Fest Five: Victor Espino

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San Jose native and longtime downtown resident Victor Espino is an active member of the community; he has volunteered at many downtown events and is a current board member at MACLA, a contemporary arts space which engages the community with visual and performance arts as well as youth programs.

Victor’s Fest Five is more of a wish list. Every year, prior to the festival, he heavily researches artists to make a game plan. Inevitably, his plan goes out the window when he hears an act walking from one stage to another, or runs into friends that steer him to a completely different stage. He finds a band he never expected to see, and of course, that’s the band that blows his mind. Victor wanted to highlight how Summer Fest brings this sense of community and an exposure to new acts. The following performances are ones that he will be sure not to miss, but he’s also looking forward to surprise acts along the way. If you see him grooving over the weekend, feel free to join him and say hi.

Tower of Power

This one is not an option. My parents used to listen to TOP on Saturday mornings while cleaning the house. Their music is in my bones. These guys are going strong after 40 years and still manage to sound contemporary. This one is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Villalobos Brothers

I’m really looking forward to this show. I heard about these guys on NPR then saw them perform on the Latin Grammy Awards. They’ve mixed classical training with their mariachi roots and have created something completely unique. If you like strings you’ll get plenty of them with these guys.

Marina and the Kats

I love bands that borrow from different genres and take something familiar but make it their own. I like this Austrian trio performing traditional American swing music. This one will be just the right amount of energy to kick start the Saturday schedule. I’ll see you at the Blues Stage!

Aaron Lington Quintet Plays Burt Bacharach

I caught the very end of their set in 2013 when they played the music of Stevie Wonder and I promised myself not to miss them the next time around. Here they are playing in a great venue (Café Stritch) on Saturday evening. If you’re a Bacharach sentimentalist like me you’ll be all over this act.

Ali Shaheed Muhammad

I’m not sure what to expect, but anything associated with A Tribe Called Quest is not going to disappoint. Props to the San Jose Jazz organizers for making room for this kind of exploration at the Jazz Beyond stage. Come to this show ready to dance!


What performances will you be sure not to miss this year?  Explore our entire Summer Fest 2015 lineup here, and share the top five artists you’re excited to see at the fest by emailing info@sanjosejazz.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 blog as Summer Fest approaches.