San Jose Jazz Summer Fest Turns 25
Posted 7/28/2014

San Jose Jazz Summer Fest, recognized nationally as one of the largest Latin-jazz festivals in the country, will celebrate its 25th anniversary Aug. 8–10.

The Silicon Valley’s premier music event, San Jose Jazz (SJZ) Summer Fest has evolved from a simple one-stage affair to this year’s massive event, featuring a wide array of talent on 12 different stages in and around Plaza de César Chavez in downtown San Jose, Calif.

Among the artists scheduled to appear at the fest are Monty Alexander, Donald Harrison, Snarky Puppy, Catherine Russell, Kris Bowers, Marc Cary Focus Trio, Poncho Sanchez Band, The Soul Rebels, Bootsy Collins, Ledisi, Michael Bellar & the AS-IS Ensemble, Denise Perrier Trio with Houston Person, and CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band.

SJZ has also announced a partnership with San Jose-founded (now L.A.-based) label Stones Throw Records to present the “Jazz Beyond Stage” showcase on Aug. 9, featuring Knxwledge, Karriem Riggins and J Rocc.

Summer Fest will host film screenings, including Stones Throw’s documentary, Our Vinyl Weighs a Ton, on Aug. 9 at Camera 12 Cinemas; and the Memphis, Tenn.-focused music film Take Me to the River, featuring Terrence Howard, Snoop Dogg and Mavis Staples.

For jazz fans who cannot make the trip to San Jose but still want a piece of the action, KCSM-FM, the Bay Area’s only 24-hour jazz station, is partnering with SJZ to live-stream the event from the San Jose Rep Stage on Aug. 9 and 10.

Live sets will be broadcast from the theater’s soundboard, along with interviews and “mini-concerts” with select artists between set-breaks in the “KCSM Music Lounge.”

This year’s SJZ Summer Fest will feature Fest+ performances, bringing select main-stage acts to the Theater on San Pedro Square and Blackbird Tavern (Saturday and Sunday evenings). Acts include Jerry González and the Fort Apache Band (Aug. 9 at the Theater on San Pedro Square), Pedrito Martinez Group featuring pianist Ariacne Trujillo (Aug. 10 at Blackbird Tavern), Wayne Wallace’s “Latin Jazz Jam” (Saturday, Aug. 9; location to be announced) and others. (Fest+ shows are ticketed separately from the main festival.)

For the second year in a row, SJZ will feature the Big Easy Stage, which, along with the Blues Stage, is part of the “heritage area” in downtown San Jose, where the festival offers special food and drink options.

“This 25th iteration of Summer Fest continues to build on the exciting momentum San Jose Jazz has experienced in recent years,” said Executive Director Brendan Rawson. “We have some particularly exciting Latin acts, such as 2014 Grammy winners Pacific Mambo Orchestra, spread throughout the festival including on our Kaiser Permanente Main Stage. We are thrilled to bring back our Big Easy Stage and second line parade, which were great first-time hits last year. This year we are also putting a special spotlight on the future of jazz with our Next Gen Youth Stage in a more prominent location near Plaza de César Chavez. We are also delighted to once-again bring back our Silicon Valley Stage, which for three years now has been celebrating some of the best Bay Area jazz artists working in the region.”

For the first time in the festival’s history, the industry-news and radio-airplay publication JazzWeek will host its JazzWeek summit during Summer Fest. Industry professionals from all over the country will gather on Aug. 7–8 at The Fairmont San Jose hotel to discuss topics ranging from radio promotion to the art of the interview.

The festival has posted a lineup announcement video on YouTube. More information about the festival is posted at

Matt McCall

Monty Alexander will bring his Harlem-Kingston Express to the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest on Aug. 10. (Photo:


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