What’s New: Friday Night Kickoff

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You asked for a place where you can really spin – and we heard you! For over 20 years, salsa dancers have come out in droves to celebrate the summer and enjoy the Salsa Stage. This year, we’re kicking off Summer Fest with a nod to that history. On Friday evening, we’re featuring dynamic, fusion-inspired musical performances on two stages, free of charge, as part of the South First Fridays Art Walk. After, join us for a salsa dance party into the night that you won’t want to miss.

Jesus Diaz Presents “Rumba Cubana/A Cuban Rumba” will start the night at 7PM in the heart of the SoFA District. A transplant to the Bay Area from his native Havana, Cuba since 1980, Diaz and his band are credited with being among the first timba groups to appear in the U.S. Their sound blends salsa, funk, and Afro-Cuban folkloric music that is sure to beckon even the shyest of dancers.

Immediately after, National Geographic Channel honoree Sonex will take the stage. Giving voice to roots music of Veracruz, Mexico, the band plays son jarocho music along with elements of jazz, funk, hip hop, reggae, and flamenco.  Though son jarocho music has long been an important part of Veracruz culture, Sonex is paving the way for a new breed of fans to the genre with their fusion style.

Down the street at the Jazz Beyond Stage at First and Williams streets, fest goers can enjoy Detroit jazz fusion band Will Sessions, who open the stage at 7pm. Their music hearkens back to the golden age of funk with influences from R&B, hip hop, reggae, and jazz. They are known the world over for their eclectic instrumentation, unadulterated funk, and keeping the Detroit music scene thriving. Will Sessions will be followed by buzzing LA neo-soul group the Internet.

Festivities will culminate in the true spirit of salsa with a dance party as fest goers revel in the music of GRAMMY® Award winner and trombone master Doug Beavers. Originally from Oakland, California, Beavers’ new release, Titánes del Trombón, honors fellow trombone greats of the jazz and Latin idioms while highlighting his own skills as an orchestrator. Beavers has emerged as a bandleader, songwriter, and arranger known for his hard driving New York salsa band and sound.  The band is a powerhouse composed of many bandleaders in their own right, including award-winning musicians Oscar Hernandez and Luisito Quintero. For Beavers, this new album serves not only as a tribute to some of his own heroes, but as living proof that he’s poised to join them in the upper echelon of Latin jazz trombonists and composers. Summer Fest will feature the West Coast premiere of the album.

Since salsa has always been an integral component to the success of Summer Fest, celebrating our Friday festivities with a dedicated dance party seemed the perfect way to give patrons what they want. As Artistic Director Bruce Labadie mentions, “it’s about giving people a wonderful way to meet, dance, and enjoy San Jose’s great weather in a communal gathering.”

The party starts at 9PM at Miami Beach Club and we’ll be dancing until midnight. For entrance information, please visit our ticket page.

To find out more about the many events happening Friday evening at Summer Fest, or to view the entire weekend schedule, please visit our line-up page.