Jazz Forum Spring 2017

Wednesdays at 1!
1:00 p.m.
GMC 1029
Doug Leibinger, program director

Jazz Forum at SSU is a unique performance/master class designed to expose jazz majors and guests to a wide variety of jazz styles. Guest musicians perform their music with commentary in a relaxed atmosphere. Info: leibinge@sonoma.edu

Admission is free. Limited seating available on a first-come, first serve basis


Wednesday, February 1
Gregory Uhlmann

Gregory Uhlmann is a guitarist, improviser, composer, and songwriter based in Los Angeles. His teaching has included workshops at CalArts, University of Oregon, University of Nevada (Reno), Denison University, and more. He holds a BFA in jazz guitar from the California Institute of the Arts where he also studied composition, West African music, Gamelan, North Indian Classical music, and Brazilian music.


Matt Slocum



Wednesday, February 8
Kahil El'Zabar & Ethnic Heritage Ensemble

Internationally renowned percussionist and composer Kahil El'Zabar is considered one of the most prolific jazz innovators of his generation. Indeed El'Zabar is a true "Renaissance Man," with a musical style and content that flows from ancient Africa to the modern world.

El'Zabar created the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble after he graduated from the school of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians in 1976. He teamed up with tenor saxophonist Edward Wilkerson, Jr. to play music that combined contemporary African American musical styles, like jazz, with more traditional African instrumentation and rhythms. The duo would frequently grow to a trio in these first years, adding musicians like saxophonist Light Henry Huff and Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre. In 1988, they added trombonist and conga player Joseph Bowie, who is the leader of the jazz-funk group Defunkt. In 1997, Wilkerson was replaced by Ernest "Khabeer" Dawkins who is the leader of New Horizons Ensemble.

Ethnic Heritage Ensemble

Corey Wilkes – trumpet
Alex Harding – baritone saxophone
Kahil El’Zabar - percussion

Matt Slocum



Wednesday, February 15
John Stowell

John is a unique jazz guitarist influenced as much by pianists and horn players as he is by guitarists. His original take on harmony, chords and improvisation sets him apart. He has taught internationally for 30 years in every educational setting. His clinics are informal, hands-on and informative. In addition to music theory and guidelines for improvisation, John shares his professional experience with the business of music.



Matt Slocum

Wednesday, February 22
George Young

George Young is one of the most frequently heard musicians of our time. Young plays over ten instruments, including tenor, alto, soprano, and sopranino saxophones, clarinet, alto flute, C-flute, East Indian ethnic flutes and piccolo.

George has played with Eric Clapton, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Pavarotti, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, James Brown, Frank Sinatra, Madonna, Dizziy Gillespie, Sony & Cher, Tony Bennett, and the list goes on – as well as on countless records, TV and radio commercials, movie scores and jazz festivals.


Matt Slocum

Wednesday, March 1
Ben Allison & Think Free

Ben Allison and Think Free will be in residence March 1-3. In addition to Jazz Forum, they will be conducting clinics and open rehearsals, and performing on March 3 at 7:30 PM in Schroeder Hall. Tickets

In a career that spans nearly 30 years, bassist/composer Ben Allison has developed his own instantly identifiable sound, solidifying an international reputation as one of the leading voices of his generation.

Think Free combines Ben's love of rock grooves with the free-wheeling interplay of a trumpet and guitar-based quartet. The group's three albums, Cowboy Justice, Little Things Run the World, and Think Free each topped the jazz radio charts in the US and showcase Ben's creative use of orchestration to create a sound that's cinematic in scope, but with the elements of melody and groove that have become hallmarks of his style.

Think Free

Ben Allison - bass
Kirk Knuffke - cornet
Steve Cardenas - guitar
Allan Mednard - drums

Matt Slocum



Wednesday, March 22
Carlitos Medrano Latin Jazz Quintet

Carlos Medrano, born in Havana, Cuba, began his musical studies by teaching himself to play bongos and congas using traditional Cuban music and Rumba as his guide. Before arriving in the United States in March 2008, he worked with a well-known pianist from Cuba, Alexis Bosch. Since then, he has been working with bands in Sonoma County (Batacha and Carlos Herrera Band) and the Bay Area.

Matt Slocum


Wednesday, April 5
George Marsh in clinic with SSU Post-Modern Jazz Ensemble

George Marsh is a San Francisco based jazz drummer, composer, and educator, currently with the David Grisman Sextet. His recordings include those with John Abercrombie, Terry Riley, David Grisman, Jerry Garcia, Pauline Oliveros, Denny Zeitlin, Maria Muldaur, and many others. George has taught drumming and rhythm theory at the University of California at Santa Cruz and at Sonoma State University since 1982. He maintains a private studio in Santa Rosa, California. He is the author of Inner Drumming, now available here in an expanded version.


Matt Slocum

Wednesday, April 12
USAF Band of the Golden West TC Combo w/SSU Cool Jazz Ensemble

Seven members of The Commanders jazz ensemble will work with the SSU Cool Jazz Ensemble. The Commanders, coming from the US Air Force Band of the Golden West, carries on the big band tradition and also plays traditional jazz, cool, bop, swing, Broadway favorites, and patriotic music.  


Matt Slocum

Wednesday, April 26
SSU Latin Band

SSU's Latin Band, led by Kendrick Freeman, promotes awareness of how other musical languages give perspective to the practice of jazz. This ensemble provides an introduction to various styles, rhythms and concepts found in music from the Caribbean, Brazil and Haiti, delivered with an improviser's sensibility. Jazz program director Doug Leibinger will clinic the Latin Band.



Matt Slocum



Wednesdays remaining
Faculty and Students of the Jazz Program

Jazz Forums continue the remainder of the semester with SSU Jazz faculty coaching student groups.


Matt Slocum



Getting There

GMC 1029 is in Music Education Hall at the Green Music Center, located off Rohnert Park Espressway two miles east of Highway 101. Enter campus from Rohnert Park Expressway, proceed past the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall, turn right into Parking Lot L, park and enter via the double glass doors. 


Parking passes are $5 daily and may be obtained from the parking machines at each parking lot entrance, or from the Information kiosks at campus entrances.
For directions see:

Download Parking Map for more information