New venues, new artists, new works and new Summer Fest initiatives. Maybe you’ve heard musings of us activating South First Street, giving salsa dancers a better place to spin, tuning in to the global soundscape and celebrating in the wee hours with Jazz Beyond. Here are five great new things to check out this year!
The San Jose Suite
CROSS-CONTINENT COMMISSION DEBUTS AT SUMMER FEST
At this Summer Fest we are very proud to present young trumpeter Etienne Charles in the world premiere of his new San Jose Suite, commissioned by San Jose Jazz with the generosity of Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
The San Jose Suite reflects the stories, rituals, native chants, rhythms and other cultural elements that helped shape San Jose, California; San Jose, Costa Rica; and Charles’ native St. Joseph, Trinidad. This musical odyssey will take place through a mix of composition and improvisation, with each movement of the 75-minute piece introducing historical icons, traditions and milestone events in the history of the three cities.
Through his explorations into each city’s indigenous population as well as its connections to the African Diaspora, Charles notes that he discovered “in each city, there was the presence of conquest, resistance and community.” You can read a full account of what Charles encountered while researching this material on our Summer Fest Blog.
The San Jose Suite will be performed at the California Theatre Stage on Saturday August 8, 3pm. Please note, this premium venue requires an All Stages, Priority Access or VIP pass.
San Jose Jazz is committed to commissioning new works and showcasing international acts seldom or never seen by Bay Area audiences. The San Jose Suite is a prime example, as well as our spearheading grant efforts to bring Letieres Leite & Orkestra Rumpilezz from Bahia, Brazil to embark on their first stateside tour.
This performance of the San Jose Suite is also funded in part by the Castellano Family Foundation.
JAZZ MEETS FUNK MEETS NEO-SOUL MEETS HIP HOP
There is a long-standing relationship between hip hop and jazz — and this intersection is a key driver for the adventurous music offered in our Jazz Beyond initiative.
Since 2010, San Jose Jazz has partnered with Universal Grammar to present a distinguished list of artists pushing the boundaries of jazz in new, unexpected directions. Past names have included Robert Glasper, José James, Thundercat, J Rocc, Karriem Riggins, Knxwledge, Taylor McFerrin, Kris Bowers, Kendrick Scott Oracle, Marc Cary Focus Trio and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. This year, we add four more forward-thinking voices to that list: Will Sessions, The Internet, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Kamasi Washington.
In conjunction with the South FIRST FRIDAYS Art Walk & STREET MARKT on Friday August 9, two very contemporary acts will appear on the Jazz Beyond Stage: Detroit’s Will Sessions and LA’s rising stars, The Internet. Will Sessions has collaborated with George Clinton, Aretha Franklin, Mayer Hawthorne, and Emimem — names that both speak to the band’s pedigree and their in-demand sound. Initially known as an outgrowth of hip hop collective Odd Future, The Internet has since released three critically acclaimed albums. Their latest, Ego Death, is already hailed as one of the best R&B albums of 2015.
The worlds of jazz and hip hop collide on Saturday August 8, when A Tribe Called Quest’s Ali Shaheed Muhammad does a DJ set on the Jazz Beyond Stage at The Continental. A leading voice in hip hop’s Native Tongues movement, A Tribe Called Quest helped orchestrate the sonic blueprint for a sound that relied heavily on sampled jazz records.
The Jazz Beyond story comes full circle with tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington on Sunday August 9. Though his first tour as a performer was in support of Snoop Dogg and he recently worked on Kendrick Lamar’s universally acclaimed To Pimp a Butterfly, Washington has also worked with jazz greats Harvey Mason and Stanley Clarke. His recent debut, the Epic, is a sprawling 172 minute tale firmly rooted in jazz.
With these very exciting artists, we continue to challenge notions of what can be called “jazz” in today’s sonic landscape.
THREE TITANS OF THE DRUM WORLD CONVERGE AT THIS YEAR’S FEST
Dancing along to the sounds of Summer Fest artists is essential for many Fest patrons who love the rhythms of R&B, funk, swing, salsa and more. This year, we are proud to bring you three drum masters guaranteed to get you on your feet!
On Saturday August 8, Grammy Award-winning drummer Terri Lyne Carrington takes the Kaiser Permanente Main Stage with the latest edition of her Mosaic Project: LOVE & SOUL. Carrington’s resume is a who’s who of the jazz world, including stints with luminaries like Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Stan Getz, Pharoah Sanders, David Sanborn, Esperanza Spalding and dozens more. She’s even gained broad recognition on national TV as drummer of the Arsenio Hall Show, as well as VIBE, hosted by Sinbad. Featuring star R&B vocalists Ledisi, Oleta Adams and Jaguar Wright, the LOVE & SOUL concert is sure to be a vehicle for Terri Lyne’s jaw-dropping technique.
Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste is the most renowned drummer to emerge from the musical hotbed that is New Orleans. Given the quality of musicianship that the Crescent City continually churns out, that’s truly saying something. Though he’s best known as the founding drummer of The Meters, Modeliste has also recorded with Keith Richards, Dr. John and others. Modeliste’s work is also widely appreciated by hip hop audiences, though they might not even know it — his beats have been sampled by artists like Run-D.M.C. and A Tribe Called Quest. He leads his band on the Alaska Airlines Big Easy Stage, Saturday August 8.
Closing out the Umpqua Bank Stage on Sunday August 9, monster drummer Mike Clark appears alongside B-3 organist Wil Blades and saxophonist Haley Niswanger as Clark, Blades & Niswanger. Clark’s name leads the trio for good reason: he was part of Herbie Hancock’s legendary ‘70s band, The Headhunters, laying down some of the most emulated and sampled beats in jazz history on landmark albums such as Thrust and Man-Child. He has an immense resume, playing behind such jazz icons as Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson and Bobby Hutcherson.
We haven’t even mentioned all the phenomenal percussionists appearing at the Fest, such as Jesus Diaz, Braulio Barrera, Christian Pepin, Karl Perazzo, Michael Spiro and many others. Suffice to say — if you like rhythm you will not be disappointed!
Leteires Leite & Orkestra Rumpilezz
BRAZILIAN BIG BAND MAKES ITS U.S. DEBUT
We are delighted to present an international treasure from Bahia, Brazil, making its first appearance on American shores. As the lead organization on a Southern Exposure grant to bring Letieres Leite & Orkestra Rumpilezz to the U.S., San Jose Jazz worked alongside SFJAZZ, Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Rhythm Foundation in Miami to enable this 20-piece big band to travel stateside. With additional support from the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Orkestra Rumpilezz will perform for the Summer Fest on the Kaiser Permanente Main Stage, Saturday August 8 at 4pm.
The unique sound of saxophonist Leite and his Orkestra is an intoxicating mixture of the percussive rhythms of candomblé and the big band tradition that merges jazz and classical music. Their efforts have earned them a Brave Award for “Best Album” and the Brazilian Music Award for “Best Instrumental Group.” They’ve also performed with jazz heavy hitters like Joshua Redman, Ed Motta, Nivaldo Ornelas and Stanley Jordan.
This Orkestra Rumpilezz appearance represents a strong desire on the part of San Jose Jazz to take a leading role in creating original works and presenting artists previously unseen by Bay Area audiences. Similarly, we have commissioned Etienne Charles to compose and perform his San Jose Suite, the world premiere of which will take place at the California Theatre Stage on Saturday August 8 at 3pm.
Rebirth of the SoFA District
SUMMER FEST JOINS UP WITH SOUTH FIRST FRIDAYS ON AUG 7
San Jose Jazz celebrates the SoFA neighborhood’s exciting new developments, putting a spotlight on its increasing concentration of music and arts venues. We are excited to partner with South FIRST FRIDAYS Art Walk + STREET MRKT on Friday, August 7 at 7pm, for a monthly happening that coincides with the festival weekend for only the first time in seven years!
Summer Fest will explode throughout the city on 13 stages, packing clubs in the buzzy SoFA District like Cafe Stritch, The Continental and the Miami Beach Club, as well as two standout theater venues — the California Theater and San Jose Stage Company Theater (aka the Umpqua Bank Stage).
The sounds of jazz from across the world will also spill out onto the two-block stretch of South First Street from San Carlos Street down to William Street. First Street will be alive and full of artist booths, one-of-a-kind craft makers, performing artists, creators of all types AND three music stages!
The Jazz Beyond Stage features adventurous music, starting at 7pm with Detroit’s deeply funky Will Sessions. Then from LA at 9pm is The Internet, one of the most talked-about groups on the modern R&B and neo-soul scene.
Located near First and San Salvador is the SJZ Boom Box Stage, where you’ll find Jesus Diaz & Rumba Cubana at 7pm and direct from Mexico City, Sonex at 8pm. Our Friday night Salsa Dance Party begins at 9pm with New York-based Doug Beavers’ Titanes del Trombón, indoors at the Miami Beach Club.
Don’t miss this Friday night at Summer Fest, where you can explore ALL the great things going on in San Jose’s SoFA District!