Jazz & Wine Dinner
Chris Amberger Trio with Randy Vincent and Frances Vanek

Monday, June 4, 6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Dry Creek Kitchen
317 Healdsburg Ave.

The Headsburg Jazz Festival brings jazz stars from around the country and sometimes the world, but it doesn’t neglect local talent. Many don’t realize it but the North Coast is crawling with expert jazz practitioners playing in local clubs and restaurants, some of them survivors of the days when San Francisco was awash in jazz in clubs like the Black Hawk, Keystone Korner, Jimbo’s Bob City, The Jazz Workshop and more.

Three of these local luminaries are settling into the Dry Creek Kitchen on Monday night, June 4, led by Chris Amberger, a towering bassist who seen it all, done it all, been with all. Chris got his start on the stand-up bass jamming with Summer of Love era folks like Janis Joplin and Big Brother and Holding Company. After getting an education on scholarship at the Berklee College of Music, where he studied with Gary Burton, Ron McClure and others, he got gigs with Cal Tjader, Rosemary Clooney, Art Blakey, George Shearing, and tons more. Back in the Bay Area he became the house bassist for the Keystone Korner, serving with heavies like Dexter Gordon, Art Pepper, Red Garland, Sam Rivers, and so many greats who came through those hallowed doors.

At the Dry Creek Kitchen, Chris will be setting up with guitarist Randy Vincent, a Sonoma State University instructor perhaps best known hereabouts as the guy who taught Julian Lage (you can find videos of them playing together on YouTube).  Thanks to the popular instructional books Randy has published, hundreds of competent guitarists have fanned out into the jazz world. Randy also gave advanced lessons to Liberty Ellman, a star on the New York City scene. What Randy never draws attention to is his own playing, which is dazzling in its fluidity in single-line runs and ease of navigating complex chord voicings.

Completing the threesome is Francis Vanek, a tenor saxophone romantic whose roots also go back to ’60s San Francisco.  Swing is woven deep into the DNA of these gentlemen, and the at Dry Creek can expect classic jazz, with all its elegance and grit, played effortlessly. They’ll all be playing while diners enjoy the fare from Charlie Palmer’s Dry Creek Kitchen, under the guidance of Chef Scott Romano. To make dinner reservations in advance, phone (707) 431-0330 or visit on the web.