Sneak Peek: Summer Fest 2013

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Summer Fest is known for its variety, and for discovering talent that’s about to break onto the international stage. Witness 2011’s Trombone Shorty, who stunned all of us with his performance and has since shot to international fame. This year’s lineup will be no different. We’re presenting the best of straight ahead and vocal jazz, Latin, salsa, blues, zydeco and related genres performed by established stars, emerging talents and local gems.

While the festival may be a full three months away, we’re already excited about the artists we’ll be bringing and the changes we’re putting into place. In fact, we’re so excited that we can’t keep it a secret any longer. A full announcement of the lineup will come on May 30, but here’s a taste of what’s in store August 9-11 that will make downtown San Jose the temporary center of the jazz universe. If you’d like to get your festival pass early, do so online now and save significantly compared to the gate price.

Formed to entertain at a political rally in Portland in 1994, Pink Martini draws inspiration from music from around the world, crossing genres of classical, jazz and old- fashioned pop with an intoxicating sensibility all their own. Co-founder Thomas Lauderdale says of the band, “If the United Nations had a ‘house band,’ this would be it.” They’ve become an international phenomenon, selling 2.5 million albums to date.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band has toured across the globe to spread and foster the art form of New Orleans Jazz. Named for Preservation Hall, the respected music venue in New Orleans’ French Quarter, the band celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2012 with a 4-disk retrospective collection, sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall and collaborations with Allen Toussaint, Frank Demond, Yasiin Bey (AKA Mos Def), Givers, Steve Earle, and the Black Keys.

Javon Jackson with Les McCann began working together when tenor saxophonist Jackson invited veteran pianist and vocalist Les McCann to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Swiss Movement, McCann’s best-selling album. Unsurprisingly, these two great artists create musical magic together. See the chemistry for yourself when they take the stage at Summer Fest.

The Cookers is a power group of jazz “royalty” named for late great trumpeter Freddie Hubbard’s 1965 album The Night of the Cookers: Live at Club La Marchal. The band’s members—Billy Harper, Eddie Henderson, David Weiss, Craig Handy, George Cables, Cecil McBee and Billy Hart—have each spent time leading their own groups and developing a clearly individual sound. It is no surprise that their power as a team is commanding. Their latest album, 2012’s Believe, only further establishes them as masters in the jazz community.

Five-time Grammy® Award-nominated percussionist John Santos is a local treasure and one of the best-known proponents of Afro-Latin music in the world. His use of traditional forms and instruments in combination with contemporary music has earned him recognition as an educator, composer, and producer in a career spanning more than 35 years. Santos has worked with multi-generational masters like Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente and Carlos Santana.

Contemporary soul/blues artist Murali Coryell, son of jazz-rock fusion guitar legend Larry Coryell, grew up surrounded by great influences, taking in the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, and Carlos Santana. In addition to performing with his own group, he’s toured with award-winning blues artist Joe Louis Walker, which only further solidifies Murali Coryell as an indispensable blues man.

Blue Note artist Stacey Kent has achieved continuous success as one of the world’s foremost jazz singers. Kent has released eight best-selling albums, including the Grammy® Award nominated, platinum-selling Breakfast on the Morning Tram and 2012’s Dreamer in Concert, which was recorded live in Paris at the legendary club La Cigale. The singer has gained fans nationwide, from actor Clint Eastwood to musician / American Idol judge Steven Tyler.

Representing the new and respecting the classic, bassist Derrick Hodge has spent his musical career transcending genres. As a performer, producer, and composer, Hodge takes influence from everything from gospel to funk to jazz to hip-hop. Heard in March with the Robert Glasper Experiment at Winter Fest 2013, Hodge recently signed with Blue Note Records to release his debut album as a solo artist, Live Today, to be released the week of Summer Fest. Hodge’s sets promise to be electric and expand our efforts to present the most innovate young musicians on our Jazz Beyond Stage.

Other bookings we can let you in on include up-and-coming sax wunderkind Grace Kelly, who wowed her audience at Winter Fest 2012; fun(k) band Mingo Fishtrap; Le Jazz Hot, made up of members of the hot, SF-based gypsy jazz phenom known as The Hot Club of San Francisco; guitar wizard Charlie Hunter, who has played with the likes Norah Jones, John Mayer, and D’Angelo; Cuban-born, New York-based drummer/composer/educator (& McArthur “Genius” Fellow) Dafnis Prieto; and Yosvany Terry.

In 2013, the San Jose Rep Stage is better than ever! We’re upgrading the roster to include even more world-renowned jazz artists to perform in this intimate, climate-controlled space. Your ticket to experience these major artists is a special wristband in addition to your basic festival admission – $10 per day, available online or at any festival gate. Summer Fest 2013 will also include Jazz Plus performances, which will bring select main stage acts to perform a second set on intimate stages, Saturday and Sunday evening. Jazz Plus shows will be ticketed separately from the main festival entrance fees; tickets will go on sale May 30, 2013.

Summer Fest 2013 will boast the brand new Poor House Big Easy Stage, featuring the best in zydeco and New Orleans Jazz. Along with the Blues Stage, this dynamic area of the festival will offer special food and drink options in one of San Jose’s most historic districts, centered on leafy Post Street. The Kaiser Permanente Salsa Stage will have an emphasis on music from three diverse international salsa scenes, including New York (Friday), Puerto Rico (Saturday), and Cuba (Sunday).

For the first time, San Jose Jazz will have a parade from Plaza de César Chavez Park to the Poor House Big Easy Stage on Saturday, August 10 at 1:30 pm, to kick off the first concert on that stage. The evening Club Crawl will also appear at select venues in downtown to extend exclusive night-time music offerings on Friday, August 9 and Saturday, August 10; venues will include The Fairmont Hotel, Hilton, Hyatt, Hotel De Anza, Blackbird Tavern, and Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant.

The 2013 Summer Fest promises to be one of the best yet, featuring diverse artists;  great food, wine and microbrews; and the festive setting of downtown San Jose with easy parking and great hotels. It’s the best “party” of the summer season! Buy your discount passes online now and stay in touch by joining our email list, following on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+. Come back on May 30 for all the details on festival artists and programs!