Sunday finally rolled around and the festival mood seemed engaging, relaxing and bittersweet. After two days of great programming, the end of Summer Fest was now near. Eager to catch new highlights, I eased my way into the day, and here’s what I encountered:
Terence Blanchard‘s 2pm Main Stage performance had the crowd enthralled. As I walked down the Tech Museum side of Market Street, the scene was mesmerizing. A near silence seemed to sit over the crowd while Blanchard’s horn screamed and whispered. Much like the Laila Smith set from the day before, there was a reverence in watching the give and take between Blanchard and the crowd.
A bit later, I caught up with “Jazz Doctor” Brad Stone, who was handing out CDs along with tailored Summer Fest music advice in front of the Jazz Store late Sunday afternoon. He told me that several attendees had already picked up some goodies and asked some great questions, and Stone was still excited to help out. It was finally time for me to shuffle away when yet another patient eagerly approached, curious for a musical diagnosis.
Since I had been bouncing around from stage to stage all weekend, it was a bit late for me to try and snatch up some prime real estate out on the grass at the Main Stage. Luckily, there was a big screen nearby, which made my shaded table by the food court feel that much more ideal. From there, I watched Dianne Reeves bring a great energy to match her virtuosic vocal ability. This was straight-ahead talent of the highest caliber, and the crowd was delightfully enjoying it.
I don’t consider myself a foodie, but when it comes to festivals, I’m always on the lookout for some great eats. The Blues Stage came through for me yet again when I grabbed a tri-tip sandwich and root beer float from Gold Rush Eatery. This food truck was handing out samples all day, and after tasting their fantastically golden tots with special sauce, I made sure to come back later in the day. When I returned, the JC Smith Band was putting on quite the show. Smith was being helped by some of the best blues talent the Bay Area has to offer. The magnetic stage presence of the group showed why Smith and company are considered a cornerstone in the South Bay blues scene.
While headed back to the Main Stage, I caught Team Bahia closing out the Kaiser Permanente Salsa Stage in electric fashion. The dancers were out in full force and Bahia’s energy showed that they were definitely feeding off of the crowd! The Salsa Stage was a hot ticket all weekend, and with only one act left, it looked like all the salsa fanatics were making sure they didn’t leave without one final dance.
After catching the tail end of the The Spinners on the Main Stage, I walked over to the San Pedro Square Market — at this point the former home to the Metro Market Stage — and enjoyed a relaxing night on the patio to recap among friends. Sitting out there under the trees, hummingbird ornaments and all, it seemed I had found the perfect place to end the night. Sure, Summer Fest was just about over, but I also realized I was five days early to see the Hitmen perform as part of the Music at the Market series.
In addition to Summer Fest, San Jose Jazz hosts over 150 live music events around San Jose throughout the year. Whether this was your first time experiencing San Jose Jazz or your simply your latest experience, you can keep up with our year-round programming by visiting the San Jose Jazz site. With our Free Jazz Wednesdays, Blues Thursday at the Poor House and Music at the Market Friday evenings, there’s plenty of free live music to take in no matter the season. If you got a kick out of our CEO Jam or our Latin Jazz Jam with the “Masters and Lions” of Latin Jazz, head to the Hedley Club inside the Hotel De Anza every first and third Wednesday for our bi-weekly jam. We also partner to put on events for South First Fridays, happening on the first Friday of every month.
This Summer Fest was a wild ride from the start, but I’m sure glad I got to take part. With so much regular content still on the way, think of our weekly programming as a culmination of everything you saw at Summer Fest. Except this time, you can actually catch it all!
You can also catch up on my Saturday experience by reading Saturday’s posting.