10 must-see shows


After a year lost to the pandemic, the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest is back, and while the three-day event isn’t bigger than ever, it’s kept everything (including the food offerings) which makes it one of the premier jazz events on the West Coast.

The action still revolves around the main stage of the Sobrato organization at the north end of Plaza de Cesar Chavez, where headliners like Ozomatli, Goapele, Pete Escovedo, Common and Morris Day and the Time will perform. .

But instead of the dozen venues that made Summer Fests an almost overwhelming experience, this year’s offerings were distilled across four venues in addition to the main stage, two outdoors – the Adobe Fountain Blues / Big Easy Stage and the CEFCU Latin Tropical Stage – and two inside – the Hammer and Montgomery theaters.

With the rise of the highly contagious Delta variant, SJZ announced last week that anyone attending an indoor scene must show proof of vaccination or a negative test for COVID-19 within 72 hours of arriving at the festival. Masks will also be compulsory in the covered rooms. Customers should check the SJZ website for updates in the days leading up to the event.

Whether your taste turns to jazz or soul, R&B or timba, you can find some of the best practitioners of the style at Summer Fest. Women instrumentalists are particularly well represented this year.

Here are some of the acts that I look forward to the most.

7th Street Big Band

Led by drummer Gabby Horlick, San Jose’s 7th Street Big Band has become a testing ground for some of the area’s top young musicians and arrangers. For the Summer Fest launch time slot, the band’s versatile singer Juanita Harris will be joined by established singers Amy D. and Ren Geisick, rising force Joy Hackett and jazz / hip-hop artist Jonathan Borca.

Details: 5:15 p.m., August 13, main stage

Judith Hill

With a resume that includes stints with Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and Prince, singer, songwriter and guitarist Judith Hill is a soul powerhouse that dominates the scene. His tightly coiled six-piece group includes his two most fundamental influences, with his father Robert Lee Hill on bass and mother Michiko Hill on keyboards.

Details: 7 p.m. August 13, main stage

Trio Mimi Fox B-3

Guitarist Mimi Fox taps into the classic organ trio format with Brian Ho on B-3 and drummer Lorca Hart, bringing her own twist to a edgy sound perfectly suited to its scathing single-note lines.

Details: 9 p.m. August 13, Montgomery Theater

Jamie Baum Septet +

New York flautist Jamie Baum is an ambitious composer with an orchestral vision. His Septet + is so packed with talent that he could fill his own jazz festival, featuring heavyweight improvisers such as guitarist Brad Shepik, pianist John Escreet and trumpeter Jonathan Finlayson, a Berkeley High graduate with a tangy tone and brilliant and an abundance of artful melodies. ideas.

Details: 5:30 p.m. August 14; Montgomery Theater

Helen Sung + Quartet

Part of a brilliant wave of musicians from Houston’s High School for the Performing & Visual Arts, pianist / composer Helen Sung has released a series of ever-inspired albums, including a collaboration with poet Dana Gioia. Son Quartet + adds creatively powerful San Francisco violinist Alisa Rose to a star combo with saxophonist / flautist John Ellis, drummer Kendrick Scott and bass maestro Reuben Rogers.

Details: 7 p.m. August 14, Hammer Theater Center

George Brooks and Arjun Verma

Berkeley saxophonist George Brooks has collaborated with many of North Indian classical music’s most acclaimed artists, creating a stunning body of work encompassing original compositions and traditional ragas. He and sitarist Arjun Verma, a follower of Ali Akbar Khan, perform music commissioned last year by San Jose Jazz and Silicon Valley art presenter Mosaic America, joined by guitarist Gyan Riley and expert in tabla Nilan Chaudhuri.

Details: 7:30 p.m., August 14, Montgomery Theater

Sons of soul renewers

Anyone in need of an uplifting shake of the Holy Spirit can find spiritual nourishment with Sons of the Soul Revivors, a gospel music combo that takes inspiration from the classic sound of the 1940s quartet. Starring the Walter Jr. brothers. , James and Dwayne Morgan bred by Vallejo, the Sons are an award-winning combo that has found new audiences after three decades with releases on the Little Village Foundation label.

Details: 1 p.m. August 15, Adobe Fountain Blues stage

Tony Lindsay Ray Charles Project

Ray Charles transformed the sound of Sunday morning worship into Saturday night festivities, a tradition ably confirmed by Tony Lindsay’s celebration of Brother Ray. Best known for his long tenure with Santana, Lindsay is a formidable soul singer, and he’s joined at the forefront by veteran Glenn Walters and guitarist / singer Chris Cain, a blues star who leads his own quartet on Friday Night on the Fountain Blues / Big Easy Stage.

Details: 1 p.m. August 15, Montgomery Theater

Tribute to Doug Carn Jazz Organ Fellowship Fellowship

Pete Fallico’s annual celebrations spotlight the Hammond B-3 masters, a custom-made designation for Carn, an organ innovator who began making influential albums in the early 1970s. Fallico is joined here by some of the musicians featured on his excellent albums on his own label Doodlin ‘, including tenor saxophonist Howard Wiley and drummer Deszon Claiborne. Great guitarist Calvin Keys and upbeat singer Tiffany Austin round out the party.

Details: 3 p.m. August 15, Montgomery Theater

Claudia Villela and Romero Lubambo

Claudia Villela, singer, songwriter, percussionist and pianist raised in Rio de Janeiro, has spent almost all of her three-plus decades in the Bay Area, and she still manages to amaze regularly. As a partner of the duo, New York-based guitar master Romero Lubambo shares Villela’s unbridled inventiveness, which is why he often accompanies vocal stars like Dianne Reeves, Luciana Souza, Leny Andrade and Diana Krall.

Details: 5 p.m. August 15, Montgomery Theater

Christian Sables

At 32, Christian Sands is one of the most fluent and striking pianists of his generation, a flamboyant improviser with a deep mastery of the idioms of jazz and Latin jazz. Whether he accompanies stars like Christian McBride and Gregory Porter or directs his own well-crafted projects, Sands never fails to leave a lasting impression marked by his sonic touch and palpable connection to the roots of the dance floor of the music.

Details: 7 p.m. Sunday, Hammer Theater

Contact Andrew Gilbert at [email protected]


When: Music starts 5 p.m. August 13, 2 p.m. August 14, noon August 15

Or: Outdoor scenes and indoor locations around Plaza de Cesar Chavez, San José

Tickets: 3-day pass $ 105 to $ 500, $ 30 for children aged 5 to 12; daily passes from $ 35 to $ 190, $ 10 for children aged 5 to 12; sanjosejazz.org

Safety Precautions / COVID: Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test within 72 hours of arrival is required for all guests planning to enter an indoor venue, including the Hammer and Montgomery theaters, break room or VIP lodge. A paper or digital proof is presented at the entrance and the customer receives a bracelet. Masks are mandatory for all indoor sites.

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