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Kuumbwa Jazz Center

320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, CA



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The Bad Plus

Jazz,Experimental (Incl. All Music Forms)

The Bad Plus features bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King. Beginning in 2018, a new pianist, Orrin Evans takes over from Ethan Iverson. The group covers a range of rock 'n' roll and pop song books for inspiration and the New York Times hailed them as "better than anyone at jazz and indie rock."


• Mon 2/18/19 at - 7:00 PM

Ralph Peterson & the Messenger Legacy


The Messenger Legacy is a line-up of alumni members of one of jazz’s most influential bands, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers. It's led by the formidable drummer Ralph Peterson, who as a fresh-faced young professional refined his performance skills in the original Messengers under the guidance of the great drummer himself, A.B. – aka Buhaina.


• Thu 2/21/19 at - 7:00 PM

Habib Koite


Habib Koite of Mali is a rising star in the African-music scene. His already formidable talents continue to grow and mature. His singing and songwriting are better than ever, and the overall sound of his band, Bamada, continues to coalesce, proving them to be one of the tightest, most melodic bands to emerge from Africa in the last several years.


• Fri 2/22/19 at - 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Veronica Swift with The Benny Green Trio


The child of jazz vocalist Stephanie Nakasian and the late bebop pianist Hod O’Brien, Veronica has already appeared at Lincoln Center, Telluride Jazz Festival, Blues Alley, The Jazz Cruise, and Birdland, performing with Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, Esperanza Spalding, Joe Lovano, Bob Dorough, Paquito d’Rivera, and other established jazz artists.


• Mon 2/25/19 at - 7:00 PM

Etienne Charles & Creole Soul


The Trinidad-born trumpeter Etienne Charles, the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and his band Creole Soul represent a captivating journey of new jazz expression. The ensembles taps into myriad styles rooted in their Afro-Caribbean background and plumbing the musical depths of the islands from calypso to Haitian voodoo music, and melding it with jazz. Charles currently teaches jazz trumpet at Michigan State University. "As a person in the new world, I've been influenced by so much music. And my family has a mixed background of French, Caribbean, Spanish and African roots.... I come from a fusion of rhythms, a fusion of cultures. That's what this band is all about: a jazz-based focus on Creole soul music that is Creole at heart." Featuring: Etienne Charles - trumpet and percussion, Brian Hogans - saxophones, Victor Gould - piano, Alex Wintz - guitar, Jonathan Michel - bass, John Davis - drums The concert will be at the Miniaci Performing Arts Center on the Nova Southeastern campus, 3100 Ray Ferrero Boulevard in Dania. Tickets are $40 at or (954) 462-0222. Funding for South Florida JAZZ is provided in part by grant from the Broward County Board of County Commissioners as recommended by the Broward Cultural Division


• Thu 2/28/19 at - 7:00 PM

Matthew Whitaker Trio


The pianist, organist, drummer and composer Matthew Whitaker, a prodigy and rising star, grew up in New Jersey surrounded by music. He started on a keyboard at age 3; at 9, he began teaching himself the Hammond B3 organ; four years later he became the youngest artist ever to be endorsed by Hammond in its eighty-plus year history. In 2010, Whitaker was a winning participant in the “Child Stars of Tomorrow” competition as part of Amateur night at the Apollo. A year later he was invited to perform at Stevie Wonder’s induction into the Apollo’s Hall of Fame.


• Fri 3/1/19 at - 7:00 PM

Chris Potter Circuits Trio


A world-class soloist, accomplished composer, and formidable bandleader, the tenor saxophonist Chris Potter has emerged as a leading light of his generation. The New Yorker's jazz critics can't get enough of him, calling him "a dulcet-toned dynamo" (2015) and "a questing stylist whose virtuosic work with Dave Holland and Pat Metheny has elevated him to venerated status." (2017). Circuits trio includes the keyboardist James Francies and drummer Eric Harland.


• Mon 3/4/19 at - 7:00 PM

Joe Lovano Trio Tapestry


Grammy Award–winning saxophonist Joe Lovano needs no introduction: he is “the tenor titan for our times” (Allmusic), “a full-fledged jazz giant” (Bruce Lundvall, Blue Note Records). Beginning with his work with native Buffalonian Mel Lewis, Lovano’s ever-escalating career led to touring and recording with the major jazz musicians of the late twentieth century, including Herbie Hancock, Mulgrew Miller, Ed Blackwell, Paul Motian, Bill Frisell, John Scofield, and Jim Hall. His nearly thirty albums for Blue Note, thirteen Grammy Award nominations, and a bevy of jazz awards trace his development into a universally admired artist, driven to expand the jazz tradition well into the twenty-first century. Trio Tapestry, his debut project as a leader for ECM Records, is described by Lovano as featuring “the expressive beauty of Marilyn Crispell on piano, and one of my lifelong inspirations, Carmen Castaldi on drums . . . opening the door for some of the most intimate personal music I’ve recorded so far.”


• Mon 3/11/19 at - 7:00 PM

Alfredo Rodríguez & Pedrito Martinez Duo


When two of our staff watched these two musicians go at it on different occasions, more than a year apart and in St. Louis and New York, both reported that as a duo they put on a fantastic show, both stunned that just two people could create such a full and captivating sound. Having them host this seasons Dr. Carlos Perez-Mesa Memorial Concert was an easy decision. Both GRAMMY®-nominated artists, pianist Alfredo Rodriguez and conguero/percussionist/vocalist Pedrito Martinez have, on separate and previous occasions, graced Jazz Series stages. Rodriguez a generation younger than his counterpart, led a trio; Martinez, the seasoned veteran, appeared as a member of Conrad Herwigs Latin Side All-Stars, on a couple of occasions.


• Thu 3/14/19 at - 7:00 PM

Dee Dee Bridgewater & Memphis Soulphony


Over the course of four-decade career, Grammy and Tony Award-winning jazz giant Dee Dee Bridgewater has ascended to the upper echelon of vocalists, putting her unique spin on standards, as well as taking intrepid leaps of faith in re-envisioning jazz classics. She earned her first professional experience as a member of the legendary Thad Jones/Mel Louis Big Band, and throughout the 70’s she performed with Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon and Dizzy Gillespie. She began self-producing in 1993 and created DDB records in 2006. Most of her recordings have earned Grammy nominations Her multi-faceted talents steered her into musical theater, where she a Tony Award for her role as “Glinda” in The Wiz in 1975 and she played Billie Holiday in the off-Broadway production of "Lady Day" for which she received the British Laurence Olivier Nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. As a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), she continues to appeal for international solidarity to finance global grassroots projects in the fight against world hunger. She is currently on tour worldwide in support of “Memphis,” her new CD.


• Mon 3/18/19 at - 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Omar Sosa & Seckou Keita: Transparent Water


These two acclaimed musical adventurers share a rich heritage that spans jazz, Latin and African influences. The idea for the collaboration grew out of Sosa’s impromptu addition to a 2012 London date with drummer Marque Gilmore, in what became Sosa and Keita’s first musical encounter. The experience inspired Sosa to invite Keita to work together on a future recording project. The resulting album, "Transparent Water," is a transcendent achievement via improvisatory freedom.


• Fri 3/22/19 at - 9:00 PM

Roberta Gambarini


Born and raised in Italy to music loving parents, Roberta Gambarini grew up constantly listening to her father’s record collection. Her first vocal inspirations were Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, followed by Sarah Vaughan, Billie Holiday, and Carmen McRae, as well as gospel and blues artists such as Mahalia Jackson and Bessie Smith. She was singing and performing in clubs by the time she was 17. In 1998, Gambarini received a scholarship to study at the New England Conservatory in Boston and surprised the jazz world by finishing third in the 1998 Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition. She has become a fixture on the international jazz circuit.


• Mon 3/25/19 at - 7:00 PM

Davina & the Vagabonds


This five-piece jazzy blues band with an old-style New Orleans vibe is led by the powerhouse singer Davina Sowers.


• Wed 3/27/19 at - 7:00 PM