What's better than a jazz ensemble led by a master musician? A jazz ensemble made up entirely of master musicians. Such is the case with the veteran all-star septet the Cookers, who perform this week at the 17th annual Healdsburg Jazz Festival.
Each distinctively talented member of the Cookers is a celebrated figure in his own right, with decades of experience. Saxophonist Billy Harper, bassist Cecil McBee, pianist George Cables, trumpeter Eddie Henderson and drummer Billy Hart have shared stages with legends like Herbie Hancock and Lee Morgan, played in groups since the mid-1960s and influenced generations of performers.
The Cookers are rounded out by relative youngsters David Weiss on trumpet and Donald Harrison on saxophone, innovators in nouveau swing and modern jazz. Together with the old-timers, they take their cues from the world of hard bop with improvisational brilliance and Coltrane-esque avant garde compositions.
The Cookers will be putting the fire to the pan and pushing the boundaries when they appear in Healdsburg, the headlining act of a weekend of varied acts that highlight everything from Latin rhythms to New Orleans–tinged brass. The Healdsburg Jazz Festival is happening now and runs through Sunday, June 7. The Cookers play Saturday, June 6, at the Raven Theater, 115 North St., Healdsburg. 7:30pm. $45–$65. 707.433.6335.