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San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2024

by Soraya Alcalá
San Jose Jazz Summer Fest Is Among The Lexicon Of Trend-Setting Northern California Festivals

San Jose, Calif.

“One of the world’s great urban jazz festivals” (DownBeat Magazine), San Jose Jazz Summer Fest, returns to Plaza de César Chávez from Friday, August 9 – Sunday, August 11, 2024, turning the heart of downtown San Jose into an immersive cultural mecca. With nine indoor and outdoor venues featuring more than 80 artists representing the best in jazz, R&B, Latin jazz, salsa, soul, funk, bossa nova, blues, and a myriad of other idioms, SJZ Summer Fest 2024 also proudly presents the most stylistically diverse Latin music event on the West Coast. San Jose Jazz’s eclectic programming reflects the city’s longtime role as the epicenter of Latin culture in Northern California, while highlighting the deep rhythmic currents connecting California to the Caribbean and Central and South America.

SJZ Summer Fest 2024 reaches new heights by presenting piano/keyboard legend Herbie Hancock (Main Stage Headliner — Sat. Aug. 10), whose trailblazing role introducing synthesizers and new audio technologies to jazz and funk make him a perfect fit for Silicon Valley. Hancock marks the highest profile artist yet to grace the Main Stage at SJZ Summer Fest over the festival’s 34-year history. One of the most influential musicians in jazz history, the 14-time GRAMMY Award-winner Hancock has been in the creative vanguard throughout his six-decade career, from his 1960s tenure in the Miles Davis Quintet and his epochal jazz/funk band Headhunters through his groundbreaking 1983 jazz/hip-hop hit “Rockit.” SF Bay Area music fans will be ecstatic with his high-energy live performance transcending the limits of jazz and funk.

The soul/funk group Maze Honoring Frankie Beverly is another exhilarating Main Stage headliner with hit singles such as “Joy and Pain” and “Before I Let Go” propelling them to legacy status as contemporaries to greats such as Marvin Gaye. Their acclaim continues to this day with superstar Beyoncé covering “Before I Let Go” as a bonus track on her fifth live album, Homecoming: The Live Album. A special tribute to Frankie Beverly takes place at Summer Fest as he passes the vocal-torch to SF Bay Area favorite Tony Lindsay who will officially be the new lead singer of Maze Honoring Frankie Beverly.

Main Stage headliners also include gospel/jazz organ prodigy Cory Henry, funk stalwarts The Family Stone, two hot New Orleans acts: the trumpet sensation Shamar Allen and next generation second line group New Breed Brass Band, and vocal powerhouse from 20 Feet From Stardom fame Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton. Additional acts at SJZ Summer Fest 2024 on its array of nine stages, also includes Jahari Stampley Trio, Eddie 9V, Nico Segal, Sean Mason Quartet, Dominique Fils-Aimé, Jane Monheit, Natalie Cressman & Ian Faquini, NIKARA Presents Black Wall Street, Jorge Luis Pacheco Trio, Roberta Gambarini Quartet, Lucía Gutiérrez Rebolloso, Ken Okada Group Featuring YOYOKA, Andrey Chmut with the Dave Burns Quintet, Groover Quartet with Mike LeDonne, Se:um, Alexis & La Original, Agua Pura, The JuJu Exchange, Janet Evra: Meet Me In Paris, The Dynamic Miss Faye Carol & Charles Haynes, Cabanijazz Project, Pascal Bokar, Huney Knuckles, Alejandro Brittes Trio, Dolphin Hyperspace, Karl Perazzo & Mike Spiro Y Su Conjunto Karabali, Baycoin Beats, Michael Davis Hip Bone Big Band, San Jose Jazz High School All Stars, and Many More to be Announced!

Internationally-renowned as the cradle of digital culture, San Jose is the nation’s 12th largest city and its role as an arts catalyst is evolving into national notoriety, led by the efforts of San Jose Jazz. San Jose is leading an impressive recovery from the pandemic, earning a reputation as the rare SF Bay Area city with empowering civic leadership successfully tackling many of today’s biggest challenges while prioritizing the arts. SJZ Summer Fest exemplifies how San Jose knows the way to a sustainable future infused with public art for the people.

“San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2024 is gearing up to be an incredible time for SF Bay Area music fans,” says San Jose Jazz’s Executive Director Brendan Rawson. “While people are still getting back on their feet after several years of setbacks with rising inflation and a myriad of other challenges, we’ve closely looked at how we can provide an unrivaled experience at a price point that best meets our community. This year, we have an additional price tier that helps support attendees who purchase tickets early, and our 3-Day ticket packages are amongst the best value for any festival out there. We’re greatly looking forward to Summer Fest exhibiting the breadth of the jazz tradition as it moves into the future, and providing an inclusive atmosphere where all people are celebrated.”

Artistic Director Bruce Labadie, one of the event’s founders, programs the artists for SJZ Summer Fest with the help of locally based co-curators.

Ensuring SJZ Summer Fest’s accessibility to the widest audience possible, San Jose Jazz has lowered 3-Day Pass prices on most access levels this year. The region’s best entertainment value accompanies a major upgrade of Plaza de César Chávez, which unveils a complete refresh of the park this month including a re-sodding of the green spaces (with special events in mind), planting colorful mixes of flowers, and the addition of Adirondack chairs, corn hole, ping pong tables, and large orange California poppy-style umbrellas. The park is the center of fun at SJZ Summer Fest 2024 with live concerts throughout Plaza de César Chavez alongside artisanal vendors offering delicious foods and beverages, and creative crafts.

This year, Plaza de César Chavez is also home to the popular Latin Tropical Stage, which is now located on the ticketed festival grounds on Park Avenue, adjacent to the Main Stage — a General Admission ticket offers access to the Latin Tropical Stage. An electrifying magnet for dancers with incredible headliners such as the famed Spanish Harlem Orchestra, the Latin Tropical Stage features a large outdoor stage with copious room for salsa dancers to show off their moves just a few steps away from the headliners. The booking of the Latin Tropical Stage is once again in the hands of curator and radio journalist Betto Arcos — who can be heard on NPR, BBC Radio 3, KCRW’s Global Beat Mexico and through his book, Music Stories from the Cosmic Barrio (Fogra Editorial). Three-time GRAMMY Award-winning salsa and Latin jazz band Spanish Harlem Orchestra led by Oscar Hernández headlines on Saturday night with daytime/evening sets by Karl Perazzo & Mike Spiro Y Su Conjunto Karabali, Cabanijazz Project, and Agua Pura (Aug. 10). Sunday features Alexis & La Original, as well as acts to be announced soon. At the same location on Friday night (Aug. 9), SJZ Summer Fest 2024 kicks off with one-night of programming on the Park Avenue Stage with Bay Area funk band Huney Knuckles featuring three San Jose Jazz “Jazz Aid Fund” artists Kevin Wong, Brian Sheu, and Tony Peebles.

Activating the city scene, SJZ Summer Fest’s profusion of music transforms a major metropolitan downtown into a huge street party closer to NOLA Jazz Fest and Detroit Jazz Festival than to anything else on tap in the SF Bay Area. It’s a highlight of the Bay Area’s summer season, and a not-to-be-missed celebration.

Experience all that SJZ Summer Fest 2024 has to offer with extraordinary deals ranging from lower prices for 3-Day ticket packages as well as exclusive hotel deals close to the festival grounds. Great rates will soon be announced at San Jose Marriott, Signia by Hilton San Jose, AC Hotel by Marriott, DoubleTree by Hilton, Four Points by Sheraton, Hilton, Holiday Inn, Hotel Clariana, Hotel De Anza, Hyatt Place, and Westin.

Highlights of Confirmed Artists @ San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2024

Herbie Hancock

Now in the seventh decade of his professional life, Herbie Hancock is a true icon of modern music. Still at the forefront of world culture, technology, business and music, he has been an integral part of every popular music movement since the 1960s. Throughout his explorations, Hancock has transcended limitations and genres while maintaining his unmistakable voice. With an illustrious career that has earned him 14 Grammy Awards, including the 2008 Album of the Year for River: The Joni Letters — only the second time that a jazz album has won the coveted award — he continues to amaze audiences across the globe.

Hancock first came into prominence as a member of the Miles Davis Quintet during the 1960s and through his early solo recordings for Blue Note Records. His work in the ’70s — including influential albums such as Headhunters and Mwandishi — combined electric jazz with funk and rock in an innovative style that continues to influence contemporary music. The hit single “Rockit” and album Future Shock in the ’80s marked Hancock’s foray into electronic dance sounds. Today, Hancock serves as Creative Chair for Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association and as Institute Chairman of the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz. In 2011, Hancock was named a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, and in December 2013, he received a Kennedy Center Honor. He is currently in the studio at work on a new album.

Cory Henry

Cory Henry is a pianist, organist, composer and producer who draws from myriad influences, including jazz, gospel, soul, hip-hop and funk. A former member of the worldwide jazz/funk phenomenon Snarky Puppy, he has released eight albums as a leader in the past decade. In 2021, Henry’s album Something to Say was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Progressive R&B Album. Prior to that, he received three Grammys for his work with Snarky Puppy. It was also during his tenure with that band that Henry performed a Hammond B-3 organ solo on the tune “Lingus (We Like it Here)),” during a live performance in the Netherlands, that has racked up more than 30 million YouTube views.

Henry’s latest release, Operation Funk, has garnered attention from fans all over the world. He has performed sold-out shows in Israel, Spain, Amsterdam, Australia and throughout the United States. He performs at Summer Fest with the Funk Apostles, a band consisting of musicians he met while touring. “There’s a great sense of camaraderie from the giant personalities onstage,” said Jazzwise magazine and described the group’s music as a “very big, shiny and compelling sound.” Adds regular guitarist Sharay Reed, “We keep the asses shakin’, the heads noddin’, and the hearts full.” Henry sums it up a different way “All through my life, I’ve always been trying to do my thing. I’ve always made music the way I want to.”

Spanish Harlem Orchestra

Now into their third decade, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, the three-time GRAMMY Award-winning salsa and Latin jazz band, sets the gold standard for excellence in authentic, danceable, New York-style, hardcore salsa. With an unwavering respect for the music’s storied history, the ensemble’s 13 world-class musicians and vocalists come together to create an unparalleled musical experience.

With eight albums and five GRAMMY Award nominations, this powerhouse collective continually pushes itself into new musical areas. Their 2018 release, Anniversary, won the Grammy for Best Tropical Album. On their latest release, 2022’s Imágenes Latinas, SHO — as their fans often call them — stays true to their purpose with a fresh slate of new songs and arrangements dedicated to the memory of the iconic New York salsa and Latin jazz group, Conjunto Libre, and its individual members.

Formed by bandleader Oscar Hernández and producer Aaron Levinson, SHO released their debut album, Un Gran Dia en el Barrio, in 2002. It scored a Grammy nomination for Best Salsa Album and a Latin Billboard Award for Salsa Album of the Year. Since then, SHO has continued to explore, their music characterized by the raw, organic and vintage sound defined by the genre. Grounded in the past, while focused on the future, SHO strives to keep the music relevant, creating a unique and fresh approach.

The Family Stone

Performing timeless hits like “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” “Dance to the Music,” “I Want to Take You Higher” and more, The Family Stone carries on the funky legacy of Sly and the Family Stone and takes their relentlessly danceable groove into the future. Original keyboardist Jerry Martini and Phunne Stone (daughter of Sly Stone and co-founder Cynthia Robinson), joined by Swang Stewart on vocals, Nate Wingfield on guitar, Jimi McKinney on keys, Frank Klepacki on drums and Blaise Sison on bass, reimagine the music of the first interracial, inter-gender, major mainstream band in rock history.

The Family Stone keeps alive the songs that provided a soundtrack to the ’60s and ’70s: legendary anthems like “Everyday People,” “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin),” “Family Affair,” “Sing a Simple Song” and many other instantly recognizable tunes from their vast discography. Their catalog also includes the optimistic, rousing “Stand,” which has been preserved in the Library of Congress and inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Keeping the legacy to its original sound and raw groove intact, The Family Stone will deliver an unforgettable musical experience. This is the music that got the half-million-strong crowd at Woodstock on their feet and wowed millions more from Madison Square Garden to Tokyo. Join The Family Stone as they continue to spread the roots of funk that sparked a funk revolution.

Ms. Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton

Ms. Lisa Fischer built her stellar reputation as a background singer with such giants as the Rolling Stones, Sting, Tina Turner and Luther Vandross. Now, accompanied by the band Grand Baton, Ms. Fischer — featured in the Oscar-winning 2013 documentary Twenty Feet from Stardom — is stepping out front. Originally from Brooklyn, Ms. Fischer’s range is legendary, but her greatest gift is the ability to connect, to reach the hearts of her listeners. She emerged from New York’s fervent studio scene in the early 1980s, and joined the Stones for their 1989 Steel Wheels tour, continuing to grace their stage for the next 26 years. Along with her studio and live work with other artists, she released her debut solo album, So Intense, in 1991, earning the Best Female R&B Vocal Performance Grammy for the single “How Can I Ease The Pain.”

Now, with her co-conspirators JC Maillard and Grand Baton, Ms. Fischer reinvents classic songs in an organic fusion of Caribbean psychedelic soul and jazzy progressive rock. The group’s music has ignited Ms. Fischer’s flexibility and freedom of expression, awakening her lifelong desire to make music that heals but still rocks the house. Said the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “Every performance is so enriching, so exciting, so transcendent that you want more.”

New Breed Brass Band

New Orleans is a roiling creative cauldron, and the New Breed Brass Band is one of the latest combos to forge a 21st century spin on the city’s essential polyphonic tradition. Though steeped in second-line culture, the NBBB delivers a dance-inducing sound in conversation with Caribbean music, No Limit Records hip-hop, and modern R&B in the vein of Bruno Mars and Anderson Paak. NBB has toured/opened for The Fray, Blackalicious, Dr. John, and eventually Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue.

The NBBB’s roots are undeniable. The band is led by drummer Jenard Andrews, son of Tremé trumpet legend James Andrews and nephew of New Orleans scene lynchpin Trombone Shorty. Jenard credits his uncle with pushing the band to develop its own style after hearing them mimicking the seminal Rebirth Brass Band in rehearsal. Under Trombone Shorty’s tutelage a new sound was born, steeped in the rhythmic versatility of the local jazz and funk scenes and New Orleans hip-hop from Cash Money to bounce, fused with second-line culture.

Audiences took notice. The NBBB has toured North America and Europe and opened for The Fray, Blackalicious, Dr. John, and eventually Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. With the band debut album, 2023’s Made In New Orleans, New Breed is hewing a new path for 21st century second lines, and everyone’s invited to join the procession. It’s music for and by the Crescent City’s next generation, joyful, vital and unstoppable.

Shamarr Allen

It takes a lot to stand out as a trumpeter in New Orleans, and Shamarr Allen has earned a spot on the top tier with a rollicking blend of jazz, hip-hop, funk and even country music. The full package, he delivers 1000-watt performances as the frontman in his band Shamarr Allen & The Underdawgs. A soulful vocalist, composer, writer, and producer who hails from the Lower 9th Ward, Allen has been spreading Crescent City grooves around world both as a solo act and via collaborations with renowned artists such as Willie Nelson, Patti LaBelle, Lenny Kravitz, and homies Galactic and Harrick Connick Jr, to name a few. After several years in Atlanta following Hurricane Katrina he moved back to New Orleans, settling in the Upper Ninth Ward in Musicians’ Village, a community conceived by Connick Jr. and Branford Marsalis and built by New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity.

Allen released his third album last year, True Orleans 2, a bold statement that reflects his broad spectrum approach to the New Orleans tradition. He wrote, recorded, produced and mastered the songs himself in a studio he built during the pandemic. Capturing the sounds in his ear immediately and with complete control, he took a major step in defining the vibe of his ever-evolving city.

Jahari Stampley

Jahari Stampley was on top of the world in 2023 and the young piano phenomenon is just getting started. A standout player since high school, the Chicago native won first place in the 2023 Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz International Piano Competition, inspiring Hancock himself to hail Stampley as a bold new voice. A jazz prophet honored at home, he was also dubbed 2023 Chicagoan of the Year in Jazz and given the 2023 Chicago Youth Symphony Alumni Award, the first non-classical musician to receive the honor. Stampley’s debut album, Still Listening, hit No. 1 on Apple iTunes upon its release, and his original compositions from the project have been arranged for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Rather than coming as a surprise, the pianist’s rapid ascendance has been widely foretold. By the age of 18 he’d made ardent fans of Yebba Smith, Jill Scott, Robert Glasper, Cory Henry, and Jacob Collier. Bass legend Stanley Clarke took him on the road, and bass star Derrick Hodge featured Stampley on his 2020 Blue Note Records album Color of Noise. Stampley’s trio features Miguel Russell, a 21-year-old drummer/producer from South Florida, and Chicago saxophonist and bassist D-Erania Stampley, a revered educator and highly regarded improviser who is also the pianist’s mother.

Dominique Fils-Aimé

The Montreal-based JUNO award-winning singer-songwriter Dominique Fils-Aimé puts the history of African-American musical culture into the heart of her work. Her music reflects on the social realities that influenced the genres of blues, jazz and soul.

Her first three albums, beginning with 2018’s blues-tinged Nameless — which focused on confronting historical silences and sorrows — comprised a trilogy that was inspired by soul icons such as Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Etta James. Her followup, Stay Tuned!, served as a call for revolution. The album won the 2020 JUNO for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year and the Félix prize for Best Jazz Album, was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize and was featured among the 19 best Canadian albums of 2019 by CBC. In 2021, Fils-Aimé closed the trilogy with Three Little Words, a call for reconciliation. The recording received rave reviews in prestigious publications and also made the Polaris shortlist.

Fils-Aimé’s fourth and newest album, Our Roots Run Deep, framed in a loose, dreamlike narrative structure, tells a story of growth. For Fils-Aimé, nature acts as an anchor, a source of inspiration that provides her with metaphors to express the unique but interconnected journey of a human being. On stage, including a recent performance at the sold-out NYC Winter Jazzfest, Fils-Aimé’s magnetic presence captivates audiences, leading them on a transcendent journey.

NIKARA Presents Black Wall Street

Vibraphonist, composer and arranger NIKARA’s debut album, Black Wall Street, is a convergence of hip-hop, jazz, neo-soul, Afro-Latin and more. Granddaughter of Kenny Barron, she has played at the Kennedy Center, the SFJazz Center and, most recently, at NYC’s 20th Anniversary Winter Jazz Fest.

Nikara Warren is a true Brooklynite. Born and bred in the eclectic and electric enclave, she is taking vibes to the people with her infectious compositional sense, her post-modern patchwork of influences and cultural signposts and her fearless musicality. Her musical ambitions are informed but not limited by the vibraphone lineage, and it’s not just jazz or hip-hop — it’s dance music as well. Her vision is cohesive but eclectic — just like how people’s identities are a product of their various heritages and associations. Music Critic Kira Grunenberg says, “Black Wall Street doesn’t project its versatility and creative range through scholarly jazz arrangements or covers chasing perfectionism. Instead, it offers original music converged around a stylistically fluid foundation.”

34th Annual San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2024

When: August 9 - 11, 2024

Where: Plaza de César Chavez Park, San Jose, CA

Admission: summerfest.sanjosejazz.org/buy-now

More info: summerfest.sanjosejazz.org; 408.288.7557

More Information: summerfest.sanjosejazz.org

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