The Cookers

While living in the Bay Area, I attended the annual two-week Healdsburg Jazz Festival, located in wine country approximately 70 miles north of San Francisco. In June 2007, its closing Sunday afternoon outdoor concert featured the George Cables Trio with Roy Hargrove. The previous Friday evening’s concert featured the Cookers (George Cables, Cecil McBee, Billy Hart, Billy Harper, Eddie Henderson, Craig Handy and David Weiss). When I arrived, I recognized a very good jazz buddy from Oakland and joined her on the lawn. As expected, it was an outstanding concert! Afterward, Jessica Felix, the founder and then-director of the festival, and very good friend of the person I was sitting with, invited us to an exclusive after-party dinner at someone’s home nearby. Wow! Many of the performers showed up with their instruments, and I had a chance to sit next to George Cables and his partner Helen (“Helen’s Song”). Except for Cecil McBee (to whom I mentioned his playing on Lonnie Liston Smith’s Expansions) and his fellow Cookers’ cohorts, I forget who else showed up. Of course, I was awestruck. Had it not been for me sitting next to my friend during the concert, I would have never had this wonderful experience!

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