Arturo Riera is an active member of the Bay Area arts and cultural community. A long-standing member of the Board of Directors of San Jose Jazz, he served two years as Board Chair and was given the distinction of the organizations’s first Chairman Emeritus Award for his service in 2010. In April 2007, Arturo was elected Chair of the Board of San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Arts and Events and serves as Vice-Chair, producer of the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival.
A co-founder of The Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble (LJYE) of San Francisco, Arturo serves as the group’s Managing Director. He co-produced LJYE’s three CDs, LJYE Live at Yoshi’s, released in January 2006 and Generaciones, released in January 2010 and Con Mis Manos in January 2015. With August fast approaching, Mr. Arturo Riera shares some of his standouts – all dripping with a fiery Latin flair – scheduled to perform at this year’s Summer Fest.
Thanks to a grant from the Castellano Family Foundation, the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest’s Latin programming has become one of the festival’s key attractions. It is easy to think you have heard the best of the best just by attending NEA Jazz Master Eddie Palmieri’s performance on the Main Stage and you would be right. Palmieri’s Latin Jazz Band is one of my Fest 5 picks.
Opening the Summer Fest is Cuban percussionist Jesus Diaz, who will present a real Cuban Rumba! Rumba is a Cuban song style played relying heavily of the African tradition of call-and-chant singing to the beat of congas, palito and clave. This is a cultural tradition where the entire community participates by dancing and singing. If you can’t make it to Havana in 2015, Diaz will bring authentic Cuban Rumba to San Jose Jazz Summer Fest on Friday night. This event is FREE!
Many Latin greats have come out of the Palmieri Band and trombonist Doug Beavers is one of them! Beavers has emerged as a bandleader, songwriter and arranger known for his hard-driving New York salsa band and sound, Titanes del Trombón. (Titans of the Trombone). Summer Fest will feature the West Coast release of his new album of the same name. The band is composed of many bandleaders in their own right such as Grammy winner Oscar Hernandez on piano (Spanish Harlem Orchestra) and Luisito Quintero on timbales (2014 Grammy nominee for 3rd Element). NOTE: Beavers will be the opening salsa act at the Club Miami. The Salsa stage will not be erected till Saturday.
Brazil has a rich musical tradition with its many regions contributing their own unique sound. Letieres Leite & Orkestra Rumpilezz is an award-winning 20-piece ensemble from Bahia, Brazil, that plays an intoxicating mixture of the percussive rhythms of candomblé and the big band jazz tradition. You will not stop moving!
Spanish pianist, Alex Conde, and his highly regarded release, Descarga for Monk, combine the sounds of Gitano Flamenco with jazz for a tantalizing presentation. Backed up by Jeff Chambers (bass), Timothy Angulo (drums) and John Santos (percussion), Conde’s set will also incorporate some of the best local Flamenco dancers for quite a how. Frankly, I could recommend 5 more acts equally as exciting and that is what makes San Jose Jazz Summer Fest such a special experience. More music than one could ever hope to see, in all its amazing flavors and colors, in one place!
We want to hear about your Fest Five; share the top five artists you’re excited to see at the fest by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or posting your list on our Facebook page. Include a photo of you holding up five fingers, and we may include you in our list as we count down to the fest.