Fest Five: “Festologist” Jonathan Gonzalez

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Jonathan Gonzalez has been a long-time fan and supporter of San Jose Jazz. In the past, you’d find Jonathan working alongside the info team at Summer Fest, always answering Fest inquiries with a smile.

This year, he takes on the role of “Festologist,” providing VIP attendees with their personal Summer Fest concierge. Love an artist or sound and need some recommendations on what else to see? Find him in the VIP area Saturday and Sunday near the Sobrato Organization Main Stage.

When he’s not catering Fest line-ups, he hopes to check out the following five acts this year:

Jazz by 5, with Javon Jackson, George Cables, Randy Brecker, Eddie Gomez & Jimmy Cobb
Sun, Aug 13 @ 2pm, Sobrato Organization Main Stage

I’ve been told I’m an old soul, and my profound love of classic jazz that’s swingin, be-boppin, and straight (with no chaser) likely supports that notion. This Jazz By 5 ensemble of superbly talented jazz musicians, whose skills have been enlisted by a vast list of other greats, makes this a set and experience that is not to be missed.

Robert Glasper Experiment
Sat Aug 12 @ 4pm, Sobrato Organization Main Stage

I simply cannot miss an opportunity to catch a Robert Glasper set. I’d venture to say that even if you catch back-to-back performances, it’s never quite the same, but rather a new experience every time he sits in front of his keys (which takes my FOMO to a whole new level). Though Mr. Glasper’s sound isn’t traditionally classic jazz, it’s loaded with hints of it throughout his compositions and arrangements. Above all, I feel his base and creativity keep with the roots of jazz’s evolving feelings, thoughts, heart, and soul.

Howard Wiley & Extra Nappy
Fri Aug 11 @ 8:15pm SJZ Boom Box Stage

I’m definitely diggin’ these “improvisation-laced arrangements,” as mentioned in the bio of this group coming to the very hip SJZ Boom Box Stage this year. Howard Wiley & Extra Nappy will deliver a performance where you’ll the full spectrum of jazz meshing together. You’ll also feel the unfiltered thoughts, heart, & soul being shared by this group of talented musicians. Definitely a spot to mark on the agenda at this year’s Summer Fest.

Mikailo Kasha Group
Sat Aug 12 @ 6pm SJMA Next Gen Stage

One of my joys at Summer Fest is the SJMA Next Gen Stage, where you get to see young talent embarking and upholding the jazz tradition. One group that evoking that classic sound and feel that’s so dear to my heart and ears is the Mikailo Kasha Group. With local ties to the Bay Area, their mentorship(s), and the accomplished list of who they’ve already shared the stage with, they are surely a set worth catching as they set to take this beloved genre called jazz into the future.

Posi-Tone Records Showcase
Art Hirahara
Fri Aug 11 @ 6pm, Heritage Bank Cafe Stritch Stage
Roxy Coss/Josh Lawrence
Fri Aug 11 @ 8pm, Heritage Bank Cafe Stritch Stage

For my 5th pick, I’m going to cheat and go with the Posi-Tone Records Showcase on Friday evening. Featured artists Art Hirahara, Roxy Coss, and Josh Lawrence will be a perfect fit for the intimate Cafe Stritch. Straight ahead jazz is definitely how I like to kick off my Summer Fest weekend!

Let us know your Fest Five by sharing it with us online using hashtag #SJZsummerfest. If you haven’t purchased your Summer Fest passes yet, you can do so here. Keep up with our Summer Fest updates by following San Jose Jazz on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.