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Kuumbwa Jazz Center

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320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
831-427-2227 www.kuumbwajazz.org

“We’re so happy to be here. Kuumbwa is one of the mainstays… one of the greater reservoirs of creativity.”
– Christian Scott, trumpeter Ninety Miles, 8/22/11

Kuumbwa Jazz has grown from its small beginnings to one of the most highly respected jazz-presenting institutions in the country, attracting artists of national and international renown. We present over 120 concerts per year at our intimate 200-seat venue, plus concerts at the Rio Theatre and Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium.

Since 1975, our nonprofit arts organization has presented the full spectrum of jazz, preserving the history and legacy of this unique art form. Our jazz education programs include: Summer Jazz Camp for grades 8–12, Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band, Master Class Series, Artist-in-Residence Program and Artist in the Schools Program. Since 1983, our education programs have reached thousands of residents of all ages in Santa Cruz County.

March 2019

Roberta Gambarini

March 25 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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Born and raised in Turin, Italy, to music loving parents, Roberta Gambarini grew up constantly listening to her father’s record collection. Her first vocal inspiration was Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, but she soon discovered Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Carmen McRae, as well as gospel and blues artists such as Mahalia Jackson and Bessie Smith. At age 12 she began studying clarinet, but realizing the versatility and talents of her clear alto, she moved to voice, singing and performing…

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Davina & the Vagabonds

March 27 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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Having garnered the reputation as one of the busiest and best bands in Minnesota’s Twin Cities region, Davina & the Vagabonds have also found a stronghold of fans in the Monterey Bay, as it’s difficult to resist bandleader Davina Sower’s vocals, piano playing and stage presence. With a blues-stomp sound punctuated by horn arrangements and infectious backbeats, the group has been touring steadily across the US, Canada and Europe. The Minneapolis Star Tribune was prompted to write of the band: “Two things…

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Master Class: Thomas Lang – Applied Drum Technique

March 31 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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In this master class, acclaimed drummer Thomas Lang will cover applied technique, hand and foot rudimental exercises, and applied independence in contemporary music. It will also include segments on how practice and think outside of the box. Attendees will have to participate in a Q&A with Lang, who will perform several songs as well. FREE Co-sponsored by Testroff Construction, Meinl Cymbals, DW Drums, Remo, Vic Firth, Santa Cruz Drum Club, Zack Olsen’s Drum Studio, Ken Dalluge  

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April 2019

Danilo Brito

April 1 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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Succinctly described by Mandolin Magazine as being a “…supremely gifted…” musician, Danilo Brito is a virtuoso of the mandolin and has played a key role in bringing traditional Brazilian choro music to a wider audience. Choro, a buoyant form of song with an improvisational nature similar to jazz and blues has a rich history and Brito has simultaneously mastered the genre’s hallmarks while infusing it with new energy and styles. Having won prestigious awards in Brazil, Brito has also collaborated with American mandolin mavericks Mike Marshall and…

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Brad Mehldau Trio

April 3 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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Pianist Brad Mehldau’s musical personality forms a dichotomy. He is first and foremost an improviser, and greatly cherishes the surprise and wonder that can occur from a spontaneous musical idea that is expressed directly, in real time. But he also has a deep fascination for the formal architecture of music, and it informs everything he plays. In his most inspired playing, the actual structure of his musical thought serves as an expressive device. As he plays, he listens to how…

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Mighty Mike Schermer Band

April 4 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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When Willie Dixon, Bonnie Raitt and Elvin Bishop all sing your praises as a blues guitarist, you know you’re on to something. A longtime fixture on the Bay Area blues scene, Mighty Mike Schermer has since expanded the reach of his fretboard and amps to stages across the globe and extensive work with modern-day blues legend Marcia Ball. Deemed a “funky and authentic” player by Raitt, Schermer’s life course was set after a 1984 Albert Collins concert, and he’s been devoted to…

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Sullivan Fortner Trio

April 8 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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Lauded as one of the top jazz pianists of his generation, Sullivan Fortner is recognized for his virtuosic technique and captivating performances. The winner of three prestigious awards – a Leonore Annenberg Arts Fellowship, the 2015 Cole Porter Fellowship from the American Pianists Association, and the 2016 Lincoln Center Award for Emerging Artists – Sullivan’s music embodies the essence of the blues and jazz as he connects music of all eras and genres through his improvisation. As a leader, The…

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Lee Ritenour with Dave Grusin – 7:00 PM

April 11 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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Guitar ace Lee Ritenour began working with renowned artists while still in his teens. Nicknamed “Captain Fingers” for his virtuosic guitar skills, Ritenour rode the electric jazz/fusion wave of the late ’70s into national prominence. A founding member of Fourplay—the longtime L.A. super-group with Harvey Mason, Nathan East and Bob James—Ritenour’s smooth, melodic style has inspired an entire generation of guitarists. Pianist Dave Grusin is one of the most prolific producer/arrangers of the last five decades. Grusin’s GRP label has recorded the crème de…

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Lee Ritenour with Dave Grusin – 9:00 PM

April 11 @ 9:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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Guitar ace Lee Ritenour began working with renowned artists while still in his teens. Nicknamed “Captain Fingers” for his virtuosic guitar skills, Ritenour rode the electric jazz/fusion wave of the late ’70s into national prominence. A founding member of Fourplay—the longtime L.A. super-group with Harvey Mason, Nathan East and Bob James—Ritenour’s smooth, melodic style has inspired an entire generation of guitarists. Pianist Dave Grusin is one of the most prolific producer/arrangers of the last five decades. Grusin’s GRP label has recorded the crème de…

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Kurt Rosenwinkel Standards Trio with Dario Deidda & Mark Whitfield, Jr.

April 15 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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Kurt Rosenwinkel is an American jazz guitarist and keyboardist who came to prominence in the 1990s. Since then he’s collaborated with dynamic peers such as Brad Mehldau, Brian Blade, Mark Turner, Joshua Redman, Chris Potter; and esteemed jazz elders like Joe Henderson, Paul Motian and Gary Burton. Rosenwinkel’s indelible mark in music is the consummation of being steeped in the rich and deep traditions of jazz, artfully expressed with his Standards Trio group. $31.50/Advance $36.75/Door | All Ages (5% City…

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Gerald Clayton Trio

April 19 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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Gerald Clayton searches for honest expression in every note he plays. With harmonic curiosity and critical awareness, he develops musical narratives that unfold as a result of both deliberate searching and chance uncovering. The four-time Grammy-nominated pianist/composer formally began his musical journey at the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, where he received the 2002 Presidential Scholar of the Arts Award. Clayton went on to win second place in the 2006 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Piano…

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Daryl Stuermer Duo

April 25 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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Celebrating over thirty years of musical accomplishments, virtuoso lead guitarist Daryl Stuermer of the super-group Genesis and Phil Collins has been touring the world to sold-out crowds since 1978. Discovered while playing with his Milwaukee band, Sweetbottom, Stuermer made a fan out of Frank Zappa’s then-keyboardist George Duke, who set up an audition for the guitarist to try out for jazz violinist Jean-Luc Ponty. Stuermer then burst onto the international music scene, joining Ponty on a European tour and on…

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Claudia Villela: The Music of Jobim

April 29 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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For Claudia Villela, music is a journey into spontaneity and inspiration, as her past recording projects with Toots Thielemanns and Michael Brecker can attest. Raised in Rio de Janeiro, Villela absorbed the folkloric tradition of Brazil, as well as the influences of classical composers and American jazz. Her vocal improvisations and compositions encompass the full range of emotive sound, sometimes dramatic, sometimes humorous, but always fascinating. Her band on this concert dates features Gary Meek on saxophone, Carlos Oliveira on guitar,…

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May 2019

Brubeck Brothers Quartet Celebrates 60 Years of Dave Brubeck’s Time Out

May 2 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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2020 marks the centennial year of jazz giant Dave Brubeck. To celebrate his life and legacy, his sons Chris and Dan Brubeck – who performed and recorded with their father since the 1970s – curate a multimedia show with their own Brubeck Brothers Quartet. Through stories told by his sons, video interviews with Dave Brubeck and musicians he influenced, and music performed by the Quartet, the show invites audiences to travel along the timeline of Brubeck’s extraordinary life and Celebrates…

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Michael O’Neill Quintet with Tony Lindsay

May 6 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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Saxophonist Michael O’Neill, a San Diego native, began studying music at an early age. One of his first influences was his neighbor, the great jazz and studio drummer, saxophonist, and clarinetist, John Guerin who helped Michael with his first band in Junior High School. O’Neill now leads several jazz groups in the Bay Area and has performed with several of the region’s leading big bands, including a two-year stint with the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra. Joining O’Neill and renowned Bay Area vocalist…

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CANCELLED – DKV Trio: Hamid Drake, Kent Kessler & Ken Vandermark

May 9 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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CANCELLED – refunds will be issued at point-of-purchase The DKV Trio is one of the most exciting ensembles working in contemporary improvised music. Featuring Hamid Drake on drums, Kent Kessler on bass, and Ken Vandermark on saxophone, the band has been active since the mid 1990s and has released numerous acclaimed recordings. Vandermark is a wide-ranging artist with a MacArthur Fellowship to his name, who has been earning critical praise since his arrival on the Chicago scene in the 1990s.…

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Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Band – 7:00 PM

May 13 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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Known as one of the finest pianists of the past 60 years, Eddie Palmieri is a bandleader, arranger and composer of salsa and Latin jazz. His playing skillfully fuses the rhythm of his Puerto Rican heritage with the complexity of his jazz influences: Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner as well as his older brother, Charlie Palmieri. Palmieri’s professional career as a pianist took off with various bands in the early 1950s including Eddie Forrester, Johnny Segui’s, and the popular Tito…

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Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Band – 9:00 PM

May 13 @ 9:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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Known as one of the finest pianists of the past 60 years, Eddie Palmieri is a bandleader, arranger and composer of salsa and Latin jazz. His playing skillfully fuses the rhythm of his Puerto Rican heritage with the complexity of his jazz influences: Thelonious Monk, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner as well as his older brother, Charlie Palmieri. Palmieri’s professional career as a pianist took off with various bands in the early 1950s including Eddie Forrester, Johnny Segui’s, and the popular Tito…

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Flor de Toloache

May 15 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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Latin Grammy-winning, all-female mariachi ensemble Flor de Toloache continues to win the hearts of both progressive and traditional mariachi music fans through their distinct artistic vision and sophisticated, enlightened approach to traditional mariachi instruments. The quartet’s diverse cultural and musical backgrounds has led to the forging of new musical paths. The group is led by co-band directors Mireya I. Ramos on violin and Shae Fiol on vihuela. Together, they have graced international stages from Chenai, India to Paris, France. $26.25/Advance…

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Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band

May 16 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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The Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band represents the top tier high school student musicians from Santa Cruz and neighboring counties. Hand-picked by their band directors, these talented young ambassadors of jazz pass a rigorous audition to earn their position in the Honor Band. During weekly rehearsals at Kuumbwa, they study advanced jazz theory, arranging, improvisation, and learn valuable life skills in teamwork and critical thinking. Under the direction of David McGillicuddy, the band gains vital performing experience at special events and festivals throughout the school…

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Champian Fulton: Tribute to Dinah Washington

May 17 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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Champian Fulton has become a world-class jazz pianist and vocalist with international acclaim. As a band-leader she has nine recordings to her credit. Fulton’s 2016 album, After Dark, features the music of Dinah Washington, which she revisits on this concert date. Recognized as a “Rising Star” by DownBeat Magazine’s Critics Poll, she also received the “Female Jazz Vocalist Of the Year” award at the 2017 Hot House Jazz Magazine Fan’s Decision Award. Her “galvanizing presence” (The New Yorker) and musical presentation have made her, as The New York…

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Anat Cohen Tentet – Musical Director: Oded Lev-Ari – 7:00 PM

May 20 @ 7:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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With the Anat Cohen Tentet, woodwind virtuoso Anat Cohen brings audiences an evocative and exciting experience centered around the clarinet. Both on stage and on Cohen’s latest release, Happy Song, the Tentet weaves a tapestry of sounds, freeing Cohen to explore the full range of the clarinet’s dynamics and demonstrate its vastly expressive character. As JazzTimes says, “With the clarinet she becomes a singer, a dancer, a poet, a mad scientist, laughing – musically – with the sheer delight of reaching that new place, that…

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Anat Cohen Tentet – Musical Director: Oded Lev-Ari – 9:00 PM

May 20 @ 9:00 pm
Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060 United States
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With the Anat Cohen Tentet, woodwind virtuoso Anat Cohen brings audiences an evocative and exciting experience centered around the clarinet. Both on stage and on Cohen’s latest release, Happy Song, the Tentet weaves a tapestry of sounds, freeing Cohen to explore the full range of the clarinet’s dynamics and demonstrate its vastly expressive character. As JazzTimes says, “With the clarinet she becomes a singer, a dancer, a poet, a mad scientist, laughing – musically – with the sheer delight of reaching that new place, that…

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