The board of directors of the Healdsburg Jazz Festival have decided not to hold the festival as scheduled this summer due to the Covid-19 outbreak, though they are looking for ways to keep jazz alive in the North Bay in 2020.
Those ideas are currently taking shape in a series of “Staying Connected” online events, starting with April’s jazz-history class on the legacy of Duke Ellington. This month, the lessons continue with a free history class and listening party celebrating Jazz & Samba music on Sunday, May 24, at 5pm via Zoom.
The class will specifically explore the beginnings of Bossa Nova in Brazil and chart its growth within the world’s jazz-music scene through a curated playlist of music and insight from several expert guests.
Dr Sherry Keith, an associate history professor at San Francisco State University, leads the online gathering. Dr Keith lived and taught in Brazil for many years, and she also teaches classes on social sciences, women’s history in Latin America and more.
Professional percussionist and educator Ami Molinelli accompanies Dr Keith in leading the class. Molinelli specializes in Brazilian and Latin percussion and co-leads the Brazilian and Jazz ensemble Grupo Falso Baiano.
Joining Dr Keith and Molinelli in discussion will be special guest artists Jovino Santos Neto and Claudia Villela. Santos is a Latin Grammy-nominated pianist and composer, and Villela is a five-octave Brazilian Jazz vocalist.
All together, the artists and experts will follow how Brazilian Jazz made its way to the West Coast Jazz scene in the late 1950s and early 1960s and the playlist will highlight artists like Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn.
The Jazz & Samba class on May 24 is free and open to all ages, though registration is required to receive the Zoom Invite.
In addition to this ongoing jazz history series, Healdsburg Jazz Festival is staying connected to the community during the stay-at-home orders with several other online offerings.
For students–and their parents–grades K-5, Healdsburg Jazz created the Virtual Jazz Village Campus on its website. The virtual campus contains classes from musicians and educators like Molinelli, who offers a digital lesson for kids grade 2-5 on how to use cups around the house as instruments, with techniques and tips on keeping rhythm, using drumsticks and more.
Other virtual classes include a history of call-and-response music by multi-faceted musician Brian Dyer; a bilingual class on son jarocho–a music genre from Veracruz, Mexico–with award-winning artist and educator Maria De La Rosa; and more.
For jazz fans, the festival’s website also boasts a series of videos featuring musicians performing their favorite tunes, such as Sonoma County native and tenor sax master Rob Sudduth playing Thelonius Monk’s “Ask Me Now” and New York City-based jazz pianist and Healdsburg Jazz Festival friend George Cables performing several songs from his living room.
The Healdsburg Jazz Festival “Staying Connected” campaign also offers audio playlists, and forums for fans and musicians alike to keep the discussion going. Click here to get connected now.