of the finest working bands in jazz.  This is the gold standard.

"One of the small handful of brilliant musicians of his generation."
—Fred Brouchard, DownBeat
fred hersch trio live at the village vanguard
buy tickets for fred hersch trio

Omer Avital

Omer Avital Quintet
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 (8 pm) | Fulkerson Recital Hall, HSU
Omer Avital, bass; Eli Degibri and Joel Frahm, saxophones; Yonathan Avishai, piano; Daniel Freedman, drums

It’s hard to think of music more joyous than Omer Avital’s. The Israeli bassist came up amidst the vibrant scene at Smalls, the storied Greenwich Village jazz stronghold, in the 1990s.  And even though these days he tours all over the world, in a sense he never left that cellar club: with his bobbing head, his blissed-out grin, and his soulful shouts, he’s still Smalls' most visible genius loci.  NPR, who put last year’s Suite of the East among its top 10 discs of 2012, says Avital’s music is animated by “ecstatic playfulness,” his repertoire a seamless fusion of the “Sephardic with the swinging.”

"Avital is one of the most exciting musicians to come onto the jazz scene in the last 20 years. His live shows are pure joy…This is hard-driving jazz with a new soul for a new era.."
—Frank Alkyer, DownBeat
omer avital on npr/wbgo's the checkout: live from 92y tribeca buy tickets for omer avital

Linda Oh
Photo: Jean-Baptiste Guillemin

Linda Oh Sun Pictures
Friday, March 28, 2014 (8 pm) | Fulkerson Recital Hall, HSU
Linda Oh, bass; Ben Wendel, sax; Matt Stevens, guitar; Justin Brown, drums

The twenty-something Australian, born in Malaysia to Chinese parents, first made a splash in 2009 with a self-released debut album that showcased powerful playing, adventurous writing, and a little-known trumpet prodigy from the Bay Area named Ambrose Akinmusire.  She generated even bigger waves in early 2012 with Initial Here, a monster quartet date on Dave Douglas’s Greenleaf Music label.  (Not by coincidence, she’d also landed high-profile gigs in Soundprints, the supergroup co-led by Douglas and Joe Lovano, and in the new incarnation of Douglas’s own quintet.)  Yeah, we know: another young, talented female bassist has been in the spotlight these past few years.  But Oh’s talents are every bit as great.  We think it’s her turn to shine.

"Casual listeners to jazz who might not tune into big differences between bass players would notice Linda Oh. Her music leans forward at you. She has a percussive touch, graceful and sometimes aggressive...She’s justifying the role of bassist as bandleader." 
—Ben Ratliff, New York Times
linda oh profiled on npr's all things considered

Michael Moore

Michael Moore Quartet
Tuesday, April 15, 2014 (8 pm) | Morris Graves Museum of Art
Michael Moore, clarinets & saxophones; Harmen Fraanje, piano; Clemens van der Feen, bass; Michael Vatcher, drums

Michael Moore is undoubtedly a Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition (as the DownBeat critics poll has put it), but most local music fans need no introduction. Not only is he one of Humboldt County’s favorite sons, but we’ve hosted him twice before, with the ICP Orchestra and with the cooperative trio of Holshouser, Bennink and Moore. This time, he’s coming as a leader, and he’s bringing another HumCo expatriate, the inventive and swinging drummer Michael Vatcher. The group’s other two members, pianist Harmen Fraanje and bassist Clemens van der Feen, are natives of the Netherlands, Moore and Vatcher’s home base for the past 30-plus years. Like Michael, the quartet’s playing is, in the words on one critic, “warm and subtly subversive,” informed by the tradition, but always willing to go wherever the music leads.

“Michael Moore is one of my favorite living clarinetists...[He] has a seamless, liquid tone with no beginning or end, a rich and darkly mysterious substance that invites contemplation and wonder.”
—Clarinetist Ben Goldberg, writing for NPR's A Blog Supreme
the michael moore quartet performs "families be so mean"

Regina Carter

Regina Carter's Southern Comfort
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 (8 pm) | Van Duzer Theatre, HSU
A co-presentation with Center Arts
Regina Carter, violin; Will Holshouser, accordion; Marvin Sewell, guitar; Jesse Murphy, bass; Alvester Garnett, drums

Detroit may be in the news for its troubles right now, but in jazz circles it's known for producing a long line of brilliant musicians like Regina Carter.  Carter’s classical training took her to the youth division of the Detroit Symphony, but by college she was studying with jazz trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, and in the mid-nineties she stepped forward with a series of albums exploring different facets of her musical legacy, from Motor City Moments to Paganini: After A Dream (she played the master’s 1743 Guarnerius) to Reverse Thread, which traced the African roots of Black American music.  With “Southern Comfort,” she invokes the experience of her father and grandfather with the music of Appalachia and the American South.  SFJazz calls Carter’s violin “a passport to unexpected realms, a Rosetta stone that unlocks the door to a myriad of cultures and worlds.”  We’re glad to be partnering with Center Arts on that journey.

“With the passing of Stephane Grappelli, the jazz violin torch has been passed to this remarkable spirit from Detroit.”
—Willard Jenkins, Jazz Times
"regina carter's jazz genealogy" (npr's all things considered)
"regina carter: mining history" (downbeat may 2014)
southern comfort epk (youtube)

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