San Jose, Calif. -- Silicon Valley's premier annual music event, San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2018 returns for its 29th festival season from Friday, August 10 through Sunday, August 12 in and around Plaza de César Chavez Park in downtown San Jose, Calif. A showcase for jazz, blues, funk, R&B, salsa, world and related genres, SJZ Summer Fest is nationally recognized as one of the biggest Latin festivals in the country and a magnet for international artists, who have marquee performance opportunities in Northern California. Above and beyond any other year, SJZ Summer Fest 2018 illuminates the depths of electrifying global jazz happening around the world by supporting new Summer Fest artists hailing from Cuba, Australia, Switzerland, Argentina, Spain, Ghana, Japan and Luxembourg. San Jose Jazz embraces the American jazz tradition in many essential ways including the preservation of the Hammond B-3 with an array of organ-centric ensembles on board for SJZ Summer Fest 2018. A standout summer destination for music lovers and families alike, the three-day event includes 120+ performances on 12 stages, attracting tens of thousands of visitors to downtown throughout the weekend.
Three-day passes are on sale at Early Bird prices now through April 23. Four distinct levels of access are offered to best experience SJZ Summer Fest. VIP, Priority and All Stages levels allow access to all outdoor stages plus four indoor venues: the beautiful Hammer Theatre, intimate Cafe Stritch and Jade Leaf Lounge, plus iconic Club Regent at the Fairmont San Jose hosting the Silicon Valley Stage, offering many of the festival's premier world-class artists indoors in air-conditioned, acoustically-rich environments. General Admission (GA) gives basic access to all outdoor stages only. Three-day passes: GA: $45 early bird through April 23, $55 advance April 24-July 31, $70 gate; All Stages (includes all indoor venues, except the Music Lounge): $70 early bird through April 23; $90 advance April 24-July 31, $110 gate; Priority Access (skip-the-line privileges, access to the Music Lounge and more): $180 early bird through April 23, $220 advance April 24-July 31, $240 gate; VIP (exclusive Main Stage seating, complimentary food and drink, garage parking, VIP lounge at Hammer Theatre Stage, enhanced VIP area at The Sobrato Organization Main Stage): $325 early bird through April 23, $385 advance April 24-July 31, $425 gate. Single day tickets, ranging from as low as $15 for GA to $175 for a VIP experience purchased in advance, April 24-July 31; see website for benefits and pricing. All ticket prices will increase to Gate Price on August 1.
For nearly three decades, San Jose Jazz has embraced its steadfast commitment to presenting today's most distinguished acts from around the world and homegrown Bay Area talent at one of North America's foremost festivals: GRAMMY® Award-winning artists, the hottest salsa and Latin bands, classic jazz pioneers, world music stars, top local emerging musicians, and genre-busting hip-hop, R&B, and soul artists.
The 29th Annual San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2018 features an acclaimed lineup, and today San Jose Jazz announces its initial round of confirmed artists including Sobrato Organization Main Stage headliners: Kool & the Gang; Herb Alpert and Lani Hall; Lalah Hathaway; Booker T.'s Stax Revue: A Journey Through Soul, Blues and R&B; Goapele; Yissy & Bandancha; Nachito Herrera Trio; and Vincent Herring's Story of Jazz: 100 Years. Appearing on other stages are Jane Monheit; Sarah McKenzie; Kishi Bashi w/ Strings; MAE.SUN; Marcus Roberts' Romance, Swing and Blues; Big Sam's Funky Nation; Legally Blue; Theo Croker Quartet; Kat Edmonson; Makaya McCraven; Emmet Cohen Trio; Sara Niemietz and Snuffy Walden; 3rd Annual Jazz Organ Fellowship with Matthew Whitaker and Brian Charette; Moisés P. Sánchez Quartet; Delvon Lamar Organ Trio; Pascal Bokar; Billy Valentine Big Band; Septeto Internacional; Evan Thomas Blues Band; Kid Anderson Greaseland Revue; SJZ Collective Reimagines Monk; Tango Jazz Quartet; Sylvia Cuenca Quartet; Sandy Cressman and Homenagem Brasileira; Jemal Ramirez Group with Warren Wolf; Yoshiaki Miyanoue; Organic Trio; Steve Bedi & Special 'X'; Katie Theroux; Jackie Gage; and many additional artists to be announced!
Not only will SJZ Summer Fest 2018 transform downtown San Jose into an explosive hub of jazz, it'll be the nation's epicenter of global music with an array of jazz ambassadors bringing singular interpretations of the genre to various stages throughout the festival. This year's standout acts from across the world include: Yissy & Bandancha (Cuba), Nachito Herrera (Cuba), Sarah McKenzie (Australia), Septeto Internacional (Switzerland/Cuba), Tango Jazz Quartet (Argentina), Steve Bedi (Ghana),Yoshiaki Miyanoue (Japan), Moisés P. Sánchez Quartet (Spain), and Organic Trio (Luxembourg).
"More now than ever it is important that we spotlight the global character of jazz," says San Jose Jazz's Executive Director Brendan Rawson. "For 2018, we've already secured artists from many corners of the world, proving that music is a universal language that can bring communities closer together. We're very proud to offer diverse artists a platform to highlight their eclectic art. Many of these artists appearing at Summer Fest will be performing in the Bay Area for the very first time. We look forward to celebrating a myriad of cultures and genres collectively for an incredible weekend of music."
Bruce Labadie, one of the founders, is the Artistic and Festival Director, and with the help of locally-based co-curators programs the artists for the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest.
Labadie comments, "We continue to present one of the best urban festivals in the United States, with continued emphasis on diversity, Latin artists, large and small venue experiences, in a wide ranging festival that allows visitors to experience known and emerging artists alike over three days in downtown San Jose. This year, we've considerably raised the musical bar of our main stage talent to levels we had not done in the past. The names listed here reflect a greater opportunity to see festival headliners and a whole range of artists for the most reasonable admission of any of the major jazz or music festivals."
San Jose Jazz is thrilled to welcome back The Sobrato Organization as the Main Stage sponsor as well as the following sponsors: DownBeat, City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, Castellano Family Foundation, Gordon Biersch Brewing Company, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, SV Creates, National Endowment for the Arts, and Western States Arts Federation.
Highlights of Confirmed Artists @ 29th Annual San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2018
San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2018 pulls out all the stops for an incredible festival closing set on Sunday evening with Kool & the Gang playing many of their major hits such as "Ladies Night," "Get Down on It," "Too Hot," "Fresh" and, of course, "Celebrate." Performing for more than half a century, Kool & the Gang has headlined festivals and their own tours and opened for acts as diverse as Elton John, Van Halen, and Dave Matthews Band. With a charismatic front man, a tight rhythm section and impeccable horns, Kool & the Gang is the nation's party band with a history that's as glorious as its songbook.
With every sophisticatedly kinetic performance, trumpeter Herb Alpert brings with him multiple lifetimes of experiences from the bandstand, recording studio and boardroom. The "A" in A&M Records, Albert is not only an accomplished instrumentalist, he's also a generous philanthropist with donating over $10 million to the Thelonious Monk Institute at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music. At SJZ Summer Fest 2018, he appears with two-time GRAMMY Award-winning singer (and his wife) Lani Hall with a three-piece rhythm section.
Listeners can't help but be in awe of vocalist/songwriter/producer Lalah Hathaway's tremendous singing and borderless cross-genre musical concept. Hathaway's singular blend of R&B, gospel, and jazz won her the GRAMMY Award for "Best R&B Performance" (2014) for her collaboration with Snarky Puppy on Brenda Russell's "Something." A year later, she was awarded another GRAMMY (this time for "Best Traditional R&B Performance") for her collaboration with Robert Glasper Experience, along with Malcom-Jamal Warner, on an interpretation of Steve Wonder's "Jesus Children." In 2016, she won a GRAMMY for "Best Traditional R&B Performanc" for "Little Ghetto Boy," and "Best R&B Album" for Lalah Hathaway Live.
As house organist for the Stax Records label in the '60s and leader of the MG's, keyboardist/arranger Booker T. Jones is a household name for his hit "Green Onions" as well as his playing on and producing classics by Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson and Bill Withers. Boasting a ten-piece band that includes a three-piece horn section and three rotating lead vocalists, Booker T's Stax Revue: A Journey Through Soul, Blues and R&B is an exploration of Jones' remarkable career peppered with anecdotes from the man himself and performances of classic hits. Still producing his own original material, Booker T.'s latest album, Sound the Alarm (Concord 2013), features Anthony Hamilton, Gary Clark, Jr., Sheila E., Raphael Saadiq and Estelle.
Now based in Southern California but still retaining her East Bay ties, Oakland native Goapele's latest recording effort, the Dreamseeker EP, showcases the R&B and neo-soul practitioner's social activism advocacy, maternal insights and personal development. The half-South African, half-Israeli-American mom doesn't eschew good old-fashioned l-o-v-e songs as heard on tracks such as "Secret," Dreamseeker's impossibly sensual opening track.
In drummer Yissy García's Bandancha, trumpet and acoustic percussion meets keyboards, bass guitar and turntables for an exhilarating fusion. While the Bandancha sound is rooted in the bandleader's native Cuba's indigenous traditions, it also expands to diverse genres such as R&B, funk and electronica. The daughter of percussionist Bernardo Garcîa (a co-founder of the supergroup Irakere, and a member of trumpeter Arturo Sandoval's band), Yissy García has become an international ambassador for a music that's on the vanguard while based firmly in many traditions.
Following his studies at the Institute of Art in Havana, pianist Ignacio "Nachito" Herrera became Musical Director for the famed Tropicana Club in Havana, Cuba and later the group ¡Cubanisimo!. Based in Minnesota, the state named him an Immigrant of Distinction. Two years prior, he was one of three musicians to receive an American Heritage Award from the American Immigration Council (The previous Latin music recipient was Carlos Santana). Drawing on both his European classical music training and intrinsic feel for Afro-Cuban rhythms, Herrera brings a masterful boldness to the deeply personal music he performs with his trio.
Post-bop alto saxophonist Vincent Herring has led his own acclaimed bands as well as collaborated with many late giants of jazz including Dizzy Gillespie, Lionel Hampton, and Art Blakey. Herring now surveys jazz music's century-plus history with his "The Story of Jazz: 100 Years" program. Leading a big band and featuring Nicolas Bearde's vocals and narration, Herring's thorough survey revisits musical developments from 1917 to the present including everything from ragtime, swing and bebop to Afro-Cuban, free/avant-garde and fusion styles.
Hearing one of Jane Monheit's recordings or seeing her perform live is to be in the company of a tail-end Generation X artist who since first bursting on the scene has become a mother and survived music industry upheaval. Early in her career at the young age of 20, she took second place at the 1998 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Vocals Competition and became heralded as one of the new voices in vocal jazz. Monheit’s become a first-call collaborator and has recorded with Terence Blanchard, Tom Harrell, David Benoit, and Mocean Worker. Her latest album, The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald, is produced by Nicolas Payton.
Upon receiving her Bachelor's degree in jazz at Perth's West Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Sarah McKenzie toured as a backing vocalist on Michael Bublé's "Irresponsible Tour." Her sophomore album, Close Your Eyes (ABC Music), won an ARIA Music Award -- the Australian equivalent of a GRAMMY -- for "Best Jazz Album" in 2012; the same year she was awarded a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music after participating in the 2012 Umbria Jazz Festival. Her latest album Paris In The Rain is out on Impulse! Records.
Live in concert, Kaoru "Kishi Bashi" Ishibashi utilizes his mastery of live looping to create alternately lush and rhythmic sonic layers. For SJZ Summer Fest, he'll be joined by a string quartet. Kashi Bashi was formerly a member of the art rock ensemble Of Montreal and has toured with the likes of Regina Spektor and Sondre Lerche. On Sonderlust(Joyful Noise, 2016), his third and most recent album, he delves into techno-pop and retro-era dance music while showcasing his frequently falsetto-range singing along the way.
SJZ Summer Fest audiences will remember alto and soprano saxophonist Hailey Niswanger from 2015, when she performed in an all-star organ combo with veteran drummer Mike Clark and locally based keyboard hero Wil Blades. The Portland, Oregon native returns with MAE.SUN featuring Niswanger's original compositions as realized by her sextet. Blissed out mood music with pulsating funk, MAE.SUN's debut album, Vol. 1: Inter-be, was released in November 2017. Niswanger herself has collaborated with McCoy Tyner, Joe Lovano, Christian McBride, Terri Lyne Carrington, and Esperanza Spalding. She's also appeared on late night TV shows with Demi Lovato (Saturday Night Live) and indie rockers Sleigh Bells (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon).
Pianist/composer Marcus Roberts has been hailed "the genius of the modern piano." In 2014, the celebrated CBS News television show, 60 Minutes, profiled his life and work on a segment entitled "The Virtuoso." The show traced Roberts' life from his early roots in Jacksonville and at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind to his remarkable career as a modern jazz musician. Roberts is an accomplished composer receiving numerous commissioning awards, including from Chamber Music America, Jazz at Lincoln Center, ASCAP, and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He also won the Helen Keller Award for Personal Achievement. At Summer Fest, he performs with The Modern Jazz Generation featuring his longtime bandmates Jason Marsalis (drums), Rodney Jordan (bass), and three generations of musicians forming his big band.
As anyone who has attended Summer Fest can attest, audiences love the funk. Trombonist Big Sam and his Funky Nation band brings just that -- along with some second line flavor from its Crescent City hometown, a bit of hip-hop and some good old rock & roll. Sammie "Big Sam" Williams came up playing with Dirty Dozen Brass Band. His latest album, Songs in the Key of Funk, Vol. 1, was inspired by Stevie Wonder's 1976 classic, Songs in the Key of Life.
From a young age taking inspiration from his grandfather Doc Cheatham, Theo Croker went on to study with trumpet great, Donald Byrd, at Oberlin College. After earning his degree and gigging with the likes of saxophonist Jimmy Heath and drummer Billy Hart, he moved to Shanghai where he met SJZ Winter Fest 2018 performer Dee Dee Bridgewater. Bridgewater would go on to produce and sing on Croker's third album, Afro Physicist (OKeh Records, 2014) and contributed vocals to its follow-up, Escape Velocity. Croker's quintet now frequently accompanies Bridgewater in concert.
The title of singer/songwriter Kat Edmonson's Old Fashioned Gal (set to be released on April 27) is wide open for interpretation. Fortunately, the jazz-rooted vocalist is as great a storyteller as she is a musician and the 11 originals on her fourth album make up the components of a proper movie musical. Edmonson has toured and collaborated with Lyle Lovett, Chris Isaak, Gary Clark, Jr., Asleep at the Wheel, and Michael Kiwanuka.
Those who were lucky enough to catch trumpeter Marquis Hill's Blacktet concert at Winter Fest 2016 not only got to witness the Northern California debut of that dynamite unit. They were also introduced to drummer Makaya McCraven, whose future as a visionary bandleader was already in ascendance. Upon moving to Chicago, he's collaborated with many of the city's finest musicians including guitarists Jeff Parker (Tortoise) and Bobby Broom, and the revered jazz pianist Willie Pickens. A producer and music technology expert, McCraven incorporates hip-hop, electronic and creatively abstract elements into his intricate playing and forward-looking projects.
A master of swing, Emmet Cohen earned his Master's degree from the Manhattan School of Music and is currently the organist-in-residence at Smoke, the hip jazz club in Harlem. The Florida native also placed third in the 2011 Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz International Jazz Piano Competition. Cohen has produced and played on theMasters Legacy Series (Cellar Live Records) of recordings spotlighting jazz legends (i.e. Jimmy Cobb, Ron Carter). Cohen is an educator with Jazz at Lincoln Center's "Jazz for Young People" in-school program.
Just in her mid-twenties, the soulful Sara Niemietz has already succeeded in the music, film and theater worlds. The Chicago native appears at Summer Fest with guitarist/film composer Snuffy Walden and is best known recently for touring and recording with Scott Bradlee's smash crossover band Post-Modern Jukebox. Niemietz made her professional stage debut at age nine, notably portraying the younger version of Carol Burnett's character in Hollywood Arms and acting in the 2006 feature film Akeelah and the Bee. Having played with Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and Eric Burden (of The Animals fame), Walden is known to TV enthusiasts as the composer of many timeless themes, including the music for thirtysomething as well as scoring and writing title themes for The West Wing, My So-Called Life and Sports Night.
Seattle talent Delvon Lamarr founded the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio in 2015 with guitarist Jimmy James and drummer David McGraw to round out this powerhouse jazz/R&B/rock band. The trio released their debut album, Close But No Cigar, in 2016. One of the highest profile organ three-pieces in the Pacific Northwest, the Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio brings authority and good feeling to every one of its performances. Three musical brothers sound as one, with audiences in communion with their swing, swagger and groove.
Dr. Pascal Bokar Thiam, Ed.D., an award-winning jazz composer, guitarist and vocalist, presents a musical banquet from around the world from his native France to his Senegalese and Malian roots. Anchored in bebop, Pascal Bokar has performed with Dizzy Gillespie, Donald Byrd, Donald Bailey and Barney Wilen. Featured in Scott Yanow's book, The Great Jazz Guitarists: The Ultimate Guide, Bokar is the 1983 recipient of the Jim Hall Jazz Master Award for guitarists. He's performed at many prestigious jazz festivals including Aspen Music Festival, the Kansas City Jazz & Blues Festival, the Houston International Jazz Festival, and is currently a faculty member at University of San Francisco.
Inspired by contemporary classical pioneer Steve Reich's ever-shifting repetitions compositional style, the Moisés P. Sánchez Quartet incorporates electronic loops to create layers of sonic textures and evolving rhythms. Pianist Moisés P. Sánchez has recorded five albums as a bandleader with his latest, Metamorfosis, the first to feature this quartet. The poignant compositions making up Metamorfosis show Sánchez as a powerful force in contemporary jazz with his emotive arrangements and fierce chops as a bandleader.
As a baritone saxophonist, arranger, educator and leader, Dr. Aaron Lington is at very least a quadruple threat. For 2018 Summer Fest, he'll be drawing on three of those talents (and probably some of the fourth) for the premiere of Plays the Music of Astor Piazolla. Lington arranges and performs such classic Piazolla works as Libertango, Escualo and Soledad in a small group setting. For previous Summer Fests, Lington has explored the songbooks of Burt Bacharch, Ray Charles, Paul Simon and Sting. Lington is a professor and the Coordinator of Jazz Studies at San José State and director of San José Jazz's High School All-Stars. He's also a founding member of the SJZ Collective, and a GRAMMY winner with the Pacific Mambo Orchestra.
Thanks to Hammond B-3 evangelist Pete Fallico's world-renowned commitment to the instrument, organ concerts have been a San Jose Jazz staple. 2018 Summer Fest is no exception, with the 3rd Annual Organ Fellowship featuring Matthew Whitaker and Brian Charette, a pair of contrasting yet brilliant players. Heralded as a child prodigy, Matthew Whitaker studies classical piano and drums at the Filomen M. D'Agostino Greenberg Music School of the Lighthouse Guild in New York City (the only community music school for the blind and visually impaired in the U.S.), and attends the Manhattan School of Music's Precollege Jazz Program. GRAMMY-nominated New York City resident Brian Charette has gigged with Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and Chaka Khan. Two generations of talent will swingingly demonstrate that the Hammond B3 is literally in great hands.
Get ready for an electrifying lineup of acclaimed artists appearing at the 29th San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2018! Additional artists will be announced in the coming weeks.
29th Annual San Jose Jazz Summer Fest
When: August 10 - 12, 2018
Where: Plaza de César Chavez Park, San Jose, CA
More info: summerfest.sanjosejazz.org; 408.288.7557
SJZ Summer Fest 2018 Artist Lineup
Friday, August 10 – Sunday, August 12
Kool & the Gang; Herb Alpert and Lani Hall; Lalah Hathaway; Booker T.'s Stax Revue: A Journey Through Soul, Blues and R&B; Goapele; Yissy & Bandancha; Nachito Herrera Trio; Vincent Herring's Story of Jazz: 100 Years; Jane Monheit;
Sarah McKenzie; Kishi Bashi w/ Strings; MAE.SUN; Marcus Roberts' Romance, Swing and Blues; Big Sam's Funky Nation;
Legally Blue; Theo Croker Quartet; Kat Edmonson; Makaya McCraven; Emmet Cohen Trio; Sara Niemietz and Snuffy Walden; 3rd Annual Jazz Organ Fellowship with Matthew Whitaker and Brian Charette; Moisés P. Sánchez Quartet; Delvon Lamar Organ Trio; Pascal Bokar; Billy Valentine Big Band; Septeto Internacional; Evan Thomas Blues Band; Kid Anderson Greaseland Revue; SJZ Collective Reimagines Monk; Tango Jazz Quartet; Sylvia Cuenca Quartet; Sandy Cressman and Homenagem Brasileira; Jemal Ramirez Group with Warren Wolf; Yoshiaki Miyanoue; Organic Trio; Steve Bedi & Special 'X'; Katie Theroux; Jackie Gage and additional artists to be announced!
Artist interviews are available upon request.
3-Day Pass Adult VIP ($325 early bird; $385 advance; $425 gate)
Includes Reserved Main Stage Seating Sat & Sun, Free Food & Beverages in Exclusive VIP Pavilion, Priority Access to All Indoor Fest Venues, Complimentary Garage Parking During Festival Hours
3-Day Pass Adult PRIORITY ACCESS ($180 early bird; $220 advance; $240 gate)
Skip the Line at All Indoor Fest Venues, Access to Music Lounge performances, $20 in Beverage Tickets
3-Day Pass Adult ALL STAGES ($70 early bird; $90 advance; $110 gate)
Access to ALL Indoor & Outdoor Fest Venues
3-Day Pass Adult GENERAL ADMISSION (GA) ($45 early bird; $55 advance; $70 gate)
3-Day Pass Child ($15)
Admission for one child aged 5-12, with access to stages and hospitality areas at SJZ Summer Fest according to the access level of an accompanying adult. This low-priced ticket is designed to allow families to affordably enjoy the Fest and is not discounted from the Gate Price.
Single Tickets (On sale April 24)
($15 - $175 advance, April 24-July 31; $20 - $190 beginning August 1)
Friday, August 10: VIP $75 advance, April 24-July 31, $90 beginning August 1; Priority Access $45 advance, $55 beginning August 1; All Stages $30 advance, $35 beginning August 1; GA $15 advance, $20 beginning August 1.
Saturday & Sunday, August 11-12: VIP $175 advance, April 24-July 31, $190 beginning August 1; Priority Access $95 advance, $110 beginning August 1; All Stages $40 advance, $45 beginning August 1; GA $20 advance, $25 beginning August 1.
About San Jose Jazz
Founded in 1986, San Jose Jazz is a public benefit corporation celebrating jazz as a dynamic, evolving art form and is producer of the annual San Jose Jazz Summer Fest and Winter Fest. With its singular music programming and innovative educational offerings, San Jose Jazz preserves the jazz tradition while actively supporting the next generation of performers within the genre and beyond. For more information, please visit sanjosejazz.org.