Sonoma Mendocino Coast Whale & Jazz Festival

Gualala Arts presents

15th Anniversary Sonoma Mendocino Coast Whale & Jazz Festival

April-May, 2018

Multiple venues.

For ticket prices, see each event listing.

Download a 2018 Whale and Jazz pocket guide!


Presented 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.

Entertainment, 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 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, Angel Jan Harris

Whale and Jazz Events Along the Coast during April-May

Please check with individual venues regarding cover charges and other details.

Download a 2018 Whale & Jazz pocket guide!

Arena Theater Jazz Film, Monday, April 2, 7 pm. Featuring the film Keep On, Keepin’ On (2014).  Acclaimed documentary that follows jazz legend trumpeter Clark Terry over four years to follow the mentorship between Terry and 23-year-old blind piano prodigy Justin Kauflin as the young man prepares to compete in an elite, international competition.

St. Orres & Jazz, Friday, April 6, 6 pm & 8 pm seatings. Featuring Susan Sutton, keyboard and Pierre Archain, upright bass. Contact: 707-884-3335

  Gualala Arts Center

Main Event: “Historic Vibes Summit”

Saturday, April 7, 7 pm. Featuring Roger Glenn, vibes & reeds; Yancie Taylor, vibes; Tommy Kesecker, vibes; Greg Hester, piano; Pierre Archain, bass; Leon Joyce, drums. Plus, 2018 Festival Youth Discovery, Yami Schwartz of Israel on guitar. Contact: 707-884-1138

Fireside Room & Jazz, Thursday, April 12, 6-9 pm. Featuring Jazzin’ 3 with Danny Barca, guitar and vocal; Pete Gealy, upright bass; Harrison Goldberg, reeds. Contact: 707-785-2371

  Gualala Arts Center

Chowder and Jazz 2018 Chowder Challenge

Saturday, April 14, 11:30 am-2:30 pm, Chowder Tasting and Barneby’s Hot Four.  Contact: 707-884-1138


215 Main Poetry & Jazz, Thursday, April 19, 7:30 pm.  Featuring a Special Guest Poet and open mic. Contact: 707-882-3215

215 Main & Jazz, Saturday, April 21, 7 pm. Featuring the Kawela Quintet,  Chris Doering, guitar; Hal Forman, trumpet; Michael Gold, sax; Don Watanabe, bass; Gabe Yanez, drums.  Contact: 707-884-3215

Gualala Arts Center

Whale Talk with Jodi C. Smith

Thursday, April 26, 7 pm. Contact: 707-884-1138

Gualala Arts Center

Four Shillings Short

Friday, April 27, 7 pm. Featuring  Christy Martin and Aodh Og O’Tuama with instruments and music from around the world. Contact: 707-884-1138

Arena Theater & Swing, Saturday, May 12, 8 pm. Featuring Stompy Jones, Vintage Rhythm & Blues, free swing dance lessons, $20 entry. Purchase tickets at  (call: 1-800-838-3006). Contact Point Arena Theater at 707-882-3272.

Russian House & Jazz, Sunday, May 13 (Mother’s Day), 6-9 pm. Featuring Duo X’plore with Harrison Goldberg, reeds; Tim Mueller, guitar. Russian Buffet. Contact: 707-865-9456

Annapolis Winery & Jazz, Saturday, May 19, 1-4 pm.

BAKU “Jambient Soundscapes” with Harrison Goldberg, saxophones & percussion; Tim Mueller, 6-string guitar and guitar synthesizer; Chris Doering,  7-string guitar and guitar synthesizer; David French, upright bass & percussion; Nancy Feehan, cajon & percussion.  Light picnic fare and wines available during concert.  Contact:  707-886-5460

MendoViné Wine Lounge & Jazz, Friday, May 25, 7-9 pm. Ned Ripple and Rick Folkerson Stellar European Gypsy Guitar Duo plus novelty vocals and more!  “Ned Ripple’s On the Air”. No cover charge.  Contact: 707-896-2650

Lighthouse & Boogie Woogie, Saturday, May 26, 1-4 pm. Featuring  Queen of Boogie Woogie piano Wendy DeWitt and drummer Kirk Harwood. Contact:  707-882-2809


  • Three Bay Area virtuoso jazz vibists on one stage!
  • Featuring the Festival Youth Discovery, 16-year-old Yami Schwartz of Israel
  • A concert in loving memory of Peter Norville, nephew of legendary vibist, Red Norvo

The Main Event: “Historic Vibes Summit”, the 2018 Whale and Jazz Festival Gualala Arts Main Event,  features jazz vibists Roger Glenn, Tommy Kessecker, and Yancie Taylor! Joining them are drummer Leon Joyce, pianist Greg Hester and bassist Pierre Archain, of France.  Also playing with these exceptional artists, introducing the 2018 Festival Youth Discovery, Yami Schwartz, 16, of Israel and Palo Alto.

Yami Schwartz, 2018 Festival Youth Discovery.

15th Annual Whale and Jazz Chowder Challenge

          Sonoma Mendocino Coast Whale and Jazz Festival  presents

Jazz Concert & Chowder tasting, featuring Barnebey’s Hot Four!

Saturday, April 14, 2018, 11:30 am to 2:30 pm

Coleman Auditorium

$25 in advance, plus $5 day of, (for 15 tasting tickets & commemorative glass). Free admission for music only.

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