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Kuumbwa Jazz Center

320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, CA



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Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore

Acoustic, Americana/Roots, Blues, Folk, Live Music in Bar/Club, Country

The pair of roots music legends have been friends for 30 years, but only in 2017 did the Grammy winner Alvin and Grammy nominee Gilmore hit the highway together to swap songs, tell stories, and share their life experiences in an intimate acoustic environment. Though Texas-born Gilmore was twice named Country Artist of the Year by Rolling Stone, and California native Alvin first came to fame in the hard-rocking rhythm and blues band The Blasters, they discovered that their musical roots in old blues and folk music are exactly the same. Audiences will original compositions from the two as well as songs from a wide spectrum of songwriters and styles - everything from old jug band numbers to Merle Haggard and Sam Cooke, to the Young Bloods.


• Sun 2/18/18 at - 7:30 PM

Julian Lage Trio


Guitarist Julian Lage has performed on the Grammys, played along with Carlos Santana, Toots Thielemans and Herbie Hancock, and has been the subject of a Academy Award-nominated documentary, "Jules at Eight" from 1996.


• Mon 2/19/18 at - 7:00 PM



Knower is a five-piece band from L.A. led by the drummer and producer Louis Cole and vocalist Genevieve Artadi. The group crosses dub-step grooves, jazz harmonies and funky vocals into an imaginative off-world experience.


• Thu 2/22/18 at - 7:00 PM

Slaid Cleaves


The Texas singer-songwriter, who was born in Maine, has a compelling raspy tenor that suits his folk-pop-country tunes. Cleaves the songwriter is a man of his generation (He's in his early 50s.) and of the times, with an ear for the lyrical possibilities of plain-spoken English as well as the memorable phrase. Both qualities can be heard on his 2000 album, "Broke Down." He released another in 2013, "Still Fighting the War," and again in 2017, "Ghost on the Car Radio."


• Sat 2/24/18 at - 7:30 PM



The Swedish word Väsen has three meanings - essence, spirit, and hullabaloo - making it the perfect name for a band that is part Nordic tradition and part whirling dervish. Rooted in the musical traditions of Uppland, Sweden, Väsen transforms venerable polskas and marches into modern groove masterpieces, all the while retaining the consummate playing skills and ageless appeal of the best traditional music.


• Sun 2/25/18 at - 7:30 PM

Miles Electric Band


Vincent Wilburn, Jr., a drummer and nephew of Miles Davis, put together this ensemble of world-class talents revisiting the repertoire from Davis’ electric period as a framework for modern jazz innovation.


• Wed 2/28/18 at - 7:30 PM

Booker T.


Formed in 1962, Tennessee’s Booker T. Jones & the MG's helped create the indelible Memphis/Stax sound. Now Booker T. brings his sound to the stage as a solo act.


• Fri 3/2/18 at - 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM



Inspired by Ireland's great 1970s group The Bothy Band, Lúnasa uses melodic interweaving of wind and string instruments, pairing flutes, fiddle, whistle and pipes in breathtaking arrangements.


• Sun 3/4/18 at - 7:30 PM

Claudia Villela


Claudia Villela is a Brazilian vocalist with an amazing five octave range. Audiences are drawn to her haunting improvisations and the playfulness of her singing.


• Mon 3/5/18 at - 7:00 PM

Fabian Almazan & Camila Meza


Almazan, the Cuban-born pianist, and Meza, the Chilean singer and guitar player, have been working together since 2014.


• Wed 3/7/18 at - 7:00 PM

The Suffers


The Suffers are a 10-piece band from Houston who are redefining the sound of Gulf Coast soul, intertwining elements of classic American Ssoul with rock'n'roll. Both sonically and visually arresting, the large ensemble packs each position of the rhythm section and horn section with a level of talent and taste that provides the perfect foundation for singer Kam Franklin’s massive voice. The band’s sincerity and emotion are laid bare in their music, which has garnered an audience so broad and varied that they may prove to be the panacea for a jaded and stratified live music scene.


• Fri 3/9/18 at - 7:30 PM

Chris Smither


Like John Hammond and a handful of other musicians whose careers began in the 1960s blues revival, guitarist, singer and songwriter Chris Smither can take pride in the fact that he's been there since the beginning. This self-described "one-man band to the bone" uses mostly his blues guitar and his foot tapping to create memorable blues sounds. Smither's 2012 album "Hundred Dollar Valentine" represents his past, present and future in music.


• Wed 3/14/18 at - 7:30 PM

Billy Cobham Crosswinds Project


Widely regarded as one of the great living jazz drummers, Billy Cobham’s explosive technique powered some of fusion’s most important early recordings, including groundbreaking efforts by Miles Davis and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. A member of both the Modern Drummer Hall Of Fame and the Classic Drummer Hall Of Fame he’s an accomplished bandleader in his own right, collaborating with the likes of Jan Hammer, George Duke, John Scofield and John Abercrombie.


• Thu 3/15/18 at - 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers


Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers delve deep into the classic jazz sounds of the 1940s and 50s. A Central Coast favorite, they are admired as far away as Boston. Smith's vocal inspiration comes from the likes of Bessie Smith and Dinah Washington.


• Mon 3/19/18 at - 7:00 PM

John McEuen & The String Wizards: Will The Circle Be Unbroken

Folk, Americana/Roots

McEuen and his unique cast of iconic Americana string wizards share the music and memories of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s incredible 50-year career and the landmark Will the Circle Be Unbroken platinum album, initiated by John. With narrative and music of early NGDB, founding member John takes us on their incredible journey – interwoven with Nitty Gritty favorites, hot bluegrass, rarely heard NGDB early classics, Carter Family music, all in a multi-media presentation that features archival footage – and some new classics from his new album on Chesky Records – Made in Brooklyn – which was Stereophile Magazine’s Record of the Month. John will be doing an extensive meet and greet after the show, as he always likes to meet those who come. Any questions are welcome. Also, meet other original founding member Les Thompson and NGDB alumni John Cable.


• Wed 3/21/18 at - 7:00 PM

Sarah Elizabeth Charles


The stylings of vocalist Sarah Elizabeth Charles are wide ranging, touching on everything from contemporary arrangements of jazz standards to the re-workings of Haitian folkloric music.


• Thu 3/22/18 at - 7:00 PM

Jazzmeia Horn


Horn was a winner of the 2015 Thelonious Monk Competition. Her debut record, "A Social Call" was released in 2017. One New York Times jazz critic assessed her stature as "the most talked-about jazz vocalist to emerge since Cécile McLorin Salvant and Gregory Porter both became stars." The critic honed in on her particular style, including "a pinched, sassy tone in the highest register; a fondness for unguarded duets with her bassist ,,,; an array of rough, pealing nonverbal sounds that add drama to codas and interludes, hinting at meanings in the music that go beyond what fits on the page."


• Mon 3/26/18 at - 7:00 PM

Alice DiMicele


Alice DiMicele is a singer/songwriter and acoustic guitar player who works jazz/blues phrasing and R&B and rock 'n' roll rhythms into an Americana sound she calls “Organic Acoustic Groove.”


• Fri 3/30/18 at - 8:00 PM

Joey DeFrancesco & The People


DeFrancesco is the first name that comes to mind for many when they think of jazz organists. A native of Philadelphia, DeFrancesco was playing gigs by the time he was 10 — alongside “Philly” Joe Jonas and Hank Mobley. After playing piano with Miles Davis’ band, he switched over the organ and has become one of the instrument’s most acclaimed ambassadors and lauded players. Capable of switching from hauntingly beautiful ballads to all-out swing on a dime, he has won the DownBeat Magazine’s Critics and Readers polls in the organ category every year since 2002.


• Mon 4/2/18 at - 7:00 PM

Antonio Zambujo


António Zambujo is a fado singer from Portugal. In 2002 he produced his first album, the hit "O Mesmo Fado," which won him the prize of “Best New Fado Voice” from Radio Nova FM.


• Thu 4/5/18 at - 7:00 PM

Lee Ritenour & Dave Grusin


These two jazz legends, guitarist Lee Ritenour and pianist/arranger/composer Dave Grusin, have performed and recorded together on and off for 35 years, since the release of 1982's "Dave Grusin and the NY-LA Dream Band" (on Grusin's GRP label). They went on to play together on five more albums, the most recenbt being Grusin's "Amparo," in 2008.


• Sun 4/8/18 at - 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM



Huntertones is a horn-driven band founded in Columbus, Ohio, and currently based in Brooklyn, New York. The band’s signature sound comes from adventurous original compositions and arrangements written by Jon Lampley, Chris Ott, and Dan White that meld jazz, funk, soul, hip hop, R&B, and rock. In addition to covering a wide range of genres, the group is known for its ability to shift from a dynamic six piece ensemble to an unconventional trio featuring saxophone, sousaphone, and beat-boxing.


• Mon 4/9/18 at - 7:00 PM

Dianne Reeves


Blessed with a wonderfully versatile voice, Dianne Reeves has been known to shift from jazz to R&B, pop to African music, but she always comes back to the jazz for which she is most popular. A four-time Grammy winner, Reeves is the only singer to have won the vocal category for three consecutive recordings in any singing category. She earned a new following after her appearance in the film 'Good Night and Good Luck,' for which she recieved her fourth Grammy.


• Fri 4/13/18 at - 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Lionel Loueke Trio


Guitarist/vocalist Lionel Loueke, born in Benin, graduated from the Berklee College of Music and went on to attend the Thelonius Monk Institute, where he studied with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Terence Blanchard. He tours the world with his own trio as well as with Hancock


• Mon 4/16/18 at - 7:00 PM

Theo Croker, Trumpeter


Trumpeter and composer Theo Croker is the grandson of Doc Cheatham and an alumnus of the Oberlin Conservatory. Jazz Times has called him "an avatar of genre-defying postmodernism."


• Thu 4/19/18 at - 7:00 PM

Willie Jones III Quintet


Drummer Willie Jones III is stepping forth as one of the world's leading jazz drummers. In addition to honoring the late great Philly Joe Jones, Art Blakey and Billy Higgins as his monumental influences, Jones' bold articulation and constantly innovative sense of swing are direct results of his life-long musical experience.


• Mon 4/23/18 at - 7:00 PM

Dave Stryker Organ Quartet


Guitarist Dave Stryker leads this quartet featuring, which features Jared Gold on Hammond organ.


• Thu 4/26/18 at - 7:00 PM