The Sacramento-based four-piece Mino Yanci seamlessly combines elements of jazz fusion, rock and hip hop. Their 2017 debut features propulsive rhythms and intricate harmonic landscapes. Their name translates to “Musical Freedom” in two African languages, which precisely captures the band’s artistic goal.
Synchronicity is a group of nine alumni from various Bay Area big bands, in the tradition of Kai Winding, J.J. Johnson, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Quincy Jones.
Jessica Lá Rel is a recording artist, songwriter and storyteller from Chicago. Her “cinematic soul” sound can be likened to an orchestra traveling from the south side of Chicago to Ghana. Known for her soaring vocals and thrilling live performances, Lá Rel releases her LP, War Love, later this year.
SOJ Big Band is a Silicon Valley Community Traditional Big Band composed entirely of volunteers, playing a variety of gospel, modern arrangements of hymns, contemporary praise music and traditional big band arrangements from the Big Band Era.
ConFunkShun has carried the torch of funk music for over four decades, and continues to be one of the most recognized bands in the genre today. Their chart-topping discography has influenced scores of artists and lives on through the new generation.
They’re not your grandparents’ big band—they bring some of the hippest beats and rhythms to the table, and they’re ready to get funky.
Known as the City of San Jose official Ambassador of Jazz, proclaimed by then Mayor Norman Y. Mineta in 1974, Eddie Gale is a world renown trumpeter pillar of the Bay Area jazz scene. As a musician, trumpeter, composer, publisher, recording artist and bandleader, Gale is a multi-faceted artist in the genre. This year, Gale celebrates his 50th year as a recording artist starting with the internationally known jazz label Blue Note Records.
Bay Area vocalist and songwriter Jessica Johnson captivates audiences from the moment she walks on stage, engaging listeners with her rich, sultry voice and R&B stylings.
Top Shelf Big Band brings the swinging sounds of live jazz and ballroom dancing to life. Enjoy vintage jazz and standards made famous by groups like Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Glenn Miller and Les Brown with this 17-piece orchestra.
The musical focus of the LGS Big Band is dance, jazz, Latin and vocals in all styles. The classics from Miller, Basie, Brown, and Goodman are among the featured songs as well as more modern works by arrangers such as Nestico, Goodwin, Carter, Hefti, Wolpe and more.
Whether encouraging an instrumentalist from behind the kit or unveiling her own kinetic solo, drummer Sylvia Cuenca is both a steady presence and an all-encompassing force on the bandstand. The San Jose native has played with jazz legends and leads her own all-star quartet at 2018 Summer Fest.
Silicon Valley is the home to a plethora of talented jazz musicians, and Thelonious Monk has written numerous jazz standards. So it’s a perfect pairing for the locally based musicians of the fledgling SJZ (a.k.a. San Jose Jazz) Collective to explore the rich songbook of this jazz master.
School of Rock is a performance based music school that strives to help students rock on stage and in life. The house band serves as ambassadors of the school by showcasing the program at various events in San Jose.
The Monterey Jazz Festival High School Honor Vocal Jazz Ensemble represents a top-flight cross-section of some of Monterey County’s finest young vocalists.
Retro Notes are a San Francisco Bay Area jazz band which combines elements of swing and jazz standards with contemporary vocals and rhythms. Alexandra Beltran’s sensual vocals and Bendik Kleveland’s velvety saxophone blend seamlessly to create a bewitching sound.
The Serenaders band was originally formed in 1983 and has been active in various forms ever since. Although the band has always highlighted jazz standards from the proverbial Great American Songbook, it has evolved to include big band and swing versions of contemporary jazz and popular music.
The Bay Area boasts a deep well of Brazilian musical richness, and Sandy Cressman has been one of its heralded practitioners and advocates. For over 20 years, the composer and vocalist explored Brazil’s vast post-bossa nova songbook and started to contribute her own songs to the rich tradition.
The Monterey Jazz Festival High School All-Stars are a top-flight ensemble of the finest young jazz musicians in Monterey County.
Legally Blue’s music is steeped in the vintage tradition of T-Bone Walker, B.B. King, the Allman Brothers, Gene Krupa and Jack McDuff, with a dose of Count Basie, Horace Silver and Billie Holiday.
Bassist Nick Panoutsos has become an increasingly prominent voice in the Bay Area jazz scene, with a rapidly growing freelance career in New York. His quartet features a mix of original music and re-imagined arrangements of jazz standards, drawing inspiration from the post-bop era of the 1960s.
Never Weather is a jazz-inspired quintet led by percussionist and composer, Dillon Vado. Dillon’s original compositions borrow influences of free jazz, rock and chamber music to make exciting arrangements that allow for genuine improvisations each performance.
Called by Billboard Magazine a group “that should be on your radar,” YASSOU is an indie art pop band that bridges the worlds of pop and classical art. Anchored by the mesmerizing vocals of Lilie Hoy, their multimedia productions are bold and emotional.
Jazz’s international parentage of African, Caribbean, European and native US musical traditions allows for many other of the world’s musical heritages to be interpreted. Grammy winner Aaron Lington delves into tango’s sensual sound with his new Plays the Music of Astor Piazzolla small group jazz project.
Whether leading his heralded Electric Squeezebox Orchestra big band or guiding the Young Musicians Program at the California Jazz Conservatory, trumpeter Erik Jekabson dance card is constantly full. For 2018 Summer Fest, he’ll lead his powerhouse quintet focusing on his fierce trumpeting skills.
Millennium Sounds Orchestra (MSO), formed in 1999, is one of the South Bay’s best-kept musical secrets. The MSO players are a mix of alumni from De Anza College, San Jose State, Hayward State and San Francisco State, among others.
Drums prodigy at only 16 years old, Genius Wesley returns for his second performance at this year’s San Jose Jazz Summer Fest. A Bay Area native, Wesley has been playing the drums since he was six years old. This standout artist’s sound is a melding of jazz, R&B and funk.
Mitch Woods and His Rocket 88’s have been the torchbearers of a great American blues musical heritage for three decades. Taking their inspiration from the great jump n’ boogie outfits of the late 40s and early 50s, they breathe fresh life into the music that gave birth to rock n’roll.
Blessed with abundant soul and fluent in hip-hop’s rhythms and flows, singer-songwriter-producer Goapele’s warm singing captures listeners’ hearts like a fond childhood memory. Since Closer, her debut release from 2001, the Oakland native has been known as a wise storyteller as well as an imparter of wisdom.
With a mystical combination of hip-hop, electronic and dub, blended with a smoky jazz aesthetic, Ghost & the City is an exciting new voice in the Oakland electronic soul scene founded by the likes of The Seshen, Goapele and Ledisi.
As a trombonist, bandleader, educator, producer and label chief, trombonist Wayne Wallace is a Northern Californian institution through and through. His Latin Jazz Septet, in turn, unites some of the finest locally based instrumentalists for a crisp exploration of Afro-Caribbean, jazz and Cuban folkloric styles.
The Swing Solution is a classic big band specializing in music from the ’40s through the swing revival of the ’90s and beyond.
With a velvet voice rich as smooth wine, Jackie Gage possesses a musical grace that channels torch singers of decades past, mixing elements of jazz, soul and R&B into her music, which nods to the future of jazz.
The Ames Jazz Band (AJB) is a 17-piece band that is a part of the Club of the NASA Ames Exchange. Be sure to bring your dancing shoes because the big band performs a variety of music including the foxtrot, cha-cha, tango, rock and jazz.
Since 1999, Octobop has presented a musical tour through the 1950s showcasing this incredible period for jazz music on the West Coast including innovations in sound, harmony and arranging which impacted how and where we listen to music today. At this year’s San Jose Jazz Summer Fest, Octobop celebrates the release of their seventh album Live at Savanna Jazz.
Full Spectrum Big Band Jazz has delighted audiences with traditional and modern big band sounds since 1996. Performance styles range from laid-back Count Basie swing to poly-rhythmic modern Latin. FSJ has a diverse catalog of exceptional music, including original compositions and venerable jazz standards.
The Oakland-based Meernaa have a gift for balancing intimate songs with immersive psychedelic arrangements. Most notable is Carly Bond’s transfixing voice which emits an elastic melody and tone that are perfectly suited to tackle the complexities of the group’s songs.
Evan Thomas captures a down home essence, the foot stomping and head–nodding style, of the old Mississippi delta blues tone. It’s the grit, in his soulful voice and his crying guitar which sets him apart.
Directed by musician and educator “Mr. Clifford” Samoranos, San Jose Jazz presents the youngest group of Jazz vocalists, guitarists and pianists at Summer Fest with Mr. Clifford’s Young Jazz All Stars.
10-piece Orquesta Borínquen is one of the Bay Area’s longest-running salsa groups. Boasting a four-piece horn section rooted in Latin soul, Borínquen performs a vast repertoire that spans from salsa dura to salsa romantica.
From its origins combining African rhythms and European harmonies, jazz has thrived through addition. Kat Parra brings Ladino—Judeo-Esponyol from the Sephardic Diaspora—as well as Portuguese, Spanish and English to her linguistic palette and emotive singing to her pan-American, Caribbean and Middle Eastern songbook.
The East Bay Jazz High School All-Stars are an after-school program for high school jazz musicians interested in high-caliber musical performance.
From the American Songbook to folk classics, Paula West sings with a creative impulse to make each song her own. Inspired by musicians like Bob Dylan, West adapts a wide variety of music into a jazz context. Both her studio albums and live performances brim with soulful sophistication and imagination.
Born in Kentucky and raised in Vallejo, soulful post-bop alto saxophonist Vincent Herring has played with jazz giants such as trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and vibraphone pioneer Lionel Hampton. He now surveys jazz music’s century-plus history with “The Story of Jazz: 100 Years” featuring vocalist and narrator Nicolas Bearde.
Footnotes Jazz is a San Francisco Bay Area jazz ensemble that showcases contemporary and original music classics.
The Arnie Co Nonet features rising musicians from all around the Bay Area, and looks to celebrate the unique sounds of chamber jazz ensembles old and new. The Nonet will perform compositions by pianist Arnie Co, in addition to arrangements by Miles Davis, Christian McBride, Alan Ferber and many more.
Educator and musician, Jemal Ramirez has been a life-long promoter of music in the Bay Area. As a rhythm section player, Ramirez always appreciated more contemporary roles for the rhythm section that followed in the footsteps of Weather Report, Brecker Brothers and the Billy Cobham/George Duke bands.
Saxophonist Kristen Strom has been one of the mainstays of the Bay Area jazz scenes for nearly two decades, playing with leading bands and helming the Kristen Strom Quintet. In this new project, she interprets the compositions of a legendary local hero: bassist John Shifflett, who passed in 2017.
Mariachi Los Toritos aims to be a positive impact for young aspiring musicians and local youths in the community by sharing the Mariachi culture while advocating for its traditional preservation.
Joining forces on the Summer Fest bandstand, vibraphonist Christian Tamburr and trumpeter Dominick Farinacci form a potent duo whose music is forward-thinking and emotive. Both musicians represent the future of jazz as a globalized artform, performing and teaching everywhere from Qatar to Tokyo.
The Gail Dobson’s Vocals for Kids with the Gail Dobson Band is a remarkable group of young singers and musicians who will feature the music of Gershwin, Jobin, Sting, Michael Jackson, Pharoah Sanders and more, surrounding the theme of “Peace on Earth.”
Ratatet is an electro-acoustic sextet from the San Francisco Bay Area which features a front line of bassoon, trombone and vibraphone led by drummer and composer Alan Hall. The group’s all original music is a combination of jazz, American pop, impressionism, blues, and various South American styles and rhythms.
Oakadelic is a funk, soul and R&B collective at the heart of the Bay Area’s funk scene. Primarily an instrumental ensemble led by horns, the group combines its roots in ‘50s and ‘60s jazz improvisation with an extension to ‘70s and ‘80s funk.
Jazz guitarist and composer/arranger Mason Razavi returns to the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest with his nonet to perform selections from the Quartet Plus and Quartet Plus Volume 2 albums and to debut all new music.
For more than 40 years, The Lyratones have delighted Bay Area dancers with their authentic renditions of the most popular hits from famous big bands of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, with recent big band hits mixed in as well.
Master percussionist John Santos is a leading voice in Afro-Latin music. His performances combine Latin and Afro-Caribbean traditions, infused with jazz throughout. Santos is joined by veteran percussionist Orestes Vilató, vocalist Bobi Céspedes and multi-instrumentalist José Roberto Hernández.
South Bay Big Band Jazz started as a community ensemble more than 15 years ago. This lively 18-piece big band performs a variety of jazz tunes ranging from blues and Latin to swing and standards.