Saturday, December 6, 2014, 2:30 to 5:30
The Mendocino Music Festival invites you to the incomparable Little River home of John and Kathy Danhakl for an afternoon of fine music and refreshment, with music from Festival Big Band all-stars Kathleen Grace, Julian Pollack, Allan Pollack, and Ralph Humphrey; wines from Handley Cellars; sparkling wines from Signal Ridge; and edible entertainment from Assaggiare Mendocino. Admission is $125 per person.
Enjoy Libations, Sensations, Delectables, Treats, and your Festival Community—all in a matchless setting!
Kathleen Grace, Vocalist
Kathleen Grace is celebrated nationally as a skilled jazz vocalist, lyricist, composer and educator. A lover of American popular song, she is among the vanguard of an exciting movement of young jazz singers who are, in her words, stepping “outside the box of the American Songbook into the world of original music.” A finalist in the 2004 Montreux International Jazz Vocal Competition, she also was awarded a spot in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Residency for young composers at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Grace’s first CD, Sunrise, received critical acclaim as one of the top debuts of the year and earned a Blue Chip Award from IAJE jazz critic Herb Wong. Mirror, released on the Monsoon label, established her reputation as a composer and lyricist. Her musical quintet, The Kathleen Grace Band, blurs the boundaries between musical genres using jazz language to explore the spaces between the worlds of folk, rock and jazz. She has just finished recording her latest CD, No Place to Fall, scheduled for released this fall. In addition to being an inspired musician, composer, and performer, Grace is a passionate jazz educator who has served as a clinician for jazz ensembles, solo jazz programs and creativity workshops around the country. She teaches vocal jazz at the USC Thornton School of Music and serves as director of the USC CreSCendo Vocal Jazz Ensemble.
Allan Pollack, Saxophone
Maestro Allan Pollack has guided the Mendocino Music Festival as Artistic Director and Conductor since the first note was played in 1987. Festival fans also know Dr. Pollack as a talented musician, soloing on the saxophone on nights he leads the fabulous Festival Big Band. His compositional skills come into play during the Festival’s Big Band Night, for which he often crafts arrangements for much-loved jazz classics. With a Ph.D. in composition from UC Berkeley, Dr. Pollack has composed a variety of pieces especially for the Festival Orchestra and musicians: Albion Song: Jazz Concerto for Saxophone; The Spiral Dance for chorus and orchestra; Two Movements in Time for orchestra; From the Song of Songs for soprano and orchestra; A Summer Evening at the Boonville Fair for orchestra; a Vibraphone Concerto; and a String Quartet. Over the years, memorable performances have taken shape under his baton including Verdi’s Requiem, Brahms’ Requiem, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde, and Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring.
Julian Pollack, Piano
Pollack began studying classical piano at age 5 with his mother, Susan Waterfall. In high school he participated in the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts’ Young Arts Program and was awarded the Level One Gold Prize in the jazz discipline. In 2006 he moved to New York to study jazz piano and composition at New York University. In addition to attending school he was featured on Marian McPartland’s “Piano Jazz” NPR series, opened at the Blue Note for Chick Corea and Gary Burton, performed as a sideman with Brian Lynch at the Village Vanguard, led his own jazz trio and worked with singer Grace Weber. In 2011 Pollack won an ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award for his composition “Blackberry,” was featured in the film In Good Time, a documentary about the life of Marian McPartland, and received a commission from The French Will Never Forget for a September 11th ten-year commemoration. He also received a commission from the Camellia Symphony Orchestra in Sacramento to write a concerto for piano and orchestra which premiered in March 2012 and was performed again during the 2012 Mendocino Music Festival. His CD with the Julian Pollack Trio, Waves of Albion, will be released this October. julianpollackmusic.com
Ralph Humphrey, Drums
A native of the San Francisco Bay area, Ralph Humphrey is one of Los Angeles’ most in-demand drummers. From early experiences playing the intricate rhythms and challenging meters of the Don Ellis Big Band or with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, his recording and touring career spans nearly 40 years. In addition to his appearances at the Mendocino Music Festival with the Tierney Sutton Band, he has performed with jazz notables Wayne Shorter, Al Jarreau, Toshiko Akiyoshi and Lou Tabakin, Manhattan Transfer, Natalie Cole, Free Flight, Pete Christlieb, Joe Farrell, Alphonso Johnson, Milcho Leviev, Alan Pasqua and an assortment of mainstream artists including Seals and Crofts, Barbara Streisand, Jose Feliciano, Bette Midler, Captain and Tenille, Richard Carpenter, and Rita Coolidge. His most recent projects include Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, Charmed, Piglet’s Big Movie, Star Trek Enterprise, The Simpsons, ABC 50th Anniversary Special, Far From Heaven, Coca-Cola, and Ping golf clubs. Humphrey is also a long-time educator and is currently co-head of the drum department at the LA Music Academy.
Food by Assaggiare Mendocino
Assaggiare Mendocino proprietor Julia Conway: “…it’s about connecting to the natural world that nourishes us all. It’s about farmers and ranchers, and the land and the water. It’s about the idea of sharing sustenance with those you care about in the context of a meal. It’s about connecting with the rich cultural history that has been passed on to us through the foods we eat.” She believes that eating is more than supplying our bodies with fuel, though not discounting the value of healthy foods. Instead, eating feeds our souls as well as our bodies. Food provides a context for our history, our lives and our relationships.”
Wines by Handley Cellars
Handley Cellars is a small family-owned Mendocino County winery producing around 12,000 cases a year. “At Handley Cellars, we firmly believe in a conscious and conscientious approach to farming and winemaking. We purchase grapes from small, local, family growers, and whenever possible, we select fruit that is farmed organically. Our winemaking philosophy is to let the distinctive qualities of each vineyard shine through. Working with carefully tended, exceptional sites, we strive to create wines which faithfully reflect the unique characteristics of the vineyards and viticultural region, focusing on our appellation of Anderson Valley. From start to finish, we are mindful of our impact on our rural valley, and the implications of our farming and wine making choices for future generations.”
Sparkling Wines by Signal Ridge
The Signal Ridge Vineyard is the highest altitude vineyard in all of Mendocino, Sonoma and Napa counties. This challenging ridgetop terroir produces unique, high end, singular fruit. The inaugural release of SRV Brut Sparkling Wine, made in the méthode traditionnelle, is a pale lemon color, its bubbles crowning the rim of each glass like a bracelet of diamonds. It offers aromas of autumn harvest, apples and bread dough rising on the hearth. Hints of apple pie and marzipan tarry alongside the crisp minerality that lingers on the palate. Delightful to sip on its own or paired with a sunset.