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News + Notes
NVJS Board Changes
Two notable individuals have recently been added to the Society’s Board of Directors and their bios appear on the “About Us” page of this site (check them out). They are talented people who are sure to improve our organization!
Tim Ryan is a retired and very famous sports commentator who enjoyed a prolific network television career for more than fifty years. He is a household name, and has been an avid jazz fan his entire life.
Tom Silva is an accomplished horticulturist who manages estate gardens here in Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Tom and his wife have been among our most loyal followers since NVJS was first launched.
Dick Danne, who served on our Board for years and produced many NVJS concerts, has withdrawn to pursue design profession opportunities. He has been touring and lecturing around the country focusing on the recent Reissue of his firm’s 1975 “NASA Graphic Standards” publication which has enjoyed phenomenal Kickstarter and retail success.
Dick continues to maintain the entire NVJS website, creating Artist Features, and updating this News+Notes column.
The Great Karrin Allyson Was Fully Worth The Wait
If it took about three years to land this exceptional artist, everyone was rewarded with one of the
best show in recent memory. Robert Mondavi Winery were the generous hosts again and
Karrin delivered a diverse performance to remember. Subtle or swinging, she wowed the fans!
And the bonus was when guest Kenny Washington joined in the fun. Produced by Bill Hart
The Spectacular Performance Hall In Our Own Backyard
Green Music Center is located at Sonoma State University and features the breathtaking Weill Hall.
One of the nicest looking, and sounding, performance halls in the Bay Area. We recently attended a special concert by Brad Mehldau performing an all-Bach piano program, including Bach compositions and Mehldau originals based on those classics. A singular talent, a superb performance. Dick Danne
In Memorium: Margrit Mondavi – Dedicated Cultural Leader
Excerpted from the New York Times & the Associated Press
“Margrit Biever Mondavi, the widow of the California wine pioneer Robert G. Mondavi and for many decades his company’s cultural affairs director, died at her home here on Friday, September 3rd.
She was 91.
Ms. Mondavi, an accomplished painter, was the Robert Mondavi Winery’s vice president of cultural affairs and, the winery said in a statement, worked to combine wine with fine art, music and food by creating a showplace for painters, sculptors, photographers, jazz and classical musicians, and the great chefs and winemakers of the world.
She founded the winery’s Summer Music Festival in 1969 as a benefit for the local symphony. Performers who have appeared at the festival over the years include Ella Fitzgerald, Harry Belafonte, Tony Bennett and the MJQ. A winter classical music series was begun in 1984 to benefit local music organizations…”
In recent years the Napa Valley Jazz Society has presented concerts twice a year at RMW with Margrit’s full support. The NVJS will be producing a special tribute concert (date to be announced) for this truly
One-Of-A-Kind cultural leader! (photo: Business Wire)
In Memorium: Bobby Hutcherson 1941 – 2016
Excerpted from a statement by S F Jazz 8.16.16
“We are heartbroken to announce the loss of our dear friend, jazz legend Bobby Hutcherson, who passed peacefully on Monday, August 15 at age 75, surrounded by his family and loved ones.
The most accomplished vibraphonist and composer to emerge in the latter half of the 20th Century, Bobby redefined the role of the instrument in modern jazz, bringing new levels of technical mastery and harmonic sophistication that had never been heard before.
Bobby made indelible contributions to over 250 albums during his Blue Note tenure, and led 23 recordings that introduced the world to the standards “Little B’s Poem,” “Bouquet,” “Components,” “Montara,” and others. Since moving to the Bay Area in the late 1960s, he developed fruitful musical partnerships with both saxophonist Harold Land and pianist McCoy Tyner, and released a string of sessions on the Blue Note, Columbia, Landmark, and Kind of Blue labels. In 2010, the National Endowment for the Arts named Bobby an NEA Jazz Master for his lifetime of contributions to the art form – the highest honor the U.S. bestows on jazz musicians.”
The Jeff Denson Quartet impresses fans, both Older and Younger!
With almost all original music by Jeff himself, this was billed as a concert about “Tomorrow” and it certainly lived up to expectations. The band was “top flight” and featured the brilliant bassoonist
Paul Hanson. The Napa High School students who attended, along with their Director Mike Reindeau, provided a breath of fresh air. They stayed to the very end, then rushed up to talk with the musicians.
Producer Dick Danne noted one student reaction: “I’ve never heard anything like it… they are so great!”
For her Encore, Clairdee wows a happy crowd!
Another Sold Out performance for the great Clairdee, backed up by Ken French’s superb trio. It was a joyful show featuring one set of Sammy Cahn originals and another of rich diversity. The capacity audience at Silo’s loved the show, which was produced by Dick Danne: “She just keeps getting better!”
Charles Hamilton rocks the house!
It was a powerful and robust performance delivered by the Hamilton quintet. Featuring one of the best back lines we’ve heard, anchored by the great Leon Joyce, Jr. on drums. Marcus Shelby was strong on bass and Glen Pearson was a revelation on piano. Dann Sinn’s sax provided a good showcase for the highly respected Hamilton on bone! Janice King produced this show along with Susan Bogar
Gail Pettis delivers a warm and engaging performance @ Silo’s
In her first appearance in Napa, Gail found an appreciative audience who responded to her special style and delivery. Clearly enjoying her visit to the Valley, she was thrilled with The Larry Dunlap Trio who provided excellent support. The bonus… Gail got to meet her pen pal Clairdee, who attended the show along with bassist Ruth Davies. This fine show was produced by Dr. Bill Manahan, his first, and we look forward to many more.
Allen Toussaint, versatile New Orleans artist dies
“Allen Toussaint, the versatile producer, songwriter, pianist and singer who was a fixture of New Orleans R&B, died after appearing in concert in Madrid on Monday night. He was 77. In concert, in the studio or around his beloved New Orleans, Mr. Toussaint (pronounced too-SAHNT) was a soft-spoken embodiment of the city’s musical traditions, revered by fellow musicians as one of the master craftsmen of 20th-century American pop.” NY Times
Benny Goodman Small Groups a huge hit at Robert Mondavi Winery
With Magrit Mondavi in the audience along with other Napa Valley notables, this concert delivered
The spirited show was produced by Bill Hart and the band (featuring Noel Jewkes as Benny) was beautifully lead by Larry Vuckovich. Swing! was alive and well, at least for a day. The centerpiece of our October NVJS Jazzmonth, it generated our largest crowd ever and was a joyful hit with the fans!
This… from your U.S. Postal Service
“Jazz, America’s musical gift to the world, developed originally as an innovative combination of European, American, and African influences. It first flowered near the dawn of the 20th century in New Orleans, Louisiana, where Africans from various places mixed with native-born Americans of diverse ancestry as well as Europeans and people from the islands of the Caribbean.
Some of the musical characteristic brought to New Orleans by its African population included rich rhythmic content, an emphasis on spontaneity and improvisation, and the use of musical instruments to imitate the human voice. In the development of jazz, the European tradition of composition was transformed by these traits, while at the same time some of its elements were incorporated. Ragtime and blues were important precursors to the new style of music.
Jazz today is a global phenomenon, welcoming influences from divergent sources. It is performed in small clubs, concert halls, and on festival stages around the world.”
– United States Postal Service
We couldn’t have said it better
Giacomo Gates knocks them out at Silo’s!
What a fun-filled event this turned out to be. Giacomo is a unique combination of
hip singing, warm personality and jazz storytelling. The audience, including numerous
other singers and DJs, loved every minute of this unusual show.
Many thanks to Producer Janice King (and to pal Bonnie for the inspiration).
Charles McPherson delivers!
The alto sax legend performed with his signature sound, and in a personal way
for a show produced by Bruce Hopewell. Charles’ selection of compositions truly
pleased the Sunday crowd at Silo’s.
Warren Wolf “Knocks It Out of the Park!”
No one who attended the Mother’s Day event with Warren will soon forget this outstanding
concert. Playing both vibes and piano, with perhaps the fastest hands in jazz, he dazzled
the crowd along with Jeff Denson and Peppe Merollo. The show was produced by Dick Danne.
NVJS celebrates our Fifth Anniversary of bringing live jazz to Napa Valley!
This commemorative poster features a montage of many artist performances from 2010 – 2015.
Design: Dick Danne (NVJS Board member, former Advisor, and creator of this website)
Marcus Shelby’s big band tribute to “The Duke!” @ RMW
Another sold out show, it was a robust performance with Shelby’s wonderful orchestra (and dialogue).
It featured the engaging vocalist Tiffany Austin and was produced by Bill Hart.
Like all Robert Mondavi Winery concerts, it was made special by the generosity of our host.
Scott Hamilton scores in his February return to Silo’s in Napa.
The solid and steady tenor man didn’t disappoint with his big, swinging sound!
Shown here with Paul Keller on bass, in a show produced by Bill Hart.
“Bruce’s Favorites” performed at the Robert Mondavi Winery
Pictured above are Melissa Morgan, singing and swinging, hand-in-hand with Ed Reed.
Larry Fuller backed up these distinctive vocalists, for a show produced by Bruce Hopewell.
Bill Hart – Jazz Is Very Much Alive!
The November NVJS presentation of the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet was compelling evidence that, contrary to the opinions of skeptics, jazz music is very much alive and well. The talent and passion of these 18-year-olds, and the sizeable pool of top talent from which they are selected, are testimony that this American art form is not in danger of dying for lack of enthusiastic up-and-coming jazz artists. If you think about it, the vibrant jazz programs of our local high schools and of organizations like SFJAZZ, the JazzSchool, Stanford Jazz, and the many summer jazz camps everywhere reinforce the case. So why do so many thoughtful jazz fans lament the impending doom?
What is dying is attendance at live music events, particularly outside of the world of mainstream popular music. I submit this is a result of the many demands on our time, the plethora of choices in our lives, and the availability at our fingertips of music performances on recorded, broadcast and online media. Most jazz fans I know are also fans of one or more of symphony, chamber, opera, or cinema. Of these, the only genre not in malaise is cinema. The number of movies available on demand and the existence of sophisticated home theater systems, rather than detracting from theater attendance, have increased the number of movies produced. Moreover, people continue to find the movie theater experience special enough to warrant going out and paying to see a movie, rather than waiting for its release to cable TV or internet services. So why isn’t this true for jazz, symphony, chamber or opera?
I don’t know the answer, but I do know this. As in cinema, when people attend concert performances, they are much more able to focus on the nuances of the music, the artists, the performance, and the audience reaction. This deeper experience leads to learning and to cultivation of taste. I believe you are far more likely to become a jazz fan by attending jazz performances than by casually listening to recorded or even streaming live music.
If you subscribe to this view, our challenge is to turn out audiences for live performances. The Jazz Society has endeavored to do this by delivering consistent quality and value in a “user friendly” way, and by encouraging our Members and friends to get the word out and to bring their friends to our shows.
Let’s all pitch in and build the audiences that will enable these up-and-coming jazz artists to continue to pursue their musical talents and passions
Digging Our Sponsors
Miner Family Winery
Dave Miner is an ardent fan and supporter of music in the Napa Valley, particularly jazz. Dave, his lovely and talented wife Emily whom we all miss deeply and their colleagues have built one of the most widely respected premium wine brands in the industry.
Farmstead @ LMR
Farmstead Restaurant make some lovely wines of their own and offer an excellent selection from other producers, but here’s an incentive to BYO. Corkage charges are $5 per bottle brought for consumption at your table. All corkage collected will be donated to NVJS so tell them we sent you.
To these Napa Valley Jazz Society sponsors, a very big NVJS Thank You!
Bill Hart – Imitation Vs. Innovation
Many of us relate to the jazz giants of the 40s-60s, the heydays of modern jazz. We need only hear a phrase or two, and we know we’re listening to Peterson or Evans or Garner, Webster or Prez or Getz, Miles or Chet or Satchmo. So it isn’t surprising that “tributes” to the greats sell a lot of tickets. But when you get down to it, no two jazz musicians sound quite alike. When Larry Vuckovich or Noel Jewkes or Erik Jekabson plays a tribute, he doesn’t really expect us to think we’re listening to Vince Guaraldi or Lester Young or Chet Baker. Instead, these artists are trying to capture the style, the phrasing, the essence of the jazz greats who inspired them. The players presented by NVJS are superb artists in their own right. These “tributes” are acknowledgments of greatness and represent new ways for them to express their own unique artistry. If every saxman sounded like Lester Young, it would stop being jazz.
News+Notes contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Lavay Smith/Duke Ellington – “We had a fantastic time!! Thanks.”
Charles E. Newman
Napa – Member
“Nice website and great work bringing the best of jazz to Napa Valley. Thanks!”
Bill & Yvonne Manahan
Napa – Member
” Napa Valley Jazz Society & Silo’s… what a combination for two lifetime jazz fans. Living at the Riverfront in Napa… a few steps to outstanding jazz performances is a real treat. Thanks so much to NVJS… ”
Kristin Korb & Morten
“Congrats on the new website! It looks beautiful and it is really easy to navigate. I’m very impressed. I wish I were closer to come hear all that great music. All the best from Denmark!’
Napa – Member
That’s the fun of it, when you discover someone who resonates with you and they make it all the way. This is what the Napa Valley Jazz Society is doing and we applaud you all…”
Ann and Dr Jim Hefner
“I was inoculated with West Coast Jazz in 1953 through my good friend and jazz mentor Richard Danne. So after hearing of the Chet Baker Tribute, nothing would do but to fly out to Napa for the show. We will return!”
Board Member and parent @ Jazz House Kids
“What a fantastic organization!! Nice to see kindred spirits succeed in keeping this great music alive and well!”
Jazzfans, please give us your feedback, and thanks!