There used to be a sign over the bandstand in a honky-tonk bar in New Orleans that said it all:

“Requests:  $1.00 –  “Oh when the saints” $20.00″

Telling, because there is SO much more to the music of New Orleans than “oh when the saints go marching in.”  Like gumbo, the piano music of Louisiana is a rich stew, that has influenced how everyone from the Rolling Stones to Randy Newman cooks.

Friday, October 9, 2009, at 8pm marks the inauguration of SRJC’s “The Roots and Branches of American and World Music” series at the spanking new Carole L. Ellis Auditorium at Santa Rosa Junior College Petaluma Campus 680 Sonoma Mtn. Parkway, here in Petaluma.

The featured artist is Joshua Q. Paxton from New Orleans, LA, plus Petaluma’s own John Allair, with performances by vocalist Sarah Baker, and by Dr. Joel Rudinow – doctor of piano!

Like much of the great music to come out of New Orleans, Joshua Paxton’s playing defies one-word description.  Starting with conservatory-trained technique, he combines the accessibility of blues and soul with the harmonic sophistication of jazz, sprinkled with the intricate rhythmic energy of funk and Afro-Cuban music.  From his study of New Orleans legend James Booker he learned the art of getting the fullest possible sound from the piano by creating distinct, multiple parts — playing with two hands what would seem to require at least three. Or four! He applies these elements to both his original compositions and his surprising, fresh interpretations of standards. 

And John Allair — man what a force to be reckoned with! He’s back from touring with Van Morrison – and as a solo artist his piano performances are always dazzling. Sonoma State University Professor Sarah Baker has a long and storied history as a piano player in the Redwood Empire.  On this occasion Sarah will represent the music of Lil Hardin-Armstrong – piano player, composer, arranger and wife of Louis Armstrong – the most prominent woman in early jazz. SRJC’s Dr. Joel Rudinow, an alumnus of Elvin Bishop’s touring band, will also perform.

Show’s like this are what makes Petaluma a center for world class music and musicianship.  The thing I ask YOU to do is to support the performance of live music by attending shows like this!  It is SO much better than T.V.!


Here’s ticket info — and note- this is not a “for profit” venture, but a labor of love!


This evening is funded by a grant from the Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation – Randolph Newman Cultural Enrichment Endowment.

Tickets are available online @ 

$17 advance  $20 day of show — and at:


SRJC Walkup Ticket Outlets:

Petaluma Campus: Accounting Office, Room 110 John M. Jacobs Hall, 680 Sonoma Mountain Parkway, Petaluma.

Santa Rosa Campus:  Community Education Office, 1990 Armory Drive (at Elliott Avenue), or by phone with Visa or Mastercard at (707) 527-4372.


Off-Campus Ticket Outlets:

The Last Record Store, 1899 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa; Backdoor Disk and Tape, 7665 Old Redwood Hwy, Cotati; Peoples’ Music, 122 North Main Street, Sebastopol; Tall Toad Music, 43 Petaluma Boulevard North, Petaluma.

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