Brazil on the Bay 2009
Best Annual Brazil Music Festival immediately follows Carnaval San Francisco in the heart of wine country

In 2009, the Healdsburg Jazz Festival will celebrate its eleventh year. For ten days, the festival will take over the town, with concerts in theaters, restaurants, ballparks, wineries, hotel lobbies, and a free concert in the town square.


Stars of Brazil: A tribute to  Antonio Carlos Jobim

  • Toninho Horta Trio with special guest Airto

  • Trio Da Paz

  • Leny Andrade with the Stephanie Ozer Quartet

Location: Recreation Park Piper and Center Streets, Healdsburg
Sunday, May 31
: Noon to 5 p.m.
: $25; Students and seniors (65+) $15.

Imagine a small town with more than 100 wineries nearby, gourmet restaurants and bakeries, galleries on every street, and live jazzHealdsburg Jazz Festival three or more nights a week. A genuine American small town, Healdsburg is at a comfortable juncture of hip and historic. It’s the perfect place for a great jazz festival. Healdsburg is awash in creativity, drawing the most innovative chefs, the best winemakers, and fine artists in every medium. It’s a living metaphor for jazz.

As citizens of a vast, diverse, continent-sized nation, Brazilians are united by several powerfully binding passions: samba, soccer, and Antonio Carlos Jobim. This afternoon concert offers a generous helping of two out of three, and who knows, maybe a futbol game will break out on the lawn.

The event is a mini-festival of Brazilian music featuring some of the country’s greatest musicians, with a special focus on the vast treasure trove of tunes written by Jobim, one of the 20th century’s most revered composers.

“day on the green” at Healdsburg’s Rec Park
Stars of Brazil:

 A tribute to  Antonio Carlos Jobim

Guitarist Toninho Horta is a gifted improviser who has been a major force since he emerged in the early 1970s as part of Milton Nascimento’s Minas Gerais collective Clube da Esquina. For his Healdsburg performance, Horta brings an extraordinary rhythm section featuring Panamanian-born bass master Santi Debriano, drum innovator Billy Hart, and special guest Airto Moreira, a percussion giant whose career highlights includes a founding stint with Weather Report, and hit albums with his wife, vocalist Flora Purim.


On a scene bursting with sumptuously talented singers, Leny Andrade has long stood out in Brazil with her warm, burnished contralto and her lithe, flowing phrasing. The Rio de Janeiro native won a Latin Grammy Award in 2007 for her ravishing duo CD “Ao Vivo” with pianist Cesar Camargo Mariano. For her Healdsburg performance, Andrade is joined by Sonoma County jazz pianist Stephanie Ozer, who  recorded much of her CD “O Começo, New Beginnings in Brazilian Jazz” in Rio with Leny, and has been delving deeper into Brazilian music ever since.

Toninho Horta (top), Airto, Leny Andrade

Toninho Horta (top), Airto, and Leny Andrade--- who is considered Brazil’s greatest living jazz vocalist; star in the big event


Trio Da Paz
Trio da Paz
Trio Da Paz is an all-star New York ensemble uniting three of Brazil’s finest jazz musicians, guitarist Romero Lubambo, bassist Nilson Matta and drummer Duduka Da Fonseca, who have honed a gorgeous repertoire of Brazilian standards and modern jazz tunes. Together and separately, the three musicians have played and recorded with a who’s who of the American and Brazilian jazz scene.

Like the town it inhabits, the Healdsburg Jazz Festival is more interested in quality than quantity, more focused on high standards and fresh ideas. Founded 11 years ago, the jazz festival started small, with an unusual purpose. Something called “smooth jazz” was taking over the radio airwaves, and there was talk about a “smooth jazz” festival coming to Healdsburg.

Fans of the authentic jazz art form knew that jazz impresario Jessica Felix had recently moved to Healdsburg from the Bay Area. Jessica had already booked a few concerts in local venues, and was easily persuaded to start a hometown festival that celebrated real jazz.

Grupo Falso Baiano
G.F.B. is Jesse Appelman, mandolin(bandolim),Zack Pitt-Smith, reeds, Ami Molinelli, percussionand Brian Moran, 7 string guitar,   Grupo Falso Baiano is a choro group that offers a window into the history and diverse culture of Brazil. Choro is one of Brazil's earliest popular musics, dating back to the late 1800s, and, similar to jazz, it reflects the melding of African rhythms with a melodic and harmonic structure closely resembling Baroque Classical music. 

From the beginning, Jessica insisted on booking quality musicians, treating them well, and introducing them to the community. Jazz bassist Charlie Haden calls Jessica a “jazz angel” for the way she treats musicians and for her unswerving dedication to music. Jessica doesn’t do it alone. An orchestra of volunteers works all year, planning publicity, logistics, fund-raising, and events.

The festival has grown from a three-day event in a local movie house to a ten-day jazz experience. For a week-and-a-half at the beginning of June each year, Healdsburg — maybe the hippest small town in California — is the center of the jazz world.

In addition to performances, the festival sponsors films, lectures, and workshops. The community has also embraced the festival. Local businesses sponsor events, families open their homes to musicians, and restaurants offer special menu items, often named after jazz tunes. San Francisco

 jazz musicians say Healdsburg has better, more respectful listeners than the Bay Area.

The Healdsburg Jazz Festival is now on the radar of jazz fans from all over the world. When she founded the festival, Jessica wondered whether a rural community would support a jazz festival the way an urban city might, but it went together like a good jazz combo, thriving on the alchemy of talent, improvisation, and creative freedom.