Supporting jazz in every way . . .

There are many ways to support jazz, the distinctively American music we celebrate. One way is to frequent the local venues where jazz is played — see the latest from Affronti below.

Another is to help young musicians, though education programs or by following their journeys — like the blog from Bhutan by Festival favorite Noam Lemish.

  Helen Wray & George Cables
George Cables & Helen Wray

The third and most immediate is to support musicians and their families in need. George Cables has been a mainstay of jazz since the 1960s, and a frequent performer at Healdsburg events.

Helen Wray has been George’s soul mate and musical inspiration for the past 27 years — his “Helen’s Song ” is one of his most requested tunes. She spent most of her time the last few years helping George through his own health issues, but now Helen has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer is now facing her own medical crisis.

Among the stellar line-up of performers is a Who’s Who of your favorites: Bobby Hutcherson, Paula West, Michele Rosewoman, Benny Green, Peter Barshay, Bruce Forman, Azar Lawrence, Barry Hutcherson, Jaz Sawyer, Myron Cohen, Mel Martin, Vince Lateano, Pete Yellin, David Ewell, Dee Spencer and of course George Cables –and, just announced, trumpeter Roy Hargrove.

What can you do? Mark the date Sept. 26 on your calendar for a special concert at Yoshi’s San Francisco. This benefit will help cover the mounting medical expenses, and it will include a stellar line-up of Bay Area jazz talent that speaks to the affection the jazz community has for Helen and George.

What: “Helen’s Song” A Benefit Concert for Helen Wray
Date: Saturday afternoon, September 26th
Time: 1 pm to 3:30 pm
Location: Yoshi’s San Francisco
1330 Fillmore Street, SF,CA 94115
(415) 655-5600
Cost: $35 – Tickets and information at

NOTE: Looking to see great jazz and save gas at the same time? Local musician Kai Devitt-Lee of Healdsburg and others are looking to car pool to the benefit. To give Kai and others a lift — and be green! — email the Healdsburg Jazz Festival.

For information about Helen, to send her a note or donation visit CaringBridge. Below is the PDF flyer of the benefit concert. Please download it, forward it, print it, post it, and pass it out to friends and family!

Helen's Song - Benefit Concert for Helen Wray 09-26-2009 at Yoshi's