Jazz’s Many Faces on Display at Summer Fest

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Jazz has taken on many signature sounds over the decades. Experience many of them in one weekend at Summer Fest

Whether you’re a jazz expert or are new to the art form, there’s plenty to discover musically at Summer Fest. Over the second weekend in August, we will be offering many glimpses into jazz’s celebrated, and disparate, eras, from its early beginnings in New Orleans to its more recent flirtation with, and integration of, electronic music.  To get started on your musical journey, we present you with five Summer Fest artists that help showcase jazz’s inimitable mutability.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Sun Aug 11 @ 2pm, Main Stage
Sun Aug 11 @ 7pm, San Jose Rep Stage

If you’re looking for New Orleans jazz, it doesn’t get more authentic than Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the touring ensemble for the legendary live venue of the same name. Celebrating the days of Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong, this group swings hard. They’re still going strong after 50 years, and to celebrate, they just released their first album of all original material. We host this legendary group as part of their reunion celebration. They’re available in two settings — Main Stage early afternoon Sunday, or on the more intimate San Jose Rep Stage that same evening. Make sure to get there early should you choose to see them at the Rep. Seating is limited.

Le Jazz Hot
Sun Aug 11 @ 1pm, San Jose Rep Stage

Le Jazz Hot, the sister act to the Hot Club of San Francisco, are your Summer Fest conduit to the “hot” 1930’s jazz sound that flooded the streets of Paris. The group celebrates the gypsy jazz of legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli, founders of the seminal Hot Club de France. Their defining characteristic is that they swing — with no brass. As a string quartet, their line-up consists of just guitar, violin and bass, a unique sensibility to experience for those who always associate jazz with saxophone or trumpet.

Swing Stage
Fri Aug 9 @ 6pm – 11:30pm
Sat Aug 10 @ 11am – 10:30pm
Sun Aug 11 @ 11am-8:30pm

When you enter Theatre on San Pedro Square, home to our Verizon Swing Stage, you’ll feel transported to another time. Here, we celebrate the big band era, arguably jazz’s most commercially successful era, where names like Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman reigned supreme, filling dance floors around the country. As the name suggests, “big band” puts size first, creating a multi-layered wall of sound that must be heard live to be truly appreciated. Bring your dancing shoes to move with the beat, or show up ready to learn a few steps during one of our swing dancing classes.

The Cookers
Sun Aug 11 @ 3pm, San Jose Rep Stage
Sun Aug 11 @  9pm, Adobe Blackbird Tavern Stage

It should be illegal to pack this much musical mastery in a single group. Though all-star combos may not always gel, these legendary jazz men have continued to make music together, proving that even though they may be decades into their respective careers, they’re still at the top of their game. Billy Harper played in groups by Lee Morgan, Max Roach and Art Blakey; trumpeter Eddie Henderson and drummer Billy Hart backed Herbie Hancock; pianist George Cables shared the stage with Dexter Gordan and Art Pepper; and bassist Cecil McBee performed alongside the legendary Keith Jarrett. Count on plenty of virtuosity and a sound reminiscent of 1950’s bebop and hard bop.

Mark de Clive-Lowe presents CHURCH

Fri. Aug 9 @ 11pm, Jazz Beyond Stage

No one embodies “Jazz Beyond” better than Mark de Clive-Lowe, self-described in the video below as a “piano player, musician, DJ, remixer and creative collaborator. Starting out as a jazz musician, MdCL later embraced club music and found himself composing music more on that world, only to merge the two with his “live remix” concept. His sets unite live musicianship and electronic wizardry and feature Clive-Lowe playing alongside his own looped compositions. Prepare to witness songs being layered before your very eyes only for them to quickly mutate into another musical beast entirely. While it might not sound the part at first, his approach is jazz to the core. For this special Summer Fest performance, MdCL presents his world-renowned club night CHURCH, considered “equal parts jazz club, dance party and live electronica remix experiment.”

What’s your favorite jazz era? Will you get a chance to see it come alive at Summer Fest? Let us know in the comments below!