There’s a lot to like this year San Jose Summer Jazz Festival.
Yes, of course, there’s always a lot to like about this incredible festival – which brings together some of the best talent in jazz, world music, blues and other genres on multiple stages in downtown San Jose each August.
Still, this lineup is packed with cool actors, including headliners like Lee Fields, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Leela James, Stanley Clarke, and Ledisi.
Overall, more than 90 artists are scheduled to perform on 12 stages – indoors and outdoors – during the three-day festival, which runs August 12-14 at Plaza de Cesar Chavez in downtown San Carlos. from San Jose (enter at the ticket stand at the south end of the plaza.)
Shows that take place in the San Jose Jazz break room will also be available live.
Details and tickets are available at summerfest.sanjosejazz.org.
Here are 10 of our favorites for Summer Fest 2022, organized in chronological order.
Chung is a Bay Area bassist, songwriter, and producer, who has released a full album of original songs — titled “Sounds of Haejin” — as well as the “Citizen Jazz Tribute to the Great Nina Simone” EP. Earlier this year, Chung and his band Citizen Jazz — along with a rotating roster of local musicians — performed material from Simone’s classic “Silk & Soul” record during two sold-out concerts at the SFJAZZ Center.
Details: 6 p.m. August 12, Break Room Stage
One of the most accomplished blues players in the Bay Area, Smith has shared stages with playing legends such as Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin, BB King, Pinetop Perkins and Buddy Miles. He’s a terrific vocalist and guitarist, leading his band to such recognition by being named West Coast Blues Band of the Year in 2006 by the Bay Area Blues Society.
Details: 6:30 p.m. August 12, Blues/Big Easy Stage
Noted saxophonist Kamasi Washington once described Graves’ musical style as an “almost unbelievable combination of modal jazz, Romantic-era European classical music, and mathematical death metal.” And, yes, it does look very appealing to us. So listen to this pianist-composer – who was influenced by both Herbie Hancock and Slipknot – perform his own brand of “jazz thrash”.
Details: 9 p.m. August 12, Montgomery Theater
The Houston blues singer is another great addition to the Little Village Foundation label, which does so much to give some much-needed attention to some very deserving talent. Greenleaf, who has three Blues Music Awards under her belt, does a great job showcasing her terrific blues vocals on her Little Village debut, “I Ain’t Playin’.”
Details: 2:45 p.m. August 13, Blues/Big Easy Stage
The group Bay Area, which has its roots in Afro-Cuban music but also draws on other styles of world music, is the vehicle for the compositions and arrangements of percussionist Carlitos Medrano. Before moving to the United States, the Cuban-born musician cut his teeth alongside legendary conguero Jose Luis “Changuito” Quintana and played in some of Havana’s most acclaimed Latin jazz and salsa bands.
Details: 8 p.m. August 13, Latin Tropical Scene
This all-time R&B great could go in many different directions with his set list, given the quality of music he’s delivered over his impressive career. And we’re pretty much good with whatever the crooner wants to sing. That said, though, we’d really love to hear Gap Band classics like “Party Train,” “Outstanding,” “Burn Rubber on Me,” and “You Dropped a Bomb on Me.”
Details: 8 p.m. August 13, Main Stage
The acclaimed orchestra, formerly known as the Long Meadow Ranch All Star Big Band, celebrates the release of debut album “Golden Jubilee: Missa Iubileum Aureum”. The show will feature Grammy-nominated singer Sutton, saxophonist Tom Scott, trumpeter Wayne Bergeron, trombonist Michael Davis, drummer Gary Novak, pianist Shelly Berg and trumpeter Niel Levonius. The large 17-member jazz ensemble will be led by Chris Walden.
Details: 1 p.m. August 14, Hammer Theater
The Los Angeles native first came to prominence as a backing vocalist for artists such as Josh Groban and Michael Jackson (who chose Hill as a duet partner for “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You” during her This Is It concert). She was featured in the major musical documentary “20 Feet from Stardom”, addressing the importance of backing vocalists in the music industry. Hill has also released a number of solo albums, including 2015’s debut album “Back in Time” which was co-produced by none other than Prince.
Details: 3 p.m. August 14, Montgomery Theater
What to hear an intriguing take on the blues? Then head on over to see this singer and harmonica player from San Jose, who draws inspiration from both his Chicago-style love of electric blues and the sounds of his native Mumbai, India, to create what he’s dubbed the Bollywood Blues. He is known for a number of popular releases including “Aki Goes to Bollywood” in 2016 and “Dilruba” in 2020.
Details: 3:30 p.m. August 14, Blues/Big Easy Stage
He is nothing less than one of the greatest jazz musicians of all time – an undeniable virtuoso on the bass who fundamentally reinvented and reinvigorated the use of the instrument in jazz and beyond over the years. of his more than half a century of work as a professional musician. We dig his Return to Forever catalog the most, but anything with Clarke’s name is worth hearing – over and over.
Details: 4 p.m. August 14, Main Stage
SAN JOSE SUMMER JAZZ FESTIVAL
When: 6 p.m. Aug. 12, 11 a.m. Aug. 13-14
Where: Cesar Chavez Plaza, San Carlos and Market Streets, Downtown San Jose
Tickets: Single day, $35 to $120 on August 12 ($10 for children aged 5 to 12), $35 to $190 from August 13 to 14 ($10 for children aged 5 to 12); three-day pass between $105 and $495 ($30 for children ages 5-12); summerfest.sanjosejazz.org.