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Gualala Arts

Promoting public interest and participation in the arts since 1961.

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Whale and Jazz Festival logo Eleventh Annual Sonoma ~ Mendocino Coast
Whale & Jazz Festival

Main Event

Mads Tolling's Jazz Europa


Gualala Arts Center
Saturday, April 26, 2014
7:30 p.m.

Buy tickets
Global Harmony

"A wonderful new voice on the violin --- very refreshing!"
-Chick Corea

Mads Tolling Mads Tolling, the young and charming pinnacle Danish Jazz violinist / composer and two-time Grammy award winner, graces the Arts Center stage with his highly original and often exotic ensemble.

"Mads Tolling is the most exciting musician I have come across in the past ten years." -Stanley Clarke

Tolling, formerly of the Turtle Island Quartet, beautifully communicates both musically and verbally with his audiences. The night's melodic and refined textures also feature virtuoso musicians: Tommy Kesecker, vibraharp (the long-awaited return of a previous festival favorite); Rob Reich, accordion; Dave Mac Nab, guitar; Sam Bevan, bass and Eric Garland, drums. The concert will also introduce this year's festival youth discovery, the exceptional 14-year old pianist, Lucas Hahn.

"Mads has the amazing talent and skills that few young musicians can match.
His music is both beautiful and refreshing exhibiting his superb mastery of
the modern American Jazz music that is rarely seen among his peers."

-Jean-Luc Ponty

Tickets are $28 in advance, $5 more on the day of the performance. For advance purchase, go to Brown Paper Tickets or call them at 800-838-3006. To purchase in person, visit the Gualala Arts Center or Dolphin Gallery in Gualala. Special lodging packages which include tickets to this performance are available from the Timber Cove Inn.

"Mads Tolling may not be 30 yet, but on "The Playmaker" he exhibits a restraint that
would've been at home in Corea's original Return to Forever."
-Downbeat Magazine

"Virtuosity may be a given on "The Playmaker," but what's most impressive is
the sound of Tolling's quartet, which drives the majority of the record and,
based on the results, must be thrilling live."
-All About Jazz


Whale and Jazz Main Event
Jazz violin with vibes and accordion:
unique matchup, memorable concert

By J. Stephen McLaughlin
Independent Coast Observer
May 2, 2014

Saturday night's Main Event of the 11th Annual Sonoma-Mendocino Whale and Jazz Festival was a unique, dynamite evening that brought big, club-quality jazz to the intimate, redwood-nestled Gualala Arts Center.

Festival Music Coordinator Fred Adler built his program with a dynamic quartet fronted by Danish violinist Mads Tolling, backed by Dave Mac Nab, guitar; Sam Bevan, bass, and Eric Garland, drums.

To that solid act, Adler suggested adding Rob Reich, accordion, and invited Tommy Kesecker to bring his vibraharp back for an encore performance at the Whale and Jazz festival.

Each year, Adler spotlights a festival youth discovery, and Gualala audiences have gotten in on the "ground floor" of several excellent young jazz musicians' careers over the years.

Since Tolling is on the staff of the California Jazz Conservatory, Adler asked him to suggest a candidate. Though the famed jazz school in Berkeley includes only the finest young musicians, Tolling said pianist Lucas Hahn was far and away the most outstanding prospect.

Tolling was right. At age 14 (how did such a young person get his requisite 10,000 hours of practice?), young Hahn splashed off dazzling solos, including a great rendition of Thelonious Monk's "Blue Monk." But he also had the hands of a pro, dropping in just the right chords with impeccable timing during solos by other members of the big ensemble.

Kesecker's blur of mallets on the vibes was spectacular, and he also brought out the ethereal side of the instrument, sometimes stroking the ends of the bars with the handle of a mallet for a non-percussive, floating sound.

Though Kesecker had never before played with Tolling on stage, their vibes and violin duo of Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose" was spellbinding as they locked eyes in the musical exchange. Tolling was very generous with solos for all the players, and the Gualala audience was appreciative of every turn.

Their encore, Chick Corea's fascinating and complex "Spain," brought the Whale and Jazz Festival audience to its feet -- again.

© 2014 Independent Coast Observer, Gualala, CA
Reproduced with permission
Independent Coast Observer

The Gualala Arts Center, located at 46501 Old State Highway in Gualala, CA,
is open weekdays 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and weekends from noon to 4:00 p.m.
Please call (707) 884-1138 for more information, or email

Serving the coastal communities of northern Sonoma & southern Mendocino Counties.