Fest Five: Margot Helm

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Margot Helm is a swing dancer, teacher, DJ, photographer, and rabid jazz fan. In her spare time, she is a grant writer and database administrator for Silicon Valley Creates, and serves on the Board of Directors for San Jose Jazz. As a fairly recent transplant to the Bay Area, Margot is enjoying exploring the creative side of the South Bay, and feels blessed to be a part of two organizations that are committed to making Silicon Valley an even more vibrant place to live. Margot’s Fest Five is a list for her fellow dancers – these artists will get you out of your seat and moving all weekend long.

Marina & the Kats

I’m looking forward to kicking off my 2015 Summer Fest experience on Saturday morning at the Blues Stage, with Marina & the Kats. They’ve only got a few videos and teaser clips posted on their website right now, but this Austrian trio is absolutely adorable, and extremely danceable. Bring some extra cash – you’ll need a copy of their new CD for your library…

Clint Baker’s New Orleans Jazz Band

Clint Baker has been a favorite of Bay Area lindy hopper for years, and he only picks the best musicians to join him on stage. In addition to being able to play practically any traditional jazz song you can name – on any instrument, he’s also a walking encyclopedia of history and stories about the musicians who brought jazz music into the world. Pack your dance shoes, and come ready to swing out!

Davina and the Vagabonds

I love discovering new groups, and another act that I’m especially looking forward to checking out this year is Davina & the Vagabonds. Their influences include Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Fats Domino, and Davina has been compared to Etta James, Amy Winehouse, Billie Holiday and Betty Boop – sounds like a pretty tasty blend to me!

Bob Schulz Frisco Jazz Band

I have to thank the South Bay Traditional Jazz Society for bringing Bob Schulz Frisco Jazz Band back to the festival this summer – Richard and I had a great time listening to them last year, and couldn’t resist jumping up for the occasional dance in the aisles. Apologies in advance to the Gordon Biersch wait staff, who will likely suffer a repeat of these indiscretions…

Bria Skonberg

I’ve been a fan of Bria Skonberg since the first time I heard her play with her Hot Five, at Seattle’s Camp Jitterbug back in 2009. Lindy hoppers will also recognize her from performances with groups like Baby Soda and Glenn Cryzter’s Syncopators. She’s an incredible trumpet player, excellent singer, and a first class band leader. With any luck, she’ll have “a little something” in her set list for the dancers this time around!

What music gets you dancing? Salsa? Jazz? Blues? Check out our full Summer Fest lineup here to find the artists that will get you moving and up on your feet. Share your own Fest Five to info@sanjosejazz.org or by posting to our Facebook page. Also send a photo of yourself holding up five fingers, and you may be included in the blog as we count down to the Fest.