Fest Five: San Jose Councilmember Ash Kalra

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A San Jose resident for over 36 years, Councilmember Ash Kalra is well aware of San Jose Jazz Summer Fest and its impact on the city he represents.

Kalra has been serving on San Jose’s City Council since first being elected in 2008. He represents Council District 2, which is located in the Southern portion of San Jose bordering Morgan Hill. He sits on the city’s Community and Economic Development Committee and was unanimously appointed as the Chairperson of the Santa Clara County Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Board.

A graduate of UC Santa Barbara (BA – Communications) and a Georgetown law grad, Kalra is currently a professor at Lincoln Law School in San Jose after previously teaching at San Jose State University. He is the first Indian-American to be elected to the San Jose City Council.

With Summer Fest just days away, Kalra was nice enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to share, in his words, the five acts he’s most excited to see this weekend.

Bootsy Collins

What else can I say about Bootsy Collins except that he is the supreme Master of Funk? He is an amazing bassist and performer, and one of the greatest collaborative musicians of all time. I’m really excited to watch the new James Brown biopic too, and seeing Bootsy Collins perform live just seems like a natural and fun way to celebrate that.


Summer Fest is so lucky to have a powerhouse performer like Ledisi. She is incredibly and undeniably talented, and her smooth and soulful sound is the perfect addition to our warm summer nights here in San Jose.

San Jose Taiko with The Bangerz

I remember San Jose Taiko’s first collaboration with The Bangerz a few years ago and I can’t recall another act that brought together so many different people as much as that performance. To me, they represent everything wonderful and unique about San Jose, embracing both traditional and contemporary aspects of our community through music. Together, they are just electric.


DJ Sake One (Jazz Beyond After Party)

Hip hop culture was such a huge part of my life while growing up in San Jose and I was really drawn to music that told stories and had a good beat to match. DJ Sake One is a great storyteller and he knows how to make a crowd move. He certainly isn’t a stranger to hip hop, and I love that he continues to expand and evolve his repertoire to include music from a myriad of genres.

Gypsy All Stars

Aside from the musical legacy this group has, the Gypsy All Stars are a truly world-class act. As an Indian American who was raised in one of the most diverse cities in the world, I can really appreciate the eclectic style of the Gypsy All Stars. The group has really taken it to another level by blending in influences from Indian classical music. The result of this union is really something beautiful that can be appreciated universally.

Who’s in YOUR Fest Five? Let us know by selecting your picks and using the hashtag #sjzsummerfest on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can see our complete Summer Fest 2014 schedule by clicking here. Click here for tickets to Summer Fest.