Wine Country: It’s not an event but ‘an affair’ where Art & Jazz are a couple

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The Sonoma Valley Jazz Society works to provide and present world-class Jazz performances each year to the town of Sonoma, CA. Photo by Frank Novak, courtesy of SVJS.



Even before legendary vintner Robert Mondavi changed the cultural typography of the Napa Valley from homespun wine tasting at picnic tables to a major venue extravaganza, art and music were close by as wine poured and food was served.

 
Yet there’s something unique, perhaps compelling about Art & Jazz in Wine Country in particular. 
Sonoma Valley Jazz Society, president Janice King explained. “I think Jazz coupled with Art are a perfect fit,” she said. 
Carlos Reyes is to perform March 6. Photo courtesy of SVJS and Carlos Reyes.
Looking forward to resuming the SVJS schedule of events since the cancellations and postponements due to COVID-19, she continued. “They are both expressions of the soul and can really feed off of each other.” (In a good way, of course!) 
 
Mondavi was probably onto something long before it reach anyone else’s radar, Jazz unlike other forms of music lends itself to Art unexpectedly. 
 
“One really unique aspect of jazz is that it’s really multicultural,” Alan Durst said. Durst is a performer and educator on the faculty of Monterey Peninsula College, who has made appearances throughout North and Central America, Asia, and Europe.
 
 He noted some time ago to The Collegian of Fresno. “We play music where pretty much every different ethnicity is represented, Durst said, whereas European classical music is only set in that region of the world.”
 
That said, King knows that another element is put into the mix that makes Jazz & Art compelling. It’s the Wine Country itself. Napa and Sonoma Valleys have an inviting quality, be it’s Mediterranean-like climate or it’s sheer natural beauty, Art and Jazz merge together like a couple in love; ‘they need to get a room’ as the saying goes. Yet serendipitously they make a room where people feel and experience their love affair.

Rolando Morales performing at the Plaza in the town of Sonoma at the annual summer Jazz series 2014 sponsored by SVJS. Photo by Frank Novak.
Jazz and art noted King, “It is a good way to support local artists both fine art and musicians. 
Sonoma’s historic Early California rustic charm enhances the experience even more. 
Since 1988, SVJS has been working to bring together the community by providing an opportunity to see, hear and meet top quality Jazz artists. “We also sponsor Jazz education for young aspiring musicians in our area,” said King.
 
Local Sonoma artist Sig Rundstrom is a fan of SVJS. I love jazz and my wife Charlene & I used to go to their venue at the bistro on the plaza,” he said. The COVID-19 pandemic put a halt to the performances at the bistro as well as many cultural gatherings over the past two years. 
 
Yet ironically, because of COVID-19, artists like Sig have had the most prolific time in doing art. Especially during the initial shut down back in 2020. Along with being recently admitted to The Arts Guild of Somoma, Sig is having some of his landscape paintings shown at Vintage House. 
 
A vibrant senior center, Vintage House is more than simply a gathering spot, it’s also a venue. SVJS has hosted events there. “I really applaud places like Vintage House, said King. Vintage House supports the arts; their members receive a great benefit as music and the arts have a direct effect on your physical well-being.”

Jazz has both an exciting and relaxing quality to it. Seen here are fans of Jazz at one of the SVJS summer evening series at the Plaza in Sonoma. Photo by Cynthia Mohr

 Eager to welcome musician Carlos Reyes in concert on March 6, King said. “Jazz, art, and wine all go together exceedingly well. It’s like they are from the same place – you could also add great food.”

When Art & Jazz merge, wine flows.  “The three: jazz, art and wine are simpatico, she said as they have shared attributes that bring joy and happiness, not to mention the genius it takes to create.”

SVJS works hard as a nonprofit to make jazz events happen. “There is a huge need for everyone to take a break today from their worries and get away, said King  – at least mentally to a place of beauty.  Jazz and Art can provide this needed respite and it can really save your soul!”

To purchase tickets to see Carlos Reyes in concert and to learn more about the Sonoma Valley Jazz Society, visit the SVJS website.