Whale & Jazz Festival

Twelfth Annual Sonoma ~ Mendocino Coast

Whale & Jazz Festival

April - May, 2015, plus special Season of Brubeck concerts on June 13 and September 26

Multiple venues

see details of each event

Whale & Jazz Festival logoPresented by Gualala Arts and taking place during the Smithsonian Institute’s Jazz Appreciation Month of April, this highly regarded festival captures inspired, original jazz art work, whale education, jazz films, poetry and jazz, an annual Chowder Challenge and tasting and live music in atmospheric and beautiful settings, conducive to a special coastal experience. The venues include wineries and restaurants, inns from Timber Cove to Point Arena, a wine bar, casino, the classically restored Arena Theater and the Gualala Arts Center nestled in the coastal redwoods.

Jeff Chambers at Whale & Jazz FestivalEntertainment, inspiration and education, the uplifting goals of this Festival, are epitomized by outreach to local students through school presentations. These have included both whale and jazz oriented programs tailored to encourage youthful enthusiasm for both.

Jazz as defined by indigenous and spontaneous melodic and rhythmic improvisation is indeed a vital, essential and hugely significant cultural art form, and is unique to the American heritage, as evidenced by the recent gala opening of the prestigious SF Jazz Center. All styles of this musical expression are presented at this Festival.

We are pleased to announce as part of the Festival “A Season of Brubeck – to Dave with Gratitude,” a series of events that will honor the legacy of jazz legend Dave Brubeck and will extend the Festival past its usual April and May schedule. The planned events will include film and live concerts, and all Festival performers will be including at least one Brubeck piece as part of their Whale & Jazz performance.

We are honored by your attendance, as the Festival’s life force is dependent upon spirited support and appreciation. We love and welcome your interest and participation!

Fred Adler, Festival Music Coordinator
Sonoma ~ Mendocino Coast Whale & Jazz Festival Committee:
David “Sus” Susalla, Fred Adler, Jan Harris

A Season of Brubeck

To Dave with Gratitude

Working in accord with The Brubeck Institute, University of the Pacific, Stockton CA this year’s Sonoma – Mendocino Coast Whale & Jazz Festival – “A Season of Brubeck – To Dave with Gratitude” – celebrates the revered pianist, composer, educator, cultural ambassador and social justice advocate. Dave passed on in 2012 at age 92 and was still going strong musically. Brubeck believed in “the power of music to transform lives as well as to enlighten and entertain.” When once asked how he would like to be remembered, he replied “as someone who opened doors.” His aspiration was a perfect connection to Gualala Arts Global Harmony Series, encouraging Global Harmony by sharing cultures through the arts.

Dave Brubeck at the pianoIn Dave Brubeck’s words, his dream from the earliest days was to “seek the acceptance of jazz as a serious art form that reflected American ideals of freedom and individual expression, balanced with group responsibility and interdependence. Like America herself, jazz has always drawn from many cultures and has been enriched by that cross-fertilization.”

To Dave with Gratitude 2015 promises to highlight this powerfully historic and influential man’s music and also his deeply committed contributions to the true dignity of mankind. Our intent is to help further open Dave Brubeck’s richly inspiring doors.

To honor the musical legacy of Brubeck, the majority of this year’s Sonoma – Mendocino Whale & Jazz Festival artists will feature at least one of Brubeck’s compositions as part of their performance. The Festival will also be part of Gualala Arts noted Global Harmony Series, in honor of Dave Brubeck’s pinnacle dream. The jazz musicians are truly “The Real Ambassadors.” We are grateful to Andrea A. Lunsford for her generous sponsorship of this special tribute. Festival Music Coordinator Fred Adler, along with the Festival committee, has put together an impressive slate of Brubeck-themed presentations and concerts that will begin in April and continue through September. The scheduled events are as follows, with other events to be added as they are confirmed.

Download the
2015 Whale & Jazz Festival Program

2015 Whale & Jazz Festival Program

2015 Festival schedule

Harrison Goldberg at the Golden Gate BridgeJazz for the Schools
“The Many Faces of Jazz Music”
Harrison Goldberg Quartet
*This event is not open to the public
Tuesday, March 24, 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Gualala Arts Center
46501 Old State Highway, Gualala

The Harrison Goldberg Quartet with Goldberg, reeds, Dorian May, piano, Dorothea May, acoustic bass and Gabe Yanez, drums, will present a program designed to introduce young people to the joy and diversity of jazz music, America’s indigenous art form.

Ian SchererSt. Orres & Jazz
Ian Scherer, guitar, Joel Kruzic, upright bass & guitar and Corwin Zekley, violin

Friday, April 3, 6:00 & 8:00 p.m. seatings
36601 S. Highway 1, Gualala

The brilliantly spirited and dynamic guitarist Ian Scherer and the first-rate and versatile Joel Kruzic, doubling on upright bass and guitar, will perform astounding gypsy jazz, Latin and standards. Special guest phenomenal violinist 18 year old Corwin Zekley. Small plates and regular 3-course menu, award-winning wine cellar in St. Orres’ multi-story, Russian-domed dining room. No cover charge. Full bar. Dining reservations recommended. (707) 884-3335.

Rediscovering Dave BrubeckArena Theater Jazz Film
Rediscovering Dave Brubeck
(2001, 57 minutes)
plus classic Betty Boop jazz cartoon “Minnie the Moocher”
Monday, April 6, 7:00 p.m.
Arena Theater, 214 Main St. (Highway 1), Point Arena

The Brubeck film, directed by Hedrick Smith, provides an intimate backstage portrait of the master – in rehearsal, at recording sessions, on the road, and at home, talking about how his most famous tunes were created. The beautifully restored Arena Theater will present this jazz film using its state of the art digital projection system. (707) 882-3456.

OrcaOrcas Surviving Dyes Inlet: My Adventure with L Pod
Whale Lecture by Jodi Smith of Naked Whale Research

Thursday, April 9, 7:00 p.m.
Gualala Arts Center Coleman Auditorium
46501 Old State Highway, Gualala

Jodi Smith, Executive Director of Naked Whale Research (NaWhaRe), shares an unusual Killer Whale incident that occurred in 1997 in Bremerton, Washington.

Susan SuttonSea Ranch Lodge & Jazz
Susan Sutton, keyboard & Piro Patton, vibes/upright bass

Friday, April 10, seatings TBD
Black Point Grill, 60 Sea Walk Dr., The Sea Ranch

Revered for her original melodic improvisations and tender renditions of standards, keyboardist Susan Sutton is joined by the warm and captivating vibist / bassist Piro Patton of Bolinas. Witness musical magic! Performing in the Black Point Grill, with impressive sunset views, special menu, award-winning wines and full bar. No cover charge. Dining reservations recommended. (707) 785-2371.

Corwin and Finn Gypsy Jazz215 Main & Jazz
Gypsy Swing Club
Saturday, April 11, 7:00 p.m.
215 Main (Highway 1), Point Arena

European Gypsy jazz at its finest played by top level musicians Corwin Zekley, violin, David Brown, guitar, Tim Mueller, guitar, Keith Abrams, bass and accordionist extraordinaire Finn Juhl with guest artists. 215 Main is located in the heart of downtown Point Arena on Main St. (Highway 1). Beer/wine bar. $8 cover. Limited seating. Extensive menu available. (707) 882-3215.

Kirk LumpkinPoetry & Jazz,
Poet Kirk Lumpkin & Jazz Poets Ensemble
Thursday, April 16, 7:00 p.m.
215 Main (Highway 1), Point Arena

Poet, performer, lyricist, environmentalist, cultural worker, and event organizer Kirk Lumpkin hosted the Café International Series in San Francisco when it was voted “Best Spoken Word Open Mic” by Bay Guardian readers. The superb Jazz Poets Ensemble, comprised of accomplished musicians Karl Young, shakuhachi flute; Tim Mueller, guitar; James Hayes, upright bass and others will accompany the reading with improvisational jazz. Open mic for poets. 215 Main is located in the heart of downtown Point Arena on Main St. (Highway 1). $5 donation requested; one-drink minimum. Extensive menu available. (707) 882-3215.

Tom BarnebeyChowder & Jazz
Barnebey’s Hot Four

Saturday, April 18, 11:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Gualala Arts Center Coleman Auditorium
46501 Old State Highway, Gualala

Sample traditional clam, seafood and vegetarian chowders while enjoying a free concert of traditional New Orleans jazz played proudly and authentically by Barnebey’s Hot Four. Returning again by popular demand, the band features Tom Barnebey, cornet & trombone, Robert Young, reeds & cornet, Carl Lunsford, banjo & guitar (formerly with Turk Murphy’s famous SF band) and Marty Eggers, string bass. The Annual Chowder Challenge is $20 advance ($5 more day of Challenge) for 15 tasting tickets and commemorative glass. Free admission for music only. Brown Paper Tickets (800) 838-3006. Gualala Arts Center (707)-884-1138.

BAKUTimber Cove Inn & Jazz

Saturday, April 25, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
21780 Highway 1, Timber Cove

BAKU is an improvisational ensemble comprised of local musicians dedicated to the art of spontaneous composition, combining contemplative, ambient structures and melodies with a strong yet relaxing rhythmic pulse. Their sound is totally improvised Jafro-Fusion; a synthesis of jazz, Afro beat, Middle Eastern and other influences. Harrison Goldberg, percussion accessories, tenor, alto and soprano saxophones, Chris Doering, guitar and guitar synthesizer, Tim Mueller, guitar, David French, electric upright bass, and Nancy Feehan, cajon and percussion accessories. The Inn is the site of Beniamino Bufano’s towering 93′ tall Peace Totem, an homage to peace, the Sixties and contemporary art. Á la carte selections and a special menu epitomizing farm-to-table coastal cuisine available from Alexander’s Restaurant. Full bar, no cover charge; reservations recommended. (707) 847-3231.

Simon RoweDave Brubeck – The Legend and His Legacy
Talk plus piano performance
Dr. Simon Rowe, Director of The Brubeck Institute

Friday, May 1, 7:00 p.m.
Gualala Arts Center
46501 Old State Highway, Gualala

Slide show and talk on all aspects of Brubeck’s legacy by Australian-born Simon Rowe, an accomplished jazz pianist, who will also perform selected Brubeck compositions. Brubeck’s long-time bassist, Eugene Wright, the only living member of the famous quartet’s “Take Five” years, will speak to the audience via Skype about the historic “Good Will Ambassador Tours” of the ’50s that spanned the globe. Tickets $10 advance at
Brown Paper Tickets
, $5 more day of talk, youth 17 and under admitted free with adult. . Gualala Arts Center (707) 884-1138.

Matt SilvaAnnapolis Winery & Jazz
Matt Silva / Matt Eakle Trio

Saturday, May 2, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Soda Springs & Annapolis Road, Annapolis

Master guitarist Matt Silva’s impeccable fluidity and swing is often astounding. The standards and up-tempo sets will also feature Matt Eackle’s lyrical flute and drummer. Come enjoy the views, wines and great jazz. Bring a picnic to enjoy under the blossoming, antique apple orchard. Fine Annapolis wines available for purchase. Donation for music. (707) 886-5460.

Zida and Ira at HH ResortHeritage House & Jazz
Zida & Ira, plus guest tenor saxophonist Francis Vanek

Saturday, May 2, 5:30 & 8:00 p.m. seatings
Heritage House, 5200 N. Highway 1, Little River

The rich synergistic chemistry between Zida Borcich, vocals, and veteran Ira Rosenberg, keyboard, plus Francis Vanek’s tenor sax artistry will conjure sophisticated gentility. Zida’s honest, pure and true voice hearkens back to the well-known American jazz stylists of the 1950s. Ira’s consummate lyrical and inventive bop and swing accompaniment consistently radiates taste, class and deep musical knowledge. Performing in the Heritage House’s newly renovated domed dining room with a menu of local farm-to-fork cuisine that will indulge your senses and revive your spirit. Full bar. Dining reservations requested. Major credit cards accepted. (707) 202-9000.

Matt EaklePier Chowder House & Jazz
Matt Eakle Trio

Sunday, May 3, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.
Pier Chowder House & Tap Room, Wharf Bldg., Arena Cove, Point Arena

Matt Eakle, flute, Joey Edelman, keyboard and Alex Baum, bass perform truly uplifting jazz. Eakle, who plays flute regularly with the famous David Grisman, projects an animated and spontaneous whirling dervish charisma on stage. Great seafood and more, overlooking historic Arena Cove. No cover charge. Special menu at regular prices. Beer and wine bar, domestic, imported and microbrews. Dining reservations recommended. (707) 882-3400.

Bones RoadhouseBones & the Groove Factor
Friday, May 8, 7:00 p.m.
Bones Roadhouse, 39080 S. Highway 1, Gualala

The legendary Bones Roadhouse again hosts the solid and soulful musicianship of the Groove Factor, featuring Paul Mueller’s on-target tenor sax, Kaleo Larson’s fiery trumpet, Tim Mueller’s creative guitar and Keith Abrams’ dynamite bass guitar laying down their scorching James Brown groove. Drummer (TBA). Enjoy dancing, real Texas wood-fired barbecue, fine wines, microbrews and altered spirits. No cover charge, dining reservations recommended. (707) 884-1188.

Chris Doering & Kaleo Larson215 Main & Jazz Encore Event
Chris Doering Quartet with Kaleo Larson
Saturday, May 9, 7:00 p.m.
215 Main (Highway 1), Point Arena

This pairing of Chris Doering’s inspired guitar and the Kaleo Larson’s hot trumpet will ignite this “happening” venue. Doering, who often channels the masters, and Larson’s trumpet, which when flaming with abandonment can sound like an unleashed warrior, will be joined by the very popular Gabe Yanez, drums and Don Watanabe, bass. Beer / wine bar. $8 cover. Limited seating. Extensive menu available. (707) 882-3215.

Mad CowFireside Room & Jazz
Mad Cow with Harrison Goldberg

Thursday, May 14, 6:00 p.m.
Fireside Room in The Sea Ranch Lodge, 60 Sea Walk Dr., The Sea Ranch

Gualala’s own multi-reed man, Harrison Goldberg, will be featured with the stellar Mad Cow ensemble. These Mendocino County-based musicians are fronted by the fascinating vocals of Charlie Vally with Dorian May, piano, Dorothea May, double bass and Gabe Yanez on drums. The group performs infectious hot jazz and swing, showcasing classic standards of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Duke Ellington. No cover charge, full bar, bar menu. Fireside Room, The Sea Ranch Lodge, (707) 785-2371

Dan and Chris BrubeckBrubeck Brothers Quartet
Saturday, June 13, 7:30 p.m.
Gualala Arts Center Coleman Auditorium
46501 Old State Highway, Gualala

The Brubeck Brothers Quartet feature two members of one of America’s most accomplished musical families, Dan Brubeck, drums, and Chris Brubeck, bass and trombone joined by superb musicians Chuck Lamb, piano and Mike DeMicco, guitar. This world-renowned group never fails to bring audiences to a frenzy with its non-stop dynamic pulse. Ticket prices: $28 advance, $5 more day of the performance, youth 17 and under admitted free with adult. No host bar and “Art Edibles” sushi available for purchase. Brown Paper Tickets: (800) 838-3006, Gualala Arts Center (707) 884-1138.

Eric Mintel QuartetThe Main Event
Eric Mintel Quartet – To Dave with Gratitude
plus honored guest bassist Ron Crotty and 2015 Festival Youth Discovery
Saturday, September 26, 7:30 p.m.
Gualala Arts Center Coleman Auditorium
46501 Old State Highway, Gualala

This Dave Brubeck tribute will spotlight the Eric Mintel Quartet which includes Mintel, piano, Nelson Hill, alto, soprano sax and flute, Jack Hegyi, electric bass and Dave Mohn, drums. Mintel’s piano virtuosity comes as close to duplicating Brubeck’s revered and identifiable style as is possible. Mintel will premier his brand new composition, “To Dave With Gratitude,” written especially for this year’s Festival Main Event concert. Ron Crotty, Brubeck’s bassist on his original early 1950s recordings, will be special honored guest joining the Quartet. The 2015 Festival Youth Discovery, 17 year old drummer Matt Stoloff, will exchange explosive solos on Brubeck’s consistently requested composition “Take Five.” Mintel’s group specializes in Brubeck compositions and has performed at both the Clinton and Obama White House. Ticket prices: $28 advance, $5 more day of the performance, youth 17 and under admitted free with adult. No host bar and “Art Edibles” sushi available for purchase.
Brown Paper Tickets
: (800) 838-3006, Gualala Arts Center (707) 884-1138.


About the Whale & Jazz Festival

2003 Taylor Eigsti Trio

The “Mendonoma” Coast extends from the Fort Ross State Historic Park in northern Sonoma County to Elk in Mendocino County. This breathtaking stretch of northern California is known for its rugged beauty and quiet wilderness.

More than fifty miles of spectacular coastline is punctuated with pocket coves and sandy beaches providing access to residents and visitors alike for recreation, wildlife viewing and scenic vistas. Highway One acts as the lifeline and “Main Street” to the towns and villages along this stretch of coast.

Nature’s splendor, along with the tranquil pace of coastal living has long attracted a wide spectrum of residents including ranchers, loggers, tradespeople, writers, artists and professionals. From this diverse blend of personalities, the cultural scene is filled with hometown picnics, quality art exhibitions, concerts, theatrical performances, fairs and several festivals.

The Whale & Jazz Festival came about in 2003 when Karel Metcalf, (then Executive Director of Gualala Arts) and Jan Harris, (then Executive Director of the Redwood Coast Chamber of Commerce), collaborated to create an event that would bring visitors to the coast during a ‘shoulder’ season.

Metcalf envisioned a Jazz Festival, as the well-established Sonoma County jazz festivals in Guerneville on the Russian River, in Healdsburg and the town of Sonoma were a big draw to their respective areas, so why not try one here?

Harris wished to emulate the two-decade-old Whale Festivals in Mendocino Village and Fort Bragg, especially since the same Gray whales passed Gualala during their annual migration north every spring. Inevitably, they combined the two ideas.and the Whale & Jazz Festival was born.

Following Metcalf’s retirement in 2004, new Gualala Arts Executive Director, David “Sus” Susalla, along with KTDE 100.5 FM radio personality and jazz aficionado, Fred Adler, joined Harris as the Festival Steering Committee.

Fred Adler took on the role of Festival Music Coordinator and media champion with his on-the-air Coastal Interviews that often focus on Festival musicians, his jazz programming and his remarkable knowledge of the genre. As the Festival grew, local businesses and individuals came on board as Festival venues, Chowder Challenge chefs, marketing and technical support and volunteers.

Starting modestly with only a couple of events over a single weekend, this coastal festival has become a major attraction that includes many diverse jazz events from Timber Cove to Point Arena throughout the entire month of April. Events occur at Gualala Arts Center, several local restaurants, Arena Theater, Annapolis Winery and notable sites like Fort Ross Historic State Park and Point Arena Historic Lighthouse.

Local lodging establishments offer discount packages to Whale & Jazz Festival attendees. In addition to world-class jazz music, the gray whale migration that continues during the Festival is celebrated with educational and ecological activities suitable for the entire family.

Gualala Arts is a community arts organization, located in Gualala, California and run by paid staff and numerous volunteers.

The Gualala Arts Center, a magnificent structure on eleven acres of redwood grounds, serves this area with art exhibits, workshops & classes, classical & popular music performances, theater, lectures and five well-established, annual festivals: Whale & Jazz Festival, Fine Arts Fair, Art in the Redwoods, Studio Discovery Tour and Festival of Trees.

Statement of Purpose

Our purpose is to provide quality festival concert venues and audiences in the redwoods of the Northern California Sonoma ~ Mendocino Coast, presenting a diverse palette of the highest caliber of creative forces.

This purpose allows these artists to both perform their original works and to showcase their instrumental and vocal virtuosity to entertain and educate. We also reach out to local students of all ages and their teachers, through unique lecture / music performances.

Located along the Pacific Ocean, whale migration ecological slide show / lectures are a vital element of our yearly schedule, which targets both local residents and visitors alike.
Whale & Jazz Festival


2015 Festival Sponsor

Andrea A. Lunsford


2015 Platinum Sponsor

Rams Head Realty & Rentals
Rams Head Realty & Rentals

Rams Head Realty & Rentals

2015 Gold Sponsors

KZYX Radio

Seacliff on the Bluff
Seacliff on the Bluff

Spindrift Gallery
Spindrift Gallery

2015 Silver Sponsors

Dirty Jack’s Drive In Car Show


Gualala Country Inn
Gualala Country Inn

Hall Kelley Organization
Hall Kelley Organization

Lagunitas Brewing Company
Lagunitas Brewing Company

North Coast Brewing Co.
North Coast Brewing

Susanna Ferrin

2015 Bronze Sponsors

Coast Guard House

Coast Guard House

Erin Riley and John Crowley

Greenwood Ridge Vineyards

Greenwood Ridge Vineyards

Independent Coast Observer
Independent Coast Observer

Lighthouse Peddler
Lighthouse Peddler

Real Estate Magazine - Mendocino
Real Estate Magazine – Mendocino

Sandy Scott

Surf Market

 Surf Market

Surf Motel
Surf Motel

Violet's Fun Fashions

Violet’s Fun Fashions


2015 Friends of the Whale & Jazz Festival

Alexander’s Restaurant at Timber Cove Inn
Black Point Grill at The Sea Ranch Lodge
Bones Roadhouse
Chris Doering
George Marshall
Gualala Arts Tuesday Guys
KTDE 100.5 FM
Lena Bullamore
Office Source
Pier Chowderhouse and Tap Room
Susan Moore
Tanya Radtkey, Black Oak Catering

Spanning the Decades at Gualala Arts Center, April, 2011

Past Whale & Jazz Festivals