Fest Five: SJZ Executive Director Brendan Rawson

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A San Jose native, Executive Director Brendan Rawson formerly spent time as Director of Cultural Participation at FirstACT Silicon Valley. He comes to SJZ with lots of experience in the arts, from his involvement in helping launch Left Coast Live to his time on the boards of Teatro Vision and the Bay Area Glass Institute. This is the third Summer Fest with Brendan at the helm

While SJZ certainly keeps Brendan busy, he also contributes to the local community through his involvement with Naglee Park Garage and Blackbird Tavern, both of which he co owns.

On the eve of Summer Fest’s silver anniversary, Brendan shares, in his words, the five acts he plans to make time for this weekend.

Karriem Riggins

There are so many things about Karriem Riggins that are intriguing. As both a jazz drummer and hip hop producer, the breadth of his collaborators is mind-boggling: Bobby Hutcherson, Common, Diana Krall, J Dilla, Hank Jones, Talib Kweli, Oscar Peterson, The Roots, Milt Jackson, Paul McCartney, Donald Byrd, Erykah Badu, Mulgrew Miller, Roy Hargrove and on and on.

Also, I love Detroit and I really like the way he speaks of his decision to move back there from LA : “I feel like I can really breath and stay inspired here, and I have room to set up my lab and be creative.”


Conjunto Chappottin y Sus Estrellas

Conjunto Chappottin are one of Cuba’s most renowned Son bands. I am excited to see them as the closing act Saturday night on the Salsa Stage. It’s always quite a scene there,  but I have a feeling that their appearance will be extra special.

6th Annual Jazz Organ Fellowship featuring Atsuko Hashimoto and Midori Ono

This year’s JAF honoree is Sonny Phillips and he will be on hand at the California Theater to receive the JOF award. This year’s performance features two outstanding B3 players from Japan – Atsuko Hashimoto, last seen at Summer Fest in 2001, and Midori Ono, making her first Fest appearance. Akira Tana (drums) and Houston Person (saxophone) will be among the band members backing both ladies.

Michael Bellar and the As-Is Ensemble

I want to see this guy because I dug this video and what he did with this Bobby Timmons tune. Bellar and his group also just came out with a new album last month, so I’m to hear his new batch of tunes.


Donald Harrison featuring Kevin Harris

Harrison will close out the Big Easy stage for Summer Fest on Sunday. I think this is going to be a great way to bring the Fest to a close. Seeing and hearing him in HBO’s Treme got me hooked. Hu Ta Nay.

For our full Summer Fest 2014 line-up, click here. To purchase tickets to Summer Fest, click here.