Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band and Claudia Villela
The climax of every Healdsburg Jazz Festival has always been the Festival Finale, an open-air affair on the green at Rodney Strong Vineyards. It's an occasion for soaking up the sun, the wine and the music, this year a Latin-flavored concert that will have you dancing up and dancing all afternoon.
Opening the show, Rio de Janeiro-raised Claudi Villela is set to mesmerize the crowd with the haunting vocals and powerful piano playing that have made her a top attraction of Brazilian music, bolstered by the stunning and complex guitar playing of her longtime companion, guitarist Ricardo Peixoto, and the versatile percussion of Brian Rice, a master of an entire range of Latin instruments including the pandeiro, the hand drum critical to the music of Brazil.
Then Poncho Sanchez takes the stage with his eight-piece Latin Jazz Band, pushing the deep grooves that have made him the country's most consistently popular Latin jazz artist. For more than 30 years Sanchez has done the good work of fusing dance music to modern jazz with an effortlessness that masks the virtuosity underneath. The result? The grooves get you moving while the solos dazzle.
As befits a Mexican-American who dove headlong into Afro-Cuban jazz in his early days, singer and conguero Sanchez delivers a true musical fusion. His pan-Latin mastery has made him a valuable contributor to the music of Cal Tjader, Mongo Santamaria, Eddie Harris, Freddie Hubbard, Tito Puente and many more, and earned him a Grammy award for his own album "Latin Soul," one of 25 discs he's recorded for Concord. As Sanchez plays, his arms tell the story, moving elastically as they translate currents from the heart and mind into a mile-wide clave. Whether he's delivering a cha-cha, bolero, timba or mambo, the rhythms and the riffs make sitting still impossible.
His band consists of Sanchez on congas and lead vocals, Francisco Torres on trombone, Ron Blake on trumpet and flugelhorn, Joey De Leon Jr. on timbales, Rob Hardt on saxophones and flute, Andy Langham on piano, Rene Camacho on bass, and Angel Rodriguez on bongos and percussion.
This is an open-air concert; some seats are in shaded areas but everyone should plan on bringing a hat and sunscreen. Low folding chairs okay, please no umbrellas. Rodney Strong wine and water will be available, and food trucks will have good eats available for attendees. Doors open at 2 pm.
Rodney Strong Vineyards (View)
11455 Old Redwood Hwy.
Healdsburg, CA 95448