Jazz Forum Spring 2016

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 3
Passing Dreams Trio featuring Randy Vincent, guitar; Vishal Nagar, tabla; & Frank Tusa, bass

A unique blending of jazz improvisations, Indian colors of exotic rhythms, and melodies influenced by ancient traditions.

Frank Tusa, bassist, composer and educator has had a wide variety of recording and performing experiences with such diverse artists as Art Blakey, Buddy Montgomery, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Pepper Adams, Shelly Manne, Bobby Hutcherson, Johnny Griffin, Herb Ellis, Art Farmer, Randy Brecker, Freddie Hubbard, John Abercrombie, George Cables and many other great jazz artists. Tusa’s early recordings are with jazz legends Paul Bley, Don Cherry and Dave Liebman. Frank was one of the original members of Dave Liebman’s critically acclaimed group “Lookout Farm.”


Randy Vincent began his career in Florida and moved to the San Francisco Area in 1980. Since then, he has divided his time between performing and teaching. Among the many musicians with whom he has performed and recorded are: Joe Henderson, Dizzy Gillespie, Bobby Hutcherson, Mel Martin, Benny Barth, Mel Graves, Bennett Friedman, Larry Baskett, Peter Welker, Chris Amberger, George Marsh, Smith Dobson, Bill Watrous, George Cables, Tony Dumas, Akira Tana, Billy Childs, Bob Sheppard, Steve Smith, Harold Jones, Bob Badgley, Ernie Watts, Warren Gale, Herb Pomeroy, the Bay Area Jazz Composers’ Orchestra, the New Oakland Jazz Orchestra, Dave Eshelman Jazz Garden Big Band and The Turtle Island String Quartet.


Vishal Nagar — Soulful musicality along with graceful virtuosity makes Vishal Nagar truly one of the most gifted Tabla musicians of his generation. Rhythmic creativity and a strong emotional connection with his music contribute to Vishal’s admiration as a as a performer amongst dancers, vocalists and instrumentalists alike. Also a dynamic soloist, he has been one of one of the youngest Indian musicians to perform at the WOMAD music festival, World Rhythm Festival, and Bumbershoot to mention a few. Son of the renowned Kathak danseuse and vocalist Urmila Nagar, Vishal has been trained under his mother, Latif Khan and Shamim Ahmed Khan. A vibrant performer, Vishal is also a highly sought after and dedicated educator based out of New Delhi and San Francisco, CA, who continues to perform and teach in India, the US and abroad while serving as an ambassador of Tabla.

Matt Slocum

Matt Slocum

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, February 24
SSU Contemporary Jazz Ensemble directed by Kasey Knudsen; guest clinician John Stowell



Matt Slocum

Wednesday, March 2
Alberto Faya Quintet


Alberto Faya and his ensemble will perform on Friday's concert only.


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

Wednesday, March 23
Schimscheimer Family Trio

The Schimscheimer Family Trio, featuring SSU saxophone instructor Kasey Knudsen, keyboardist Michael Coleman, and drummer Jon Arkin, composes and improvises collectively. The music falls somewhere between chamber jazz and 20th century classical music and owes as much to Jimmy Giuffre and Paul Bley as it does to Milton Babbitt and Conlon Nancarrow. Make sure you catch this cutting-edge Bay Area group in a rare Sonoma County appearance supporting their new CD, Broken Home.

Matt Slocum

Wednesday, March 30
SSU Hot Club Ensemble directed by Dave Len Scott; guest clinician TBA


Matt Slocum

Wednesday, April 6
Jazz Studies Majors: Junior Recitals



Matt Slocum

Wednesday, April 20
Billy Hart

William “Billy” Hart (born November 29, 1940 in Washington, D.C.) is a jazz drummer and educator who has performed with some of the most important jazz musicians in history.

Early on Hart performed in Washington, D.C. with soul artists such as Otis Redding and Sam and Dave, and then later with Buck Hill and Shirley Horn, and was a sideman with the Montgomery Brothers (1961), Jimmy Smith (1964–1966), and Wes Montgomery (1966–1968). Following Montgomery’s death in 1968, Hart moved to New York, where he recorded with McCoy Tyner, Wayne Shorter, and Joe Zawinul, and played with Eddie Harris, Pharoah Sanders, and Marian McPartland.

Hart was a member of Herbie Hancock’s sextet (1969–1973), and played with McCoy Tyner (1973–1974), Stan Getz (1974–1977), and Quest (1980s), in addition to extensive freelance playing (including recording with Miles Davis on 1972’s On the Corner).

At age 74, Billy Hart works steadily and teaches widely. Since the early 1990s Hart spends considerable time at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and is adjunct faculty at the New England Conservatory of Music and Western Michigan University. He also conducts private lessons through The New School and New York University. Hart often contributes to the Stokes Forest Music Camp and the Dworp Summer Jazz Clinic in Belgium.

He leads the Billy Hart Quartet with Mark Turner, Ethan Iverson, and Ben Street, which has released two albums on ECM Records.



Matt Slocum

Wednesday, April 27
SSU Latin Band directed by Kendrick Freeman; guest clinician TBA



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 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