DB Exclusive: San Jose Jazz Summer Fest Announces Headliners


George Clinton will perform at the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest, which takes place Aug. 11–13.

(Photo: Jenny Risher Photography)

For nearly three decades, the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest has brought top-tier jazz to the Silicon Valley. This year, the festival returns to Plaza de César Chavez Park in downtown San Jose boasting one of the most impressive lineups to date. Set for Aug. 11–13, the three-day event features more than 120 performances on 10 stages, and is expected to attract tens of thousands of visitors throughout the weekend.

Today, as an exclusive for DownBeat Magazine, the San Jose Jazz Jazz Summer Fest has announced its initial round of confirmed artists.

The list of headliners includes artists from a wide cross-section of genres, with stalwarts of funk and r&b bumping shoulders with up-and-coming artists on the jazz and contemporary classical scenes. The preliminary list of artists scheduled to appear includes George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic, Maceo Parker, The Whispers, Dr. Lonnie Smith and Angelique Kidjo’s Celia Cruz Tribute with Pedrito Martinez.

Among the most recent additions was Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Chris Botti, who will appear as a headliner as well.

One of the most highly anticipated sets will be by the supergroup Jazz by Five, which features Javon Jackson, George Cables, Randy Brecker, Eddie Gomez and Jimmy Cobb. Other standouts include the genre-defying San Francisco String Trio—with Mimi Fox, Mads Tolling and Jeff Denson—as well as the seven-piece Bay Area band The Seshen and the Pacific Mambo Orchestra. Fellow Bay Area native Tommy Igoe will also appear with his Groove Conspiracy band.

Vocalists Tia Brazda, Cyrille Aimée, Carmen Lundy and Sasha Masakowski will perform individual sets, and Danny Green and Emilio Solla will each appear with their respective quartets. Other confirmed headliners include Dmitri Matheny Jazz Noir, Gregory Page, Kavita Shah and Ray Obiedo.

The SJZ Summer Fest 2017 will also feature a specially curated set of renowned Latin artists and top Bay Area salsa bands, co-selected by SJZ board member Arturo Riera, aka Mister Latin Jazz.

“Summer Fest 2017 is gearing up to be an incredible weekend celebration of jazz in all its forms, as well as jazz’s influence on so many contemporary styles of music including r&b, Latin, electronic, world and funk on 10 different stages,” said Brendan Rawson, executive director of San Jose Jazz. In addition to the outdoor Plaza Park setting for our Main Stage and the shady San Fernando and Post streets for our Salsa and Blues/Big Easy stages, we also have a couple of excellent new indoor venues involved this year including the newly revitalized Hammer Theatre. We’re also excited to welcome back the JazzWeek Summit conference [Aug. 10-11] on the front end of Summer Fest that will bring broadcasters, artists, agents and label representatives together for two days of industry meetings before the Fest kicks off.”

For more information, and to purchase tickets, visit the festival’s website. Additional artists will be announced in the coming weeks. DB

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