SJZ Summer Fest 2017

 

 

SJZ Summer Fest Recap Video featuring photos from the festival and song (Somos El Son De La Calle by Braulio Barrera).

The only thing greater than experiencing the joy of a great live performance is doing so amongst an appreciative audience composed of other great music lovers. And it’s in that moment you realize festivals like the San Jose Summer Jazz Fest are really about music fans. Fans treated to so much hidden and diverse talents. Fans who get it.

This year’s Fest featured such an eclectic mix of old school favorites, world music, traditional genres like bebop and salsa, as well as a host of fresh new talent from around the world.
Silicon Valley Latino was thrilled to participate in this musical whirlwind and truly enjoyed seeing so many cultura ambassadors doing the same.

The music was rich, the food was wonderful and the weekend weather was perfect as thousands of attendees strolled the streets of downtown San Jose this past weekend.
SJZ is more than a jazz festival, it’s a cultural experience. Produced by jazz fans, for jazz fans. The love for music was prevalent and palatable on all stages. The experience of not just the music, but the stories behind the music. The rich history behind the artist’s interpretation of what we pool together and call jazz. Most settings had an element of intimacy and allowed the artist to talk and share their tales in such a refreshing format. These are the things that make San Jose Jazz Fest so unique and inviting. The artists were giving of their talents and the audience was receptive.

This widely diverse and engaging mix of musicians and audience couldn’t help but remind us how blessed we are to live in a place that champions the talent without judgments of race or background or political differences. The world could learn great lessons taught in the hearts and minds of these talented musicians. Voices that cut through division and sound the rhythm of unity and passion. Festivals like this cut through the thing that make us different, and celebrates those differences in the most artistic way. The voice and expression of love…for all.

It’s impossible to catch all the acts over the three day event, but SVL was in full force catching the sparks flying off stages all over downtown San Jo. The first Friday Night I was awestruck by the tightest band I think I’ve ever seen in my life. No not George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. Although they were a different brand indeed, loose, funky and fun. It gave the audience an opportunity to shake off the sillys and just vibe to that crazy three ring circus they bring to the stage. No, the real magic came from opener Orgóne. A soulful, bad ass group of young LA funksters that brought a joy and energy to opening night that was just right. Cool but accessible. Sexy and inviting and delivered to perfection. Look out for this band. They were absolutely amazing.

Late night Friday we hung out with our favorite crazy soul sister Ginetta Minichielio from New York who had us in stitches at The Jade Leaf. She is a super spirited and talented pocket trumpet player. Just a joy. Imagine Miles Davis meets Amy Winehouse. Beautiful stuff.

The warm Saturday sun saw a massive crowd dancing through the maze of music and energy bouncing from the Salsa stage to cool little jams at the blues/big easy stage and down at Café Stritch. The evening was capped off on the main stage with Chris Botti who brought an entire orchestra and by finale had pared down to a single piano. And at every turn lent his unique voice to each movement. A dazzling and moving production.

Sunday stand outs included Cyrille Aimée and Daymé Arocena. Both bringing unbelievable vocal stylings to the very charming Hammer Theatre.
Overall, the weekend left our souls stirred and our feet on fire. But we are so grateful to have this amazing festival as part of our wonderfully diverse Silicon Valley. It’s truly refreshing to know that we live in a part of the world that enjoys the various flavors and textures of our diversity, it all starts with an inclination towards an inclusive frame of mind. We’re optimistic about seeing this rich tradition continue to thrive and grow in our beautiful and transcending downtown.

28th Annual Summer Jazz Fest & A Farewell to Mr. Latin Jazz

 

For the past 28 years, the San José Jazz Summer Fest has brought a vibrant and exciting music festival to the San José community. What started out as a small party with a rather limited budget and mostly conventional jazz acts has now evolved into one of the most anticipated and comprehensive three-day jazz festivals going. One of the principal collaborators in shepherding the growth of the festival over the past thirteen years has been Board Chair Emeritus Arturo Riera, also known as Mr. Latin Jazz.

Riera is and has been a champion in the Latin Jazz movement for what seems to be a life time and that is what attracted him to San José Jazz over thirteen years ago. During his tenure with SJZ, he has been the Latin Curator of the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest. Through this role, he has spearheaded the growth of the number of Latin acts to twenty throughout the festival. You’ll be hard pressed to find another festival that offers close to twenty diverse and exciting acts in a three-day span. Maestro Riera has been active in cultivating key relationships for SJZ as well as securing key grants with the Packard and Castellano Family Foundations. His reach and influence have been an integral part of San José Jazz. So, if you see Mr. Latin Jazz this weekend at Summer Fest you may want to say “thanks” for his contributions the festival as this appears to be his last year with SJZ.

As for the Latin acts we are anticipating at this year’s festival, they include our friend Oscar Hernandez and Alma Libre, Bay Area Salsa All-Stars featuring Jimmy Bosch: A Tribute to “El Timbalero” Louie Romero, Angelique Kidjo’s Tribute to Salsa with Pedrito Martinez, Lily Hernandez Orquestra featuring Calixto Oviedo, Eddie Gomez & Jimmy Cobb and of course the Pacific Mambo Orchestra.

Silicon Valley Latino and our community also appreciates the tireless work the San José Jazz family (SJZ Board, staff and volunteers) dedicates to this exceptional festival each year. Additionally, we would also like to thank and acknowledge the contributions from our Silicon Valley Latino Cultura Ambassadors and SVL Honorees such as Tommy Aguilar, Mia Perez and of course the Castellano Family Foundation. We look forward to seeing you this weekend!

If you attend the festival go ahead and tag us (twitter @SVLatino/Instagram#SVLatino) to have your photos highlighted #SVLatino