Festival Jazz in the Lobby

Hotel Healdsburg LobbyHotel Healdsburg Lobby

Address: 25 Matheson Street, Healdsburg
Show Time: 9 pm to midnight
No cover, full bar and light menu available

Friday and Saturday nights all year long, the Hotel Healdsburg Lobby hosts jazz in duo or trio combinations — sometimes larger — for relaxed yet intriguing and satisfying musical evenings. During the Festival, these “jazz in the Lobby” nights are all the more special, as it’s not uncommon for some of the nationally known performers in town for the week drop by to play informal sets with the scheduled band. Which means you never know who will show up — so drop by and find out!

Friday night:

Lorca Hart Trio with Craig Handy

Location: Hotel Healdsburg Lobby
Address: 25 Matheson Street, Healdsburg
Show Time: 9 pm to midnight

Lorca HartLorca Hart was raised on rhythm. Growing up in a highly musical family, he absorbed the intricacies of the trap set from his father, drum maestro Billy Hart. As a student at CalArts in the mid-1990s he developed an expansive, insistently swinging approach to time through studies with drum masters Tootie Heath and Joe LaBarbera, and avant gard icons Charlie Haden and Wadada Leo Smith.

Since then he’s become a fixture on the Southland jazz scene sought out by succession of esteemed veterans, including guitarists Calvin Keys, Anthony Wilson, Julian Lage, bassist John Heard, trumpeter Hugh Masakela, and saxophonists Herman Riley, Azar Lawrence, Red Holloway, Plas Johnson, and Bennie Maupin.

His powerful trio is joined by Craig Handy, the Berkeley-raised tenor saxophonist who’s toured the world leading the celebrated Mingus Big Band, and will lead his own quartet the next night.

Saturday Night:

Craig HandyCraig Handy Quartet
with Surprise Guests

“Improvisation…relentless in its invention and in its velocity.”—New York Times

With his big swaggering sound and penchant for hurtling, breakneck solos, tenor saxophonist Craig Handy is a wonder to behold, an improviser who brings a sassy sense of joy to every bandstand he inhabits. No wonder he was cast as tenor sax patriarch Coleman Hawkins in Robert Altman’s 1996 film “Kansas City.”

A product of Berkeley High School’s vaunted jazz band, he first made his mark with ace talent scouts like Betty Carter and Art Blakey. While he hasn’t recorded prolifically under his own name (he made two critically praised CDs for Arabesque in the early 90s and two strong sessions for Sirocco about a decade later), he’s very well represented on albums by South African piano great Abdullah Ibrahim, drum legend Roy Haynes, and “Acoustic Masters II,” an all-star project with Bobby Hutcherson, Ron Carter and Mulgrew Miller.

Craig Handy is best known for his work with the septet Mingus Dynasty and his leadership of the Mingus Big Band, where he’s immersed himself in the passionate, roiling musical world of Charles Mingus. Often drawn to Afro-Cuban grooves in his own projects, he presents a top-shelf quartet for this Saturday night show, featuring several guests drawn from other festival acts.