During the second weekend of August, San Jose Jazz Summer Fest turns downtown San Jose into a vibrant celebration of live music. You’ll hear jazz, salsa, R&B, swing, New Orleans and much more on 12 stages over three days. With performances stretching from morning to late night, why not turn your experience into an extended stay?
Whether you’re arriving from out of town, out of state or just outside the neighborhood, there are plenty of options for accommodations and extra live music to make the most of Summer Fest if you’ll be downtown all weekend.
If you’d like to take in Summer Fest in full while sleeping footsteps away from the Fest grounds, then you’re in luck! There are plenty of hotel options available downtown.
Unfortunately, the Fairmont San Jose, which overlooks our Kaiser Permanente Main Stage, is already sold out. However, the good news is that there are many other options. The Hilton San Jose, Saint Claire and San Jose Marriott are all within walking distance of the Main Stage and Salsa Stage. The Ramada Limited, located in the heart of downtown’s artsy SoFa District, places you just down the street from the Café Stritch Stage and the California Theatre Stage. Please visit our hotel deals page to check rates and availability.
Also, if you’d like jazz to be your final destination before bed, the Hilton will be one of four spaces hosting club crawl performances on Friday and Saturday evening.
Great Music Before Summer Fest
While Summer Fest proper begins the evening of August 8, we have special events lined up for those looking to get their jazz fix early.
On Wednesday, August 6, we present a special Jazz Jam at the Hedley that will place a spotlight on a handful of “songbirds of the South Bay.” The night is set to feature five of the most talented (and busiest) emerging vocalists in the area. In addition, expect a number of great instrumentalists to sit in with host / drummer Stephen Marley and his house band that evening, which begins at 7:30pm inside Hotel De Anza’s glorious Hedley Club.
Blackbird Tavern welcomes local vocalist Amy Dabalos for week one of her four-week residency on Thursday, August 7, when she will be performing original tunes and select covers with her band, the Vibrant Things. Just down the street, Cafe Stritch will be continuing its week-long Rahsaanathon with a special performance by Steve Turre & the Eulipion All-Stars, which will feature James Carter and poet Betty Neals. Doors for the show are at 7pm. This will be a great time to enjoy the space before it makes its Summer Fest debut as a stage, hosting great straight ahead jazz on Saturday, August 9 and a Motéma Music showcase on Sunday, August 10.
When most of the Summer Fest action dies down, we welcome a handful of headline performers in more intimate spaces for Fest+ performances. At these ticketed events, you’ll get the chance to see some of the best artists in straight ahead and Latin jazz show off their chops in club-like settings.
Starting at 9pm on Saturday, August 9, catch Jerry González & the Fort Apache Band inside Theatre on San Pedro Square, a hidden gem of a space we often use for Winter Fest performances. At Blackbird Tavern that same night, the Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet host their descarga, an Afro-Cuban take on the jazz jam format. Wallace and his Quintet perform for the first half of the set, then flip the script by opening up the bandstand to guests who sign up to join in. There’s no telling who may take the bandstand or what tune might get called – don’t miss out on what could be a potentially magical night!
On Sunday evening, the Pedrito Martinez Group featuring Ariacne Trujillo play our last set of Summer Fest 25, welcoming listeners to the Blackbird Tavern stage starting at 9pm. Given the rave reviews Martinez has received – NPR’s All Things Considered said he and his group are “writing a new chapter in Cuban music history” – and his status as one of the most in-demand musicians on the New York jazz scene, this Fest+ set will be a great capstone for your Fest weekend.
In addition to these ticketed events, Summer Fest will host free live music at four different locations Friday and Saturday night from 9pm – 12am as part of our club crawl. Friday evening, we recommend Kat Parra, who recently headlined our International Jazz Day show at Blackbird Tavern, and Primary Colors, a project headed by vocalist Nate Pruitt and guitarist Rick Vandivier that stretches back roughly 20 years. On Saturday, be serenaded by the warm Brazilian sounds of Ed Johnson & Novo Tempo at Hyatt Place, or get into the R&B sounds of Alfie Dreifuss Dream Ensemble, featuring Clifford Coulter, inside the Fairmont’s Lobby Lounge. Visit our Club Crawl page for full listings.