For the past two years, I have made my way out to Sonoma County’s Healdsburg for their annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival. Although I can never stay for the full two weeks, I do usually get a good long-weekend’s worth of jazz in.
This year I was lucky enough to see stellar acts such the 89-year-old (who acted far younger!) Randy Weston and his African Rhythms. They put on an energetic and fun show that made the whole audience move. I also got to see the amazing violinist and harpist, Carlos Reyes. He was the best part of an evening with John Handy (who put most people to sleep) when he pulled out the Paraguayan harp — he played flawlessly and beautifully.
Finally, I was lucky enough to see a woman who’s music has always been special to me, Marlena Shaw. She has such an interesting voice with fantastic music to go along side it. She opened with her song “Mercy Me” which she preformed very well. I was hoping for her to perform her famed “California Soul”, but that was a no go. She still entertained the whole audience with her joking and energetic personality.
After a long weekend of jazz, my parents, sister and I joined a few of the organizers of the festival, including Jessica Felix, as well as Randy Weston, Marlena Shaw and James Moody for dinner at the restaurant Ravenous. It was a great way to end a great weekend, as well as a special treat to be in the company of such great, influential musicians.