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Festivals Report

San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2015

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San Jose Jazz Fest

26th Annual San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2015
SAVE THE DATE: Friday, August 7 to Sunday, August 9, 2015
Plaza de César Chavez Park, Downtown San Jose, CA
Event Info: summerfest.sanjosejazz.org

Silicon Valley’s premier annual music event, San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2015 returns for its 26th festival season from Friday, August 7 to Sunday, August 9, 2015 in and around Plaza de César Chavez Park in downtown San Jose, CA. A showcase for jazz and related genres, Summer Fest is also nationally recognized as one of the biggest Latin festivals in the country, and a standout summer destination for music lovers, concert-goers and families alike with its 12 stages of live music pulling in tens of thousands of visitors to downtown throughout the weekend.

Over the years, San Jose Jazz embraces its steadfast commitment to only presenting today’s most distinguished acts at one of North America’s foremost festivals: GRAMMY® Award-winning artists, the hottest salsa and Latin bands in the world, classic jazz pioneers, world music stars, the top Bay Area emerging musicians, and trend-setting hip-hop, R&B, and soul artists composing at the bleeding edge of jazz.

For the third year in a row, Summer Fest features the Big Easy Stage and, along with the Blues Stage, this dynamic “Heritage Area” of the festival offers special food and drink options in one of San Jose’s most historic districts. The Big Easy Stage showcases the best of New Orleans jazz and zydeco. The Blues Stage has moved to be closer to the center of the action to make it easier to sample within an often-hectic festival schedule. Now a festival favorite, San Jose Jazz presents the uber-popular “Big Easy Parade” from Plaza de César Chavez Park to the Big Easy Stage on Saturday, August 8, to kick off the first concert on that stage. Family friendly activities also continue to expand near the Next Gen Stage, and San Jose Jazz’s “Summer Jazz Camp” will once again perform a set of music on Sunday, Aug. 9 at 11:30 am, opening the Main Stage.

San Jose Jazz proudly presents dynamic programs that foster a positive social and economic impact on the greater community. Its annual Winter Fest (February & March) serves as a unique lab for artists pushing the boundaries of jazz, which extends to the summer offerings on Summer Fest’s Jazz Beyond Stage. Economically, Summer Fest alone brings in more than $12 million to downtown San Jose. Through its year-round youth education programs, more than 100 free live music events each year, and unparalleled commitment to providing performance and classroom opportunities for elementary, middle and high school music students, San Jose Jazz is thrilled to contribute to the national arts movement benefiting the lives of hundreds of thousands of adults and children.

Get ready for an unprecedented line-up of acclaimed artists and the best in Bay Area music talent at the 26th San Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2015!

2015 Lineup includes: Brian Culbertson • John Pizzarelli • Storm Large • Eddie Palmieri Latin Jazz Band, Kamasi Washington • The Internet • Terri Lyne Carrington’s Love & Soul w/ Ledisi,Will Sessions • Zydeco Flames • Rumbaché • Glen David Andrews • Bombay Jazz, Sax Appeal w/ Javon Jackson, Jimmy Heath, Gary Bartz & Donald Harrison • Con Brio, Etienne Charles: San Jose Suite • Bria Skonberg • Zigaboo Modeliste • Le Boeuf Brothers, Alex Conde & Descarga for Monk • Shai Maestro • Doug Beavers’ Titanes del Trombón, Davina & the Vagabonds • Ernesto Oviedo w/ the John Santos Sextet • Villalobos Brothers, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound • Letieres Leite & Orkestra Rumpilezz • Wee Willie Walker, Chihiro Yamanaka Trio • Ali Shaheed Muhammad • Jesus Diaz & Rumba Cubana, Clark, Blades & Niswanger • Kim Nalley w/ Kenny Washington • Selwyn Birchwood, Tebo’s Howlin’ Wolf Revue • Charenee Wade’s Gil Scott-Heron Project • & many more!


San Jose Jazz Festival

Latin Jazz Network is a project dedicated to the advancement of Latin jazz and its creators. Since 2000 LJN has been spreading the word about this wonderful music known under the umbrella term: LATIN JAZZ.

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Festivals Report

TD Toronto Jazz Festival – June 24 to July 3, 2022

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TD Toronto Jazz Fest 2022

10 Days of Free Shows — Say What!

My TD Toronto Jazz Festival started mid festival, Tuesday, June 28th, early evening. It was all about Juno winners and nominees. The first act, Sammy Jackson and her quartet performing at the TD Main Stage at the OLG Grove.

Sammy Jackson - Photo by Paul J. Youngman
Sammy Jackson – Photo by Paul J. Youngman

Sammy Jackson won a Juno for vocal jazz album of the year. Her band, made up of Jackson on Vocals, Thomas Fleming – guitar, Chris Pruden – keys, Mark Godfrey – bass and Ian Wright playing the drums. Jackson sang songs from her award winning 5-track EP With You, featuring original compositions. Sammy Jackson added some songs from her 2016 release, the 5-track EP Take Me Back, to make for an enjoyable hour long performance. Jackson’s songs are about joy, vulnerability, long distance relationships, and love. Jackson blends jazz, R&B, soul and pop with her beautiful voice.

Sammy Jackson - Photo by Paul J. Youngman
Sammy Jackson – Photo by Paul J. Youngman

Jackson covers an impressive vocal range, and her phrasing is delightful. Jackson shines on the ballads. I especially enjoyed “Bad Reception” and “Every Time We Say Goodbye”.

Sammy Jackson concluded her show with one dedicated to her son, entitled “Chuckie”, a toddler who happened to be in the audience and made a cameo at the front of the stage. This tune was upbeat and had a happy go lucky, dance groove to get everybody moving.

I spoke with Jackson after the show, I asked her if she noticed the Juno enhancing her career? She said, “I think it’s why I’m here. The Juno increased my exposure. So that’s great. Thank you Juno!”

Kellylee Evans - Photo by Danilo Navas
Kellylee Evans – Photo by Danilo Navas

Kellylee Evans performed the evening of the 28th and I was not going to miss her concert at the TD Main Stage. Kellylee Evans was in great vocal form and in accompaniment with a wonderful band made up of Joel Visentin – keyboards, Mark Godfrey – bass, Rich Grossman – guitar, and Ian Wright on drums.

Evans has suffered some serious physical setbacks in her recovery from a tragic accident in 2013. She has an injury that is effecting her ability to walk and even to stand. She performed the show from a sitting position.

Kellylee Evans - Photo by Danilo Navas
Kellylee Evans – Photo by Danilo Navas

Evans puts her heart and soul into her singing. She is a Juno winner for vocal jazz album of the year for Nina, released in 2010. One of my favourite vocal jazz albums.

This evening, Evans performed songs from her new 5-song EP Green Light as well as many others. A beautiful, dynamic, high energy performance—even from her seated position.

Alexis Baró Quintet - Photo by Paul J. Youngman
Alexis Baró Quintet – Photo by Paul J. Youngman

I started off Wednesday, the 29th with the amazing trumpet playing of Alexis Baró. The Alexis Baró Quintet was performing at the TD Stage at Festival Village in Yorkville.

I really enjoy Baró’s trumpet playing. I think he is one of the most expressive players in the Afro Cuban style. Baró performed songs from his new album Ma Raiz.

Larnell Lewis Band - Photo by Paul J. Youngman
Larnell Lewis Band – Photo by Paul J. Youngman

I only stuck around for a few of the songs as Joy Lapps and Larnell Lewis were performing at the TD Main Stage at the OLG Grove, a few streets south. It is most unfortunate to have these scheduling conflicts. However, It is amazing to have so much talent at one festival.

Joy Lapps and Larnell Lewis performed on the TD Main Stage Wednesday the 29th – a dynamite performance. The band, made up of Larnell Lewis – drums, Joy Lapps – steelpan, Jeremy Ledbetter – piano, Elmer Ferrer – guitar, Rob Christian – woodwinds, Andrew McAnsh – trumpet and Marc Manhertz – bass.

Larnell Lewis Band with Joy Lapps - Photo by Paul J. Youngman
Larnell Lewis Band with Joy Lapps – Photo by Paul J. Youngman

“Rejoice” was the title of one of the songs performed and to hear this band is to rejoice. When I listen to Larnell Lewis play I feel the pulse through my soul. I think this is the most heartful drummer I have ever heard. His music is uplifting, powerful, dynamic, his beats, fills and rhythms, just outstanding. He shares his heart with the audience, nothing is left on the stage. 

Now to get ready for a return to Koerner Hall, after 2 years of isolation, for one of the few ticketed events, the Gregory Porter band. Excited? Yes, indeed!

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