Hip Hop Meets Jazz

219 Healdsburg Avenue
8-11PM | No Cover | h2hotel.com/spoonbar

One day a few years back the Bay Area woke up and  discovered it had been taken over by the Mafia. The Jazz Mafia, that is. Seemingly out of nowhere, a syndicate had sprung up, absorbing practically every able-bodied musician in the region like Star Trek‘s Borg and distributing them among about 10 different bands, each under the Jazz Mafia umbrella. There’s orchestral (the Jazz Mafia Symphony),  big band (the Realistic Orchestra),  brass band (the Brass Mafia), hip-hop jazz (the Shotgun Wedding Quintet) and several other outfits that the Jazz Mafia’s don, Adam Theis, conjured into existence.

This year Theis is extending the franchise into the Healdsburg Jazz Festival by sending the Shotgun Wedding Quartet to do a hit on the Spoonbar. It’s fitting, since Theis grew up in Sonoma County where he  started creating musical possibilities for local players while still in high school. He went from those early ’90s humble beginnings as a horn section hired out to bands that wanted some fire power to an organization that managed to extort a $50,000 grant out of the Wallace Alexander Gerbode and William and Flora Hewlett Foundations to produce the 60-piece  “Brass, Bows & Beats,”  a hip-hop symphony that principal composer and trombonist Theis toured around North America and recorded as a live album.

Theis is a serious composer who with Shotgun Wedding manages a seamless meld of jazz with hip-hop beats and narration. On the group’s latest CD, Tales From the Barbary Coast, the music makes rapid shifts, sort of like mini-suites – not far from how Ellington and Mingus worked – creating a noir feel enhanced by samplers and loops. Over the music MC Dublin tells lurid tales from the bygone era indicated on the album’s title. Also playing sampler and violin, Dublin is joined by Theis on bass, trombone, synths and sampler; Joe Cohen on saxes and keyboards; and Pat Korte on drums and sampler.

Spoonbar and the h2hotel invite you to come early for pre-show dining, cocktails and snacks in the Spoonbar lounge.