Join the conversation:
Post your notes and help foster
great jazz for the future!

News + Notes

Thanks to the generosity of our active members and sponsors, plus the dedicated efforts of the Board, we have been able to extend our outreach to the communities of the Napa Valley by providing college and university educational scholarships for senior high school students. Students are selected for their musical ability and their dedication to continuing their music studies beyond the high school level.  The Napa Valley Jazz Society is in its 3rd year of providing scholarships, and half of all scholarship awards are funded by annual grants from the Napa Valley Performing Arts Foundation.

Over the previous two school years the NVJS is proud to have awarded $21,000 in scholarships to
9 students from Napa Valley high schools.

The NVJS utilizes the high school application process and timelines. Scholarships consist of tuition, fees, and other expenses associated with musical studies at an accredited college, university or music school. Scholarships may be awarded up to $5,000. Students can be either instrumentalists, vocalists or composers. The criteria to be considered is a student’s musical ability, dedication, and career goals. Selection of recipients is based on talent competition judged by both educators and professional musicians. NVJS scholarships are paid over a two-year period.

Currently St. Helena High School, Napa High School and Vintage High School have been selected to participate in the scholarship program. Additional high schools will be considered as funding availability increases.

If any additional information is required please contact
Tom Silva at or 707.738.1229

The Board of the Napa Valley Jazz Society:  Bill Hart, Janice King, Susan Bogar, Tom Silva, and Tim Ryan.

NVJS Sponsor Ted Hall recently posted this wonderful announcement and photo:
“Our son Chris Hall (right front), representing the Timothy W. Hall Foundation and Dr. Bill Manahan (left front),  representing the Napa Valley Jazz Society, made gifts yesterday for the purchase of five Flugelhorns for the Vintage High School Instrumental Music Program.  We are very proud of the efforts of both organizations to help make jazz accessible to the next generation.”

The Mission of the Napa Valley Jazz Society

The mission of the non-profit Napa Valley Jazz Society is to support the art of jazz in all its forms and historic breadth, and to cultivate interest in jazz through music presentations, youth education, scholarship opportunities, and community outreach throughout the Napa Valley and the greater Bay Area region. Thanks to the generosity of our more than 250 members, several prominent sponsors, and the Napa Valley Performing Arts Association we apply a portion of funds annually to scholarship grants to assist local music students who want to continue their music studies beyond the high school level.

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

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 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

Margrit_Mondavi N+N
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.”

Paul + Jeff_1448
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!”

Clairdee Frontal_6890(W)
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 4
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 2-N+N
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.

Benny Goodman copy
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
Standing Ovations.

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 outdoorscolor7
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 Close_9662 web

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)

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:

Theresa Fleischhacker
Alpharetta, Georgia

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!’

Helen Megan
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
Amarillo, Texas

“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!”

Margarethe Laurenzi
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!