Jazz Forum 2015-16

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, September 2
Paul Hanson, bassoon & saxophone

From his roots as an award-winning classical bassoonist and jazz saxophonist- Paul Hanson has sought to expand the lexicon of the bassoon while creating a unique musical voice. As a jazz/fusion bassoonist: Paul has recorded and/or performed with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Wayne Shorter, Peter Erskine, Otmaro Ruiz, with 6-string bassist in the group OoN, Billy Childs, Harmonica virtuoso Gregorie Maret, Billy Higgins, David Binney, Ray Charles, Charlie Hunter, Patrice Rushen, Alex Acuna, Dennis Chambers, Abraham Laboriel, Medeski Martin & Wood, Bob Weirʼs RATDOG, T. Lavitz from Dixie Dregs, Jeff Coffin, Jeff Sipe, Jonas Hellborg, Afro/Cuban pianist Omar Sosa, Bob Moses, Kai Eckhardt, Peter Apfelbaum and the Hieroglyphics Ensemble, The Paul Dresher Ensemble, DAVKA, St. Joseph Ballet Company, The Klezmorim, as jazz soloist with the Oakland Eastbay Symphony Orchestra, as classical soloist with the Napa Symphony Orchestra (non-improvising) and many more.

The Sep. 2 Jazz Forum takes place in Schroeder Hall.

Wednesday, September 16
Ornette Coleman Ensemble with Darren Johnston, clinician

SSU’s Ornette Coleman Ensemble, led by Kasey Knudsen, plays at today’s Jazz Forum and receives a clinic from Darren Johnston. Since settling in San Francisco in 1997, Canada-born trumpeter/composer/songwriter Darren Johnston has collaborated and recorded with an extremely diverse cross-section of artists.  His interests rotate around composing instrumental music, writing songs, and performing all styles of jazz, experimental and purely improvised music, as well as traditional music of the Balkans, Greece, Macedonia, Turkey, and the Arab world.  These interests have coalesced into his primary ensemble of late, Darren Johnston’s Broken Shadows.  He has performed and/or recorded with luminaries such as Hamid Drake, Fred Frith, ROVA Sax Quartet, Myra Melford, Ben Goldberg, Matt Wilson, Mark Dresser, Marshall Allen, Marcus Shelby, and others.

Wednesday, September 23
Faculty Jazz Ensemble

SSU's jazz studio faculty demonstrate their collective belief in developing the skills to understand each other's voice as players in a group context. That can take several shapes: Exercises that inform jazz improvisation, free improvisation, original ideas. Get inspired by the Faculty Jazz Ensemble: Doug Leibinger (trombone) and George Marsh (drums), co-directors; Kasey Knudsen (saxophone), Dave Lee Scott (trumpet), Randy Vincent (guitar), Ken Cook (piano), Cliff Hugo (bass), Will Johnson (prepared piano).

Wednesday, September 30
Dan Wilensky, reeds & keys

Composer, author and educator Dan Wilensky plays soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and C-melody saxophones, flute, alto flute, piano, and keyboards. Appearing on more than 250 recordings, he has toured and recorded with hundreds of artists, including Ray Charles, Joan Baez, Santana, Steve Winwood, Jack McDuff, R. Kelly and Madonna. At 17 he studied for a year with jazz legend Joe Henderson, and received a scholarship to the Eastman School of Music. Currently living in Portland, OR, Wilensky has mentored hundreds of private saxophone, flute, piano, composition, and music therapy students.

Matt Slocum

Wednesday, October 7
Dmitri Matheny, flugelhorn

Celebrated for his warm tone, soaring lyricism and masterful technique, American musician and flugelhorn player Dmitri Matheny has been lauded as “one of the most emotionally expressive improvisers of his generation” (International Review of Music). First introduced to jazz audiences in the 1990s as the protégé of Art Farmer, the San Francisco Chronicle hailed Matheny as one of the jazz world's most talented horn players. A prolific composer and lyricist whose published compositions span several musical genres, Matheney’s most ambitious creation to date is Spiritu Sancto, a monumental sacred work scored for chorus, organ, percussion, brass quintet, jazz ensemble and gospel soloist.

Wednesday, October 14
Noel Jewkes Quartet

Noel Jewkes is one of the premier saxophone players in Northern California. He has worked in the San Francisco Bay Area for over 35 years, and has earned a distinguished reputation with lovers of Jazz music. Listening to the majestic phrasing and harmonic adventurousness of Noel Jewkes is almost like hearing the entire history of modern jazz in a single evening. No wonder he is revered by musicians, critics, and music lovers alike as the premiere Saxist-by-the-Bay. Noel has recorded with John Hendricks, Wesla Whitfield, Mary Stallings, Paula West, Mike Greensill, Lavay Smith, Bill Bell, Mimi Fox, Graham Bruce, Bobbe Norris, Larry Dunlap, Larry Vuckovich, Pat Yankee and Jerry Hahn, as well as his own ensembles.

For this Jazz Week 2015 forum he is joined by three incredible Bay Area musicians: Keith Saunders, piano; Adam Gay, bass; & David Rokeach, drums.

Noel Jewkes performs as soloist Wednesday evening with the SSU Jazz Orchestra.

Matt Slocum

Wednesday, October 28
Blue Note Ensemble with Rob Roth, clinician

SSU’s Blue Note Ensemble, led by Kendrick Freeman, plays at today’s Jazz Forum and receives a clinic from Rob Roth. Stay tuned for details.


Matt Slocum

Wednesday, November 4
ECM Ensemble with Anton Schwartz, clinician

SSU’s ECM Ensemble, led by Dave Len Scott, plays at today’s Jazz Forum and receives a clinic from Anton Schwartz. From Louis Armstrong to John Coltrane, jazz’s greatest improvisers created music that carries an emotional wallop. It’s a lesson that tenor saxophonist Anton Schwartz learned well. His latest album, Flash Mob, surged to the sixth spot on jazz radio charts and earned a coveted four-star review in Down Beat magazine, reinforcing his reputation as a passionate but poised improviser and smart purveyor of well-wrought melodies. As a teen, Schwartz studied with reed masters Warne Marsh and Eddie Daniels. He went on to pursue other passions, earning a B.A. in Mathematics and Philosophy at Harvard University and conducting doctoral research in Artificial Intelligence at Stanford as a National Science Foundation fellow. But in 1995 he returned to music, plunging headlong into the Bay Area jazz scene. Since then, Schwartz has released five acclaimed CDs and performed at jazz’s most prestigious clubs.

Matt Slocum




Wednesday, February 17
Ryan Keberle & Catharsis

Leading his pianoless quartet Catharsis or arranging for the little big band setting of his Double Quartet, Ryan Keberle draws upon lessons learned playing alongside masters of a multitude of forms, from jazz legends to indie rock ground-breakers, R&B superstars to classical virtuosos. That includes playing with jazz greats including Maria Schneider and Wynton Marsalis; hip-hop and R&B superstars like Beyonce, Justin Timberlake, and Alicia Keys; Latin jazz leaders like Pedro Giraudo and Ivan Lins; indie rock ground-breakers such as Sufjan Stevens; or playing in the house band at Saturday Night Live, on the soundtrack of a Woody Allen film, or in the pit for a Tony-winning Broadway musical.

Matt Slocum

Wednesday, March 2
Alberto Faya Quintet

Cuban singer Alberto Faya is one of the founders of the nueva trova movement—youthful protest music from the 1970s associated with Cuba’s socialist revolution. Faya will talk about the culture and history of Cuban music and demonstrate with the members of his quintet. Faya’s three-day residency with his ensemble culminates in a performance Friday at 7:30 pm in Schroeder Hall.
Alberto Faya, voice and leader
Maria Cordova, piano
David Faya, bass
Reinier Mendoza, percussion
Miguel de Armas, piano

Matt Slocum

Wednesday, March 9
Michael Blake Quartet 

Saxophonist and composer Michael Blake makes music that bristles with originality and vision. His live performances are consistently exciting and unbridled; his recordings harness that energy into fully realized albums that res­onate with personality. As a composer, Blake’s creative output is constantly in flux, shifting in approach and empathetic for each new program he designs. In 2013 Michael received Chamber Music America's New Jazz Works Grant for which he wrote the music for his latest Sunnyside CD Tiddy Boom. This hard–swinging homage to tenor titans Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young, Peter Margasak wrote in the Chicago Reader, “is not only one of the year’s best jazz albums, but it’s another gem in a career filled with them.”
Michael Blake, tenor & soprano saxophones
Frank Kimbrough, piano
Ben Allison, bass
Rudy Royston, drums

The Michael Blake Quartet performs Wednesday evening with the SSU Jazz Orchestra.

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.

The Spring schedule will be updated as artists are added.


Matt Slocum

Getting There

GMC 1029 is in Music Education Hall adjacent to the Green Music Center. Enter campus from Rohnert Park Expressway, proceed past the Joan and Sanford I. Weill Hall, turn right into Parking Lot L, and go up the stairs to the double glass doors. 


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

Download Parking Map for more information