Blog

Wally Schnalle on the SJZ Collective’s First Tour

October 17, 2018

The SJZ Collective has embarked on their first international tour as a Collective. During their tour of Taiwan, they are scheduled to perform at the 2018 Taichung Jazz Festival, the Sappho Club in Taipei, and the Blue Note in Taipei. In this special blog post, the drummer and founder of the Collective Wally Schnalle writes in about their first big performance. (Tuesday, October 16, 2018) “Our time in Taiwan has been well worth the thirteen …

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José James’ Meeting with Bill Withers Sparks a National Tour

April 6, 2018

José James is no stranger to San Jose Jazz. As an eclectic artist James combines blues, spoken-word, hip-hop, contemporary R&B and jazz to form a genre all his own. One of the first artists featured in our Jazz Beyond programming stream, James has been on the rise since his debut on our stage for Winter Fest  2013. Having seven albums to his credit, James’ latest project Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers came out of …

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Wealth of Drummers at Winter Fest 2018

February 9, 2018

This year’s Winter Fest is a drummer’s fest, of sorts. Drummers lead no less than six of the groups performing February 15–28. Leading off on opening night will be drummer Will Calhoun in a free performance on the Sonic Runway, a sound-responsive art installation direct from Burning Man to San Jose’s City Hall Plaza. Will has performed with many A-list musicians after coming to fame in the rock group Living Colour. This outdoor performance of …

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Winter Fest 2018 Playlist

January 24, 2018

Quality and variety are two hallmarks of any San Jose Jazz festival and this year’s Winter Fest, running from February 15 through 28, is no different. From the world’s best vocalists, including Grammy and Tony Award winner Dee Dee Bridgewater, to rising artist Veronica Swift; to some of the planet’s most virtuosic guitar players at International Guitar Night, there is a lot to discover, for any musical taste. Not sure which artists you want to …

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Interview with Summer Jazz Camp Special Guest Taylor Eigsti

May 18, 2017

This year, SJZ Summer Jazz Camp welcomes Bay Area native Taylor Eigsti as its special guest. Before his appearance on June 29 and 30, we spoke with the New York-based pianist by phone to learn why he connected with music at such a young age. We also asked if he had any advice for our eager campers before they arrive at Valley Christian High School on June 19. What first drew you to the piano? …

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Field Trip: SJZ Progressions Students Visit SF Symphony Youth Orchestra

May 10, 2017

This guest post from Progressions Director Julie Rinard recaps the field trip Progressions students recently took to see an open dress rehearsal by the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra. Thanks to the support of Haynes & Boone, LLP, Santa Clara Vanguard and San Jose Jazz, Progressions students and family members took a field trip to watch the dress rehearsal of the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra last Saturday. Progressions brass instructor and former member of …

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In Memoriam: Summer Fest Volunteers Bob Gardner & Ray Winans

April 27, 2017

Bob Gardner (right) pictured alongside fellow Summer Fest volunteer Steve Pollock. This is a guest post from SJZ’s Artistic Director Bruce Labadie, who was familiar with the contributions both Bob Gardner and Ray Winans provided the organization over the years. We have been lucky to have some of the best long-term volunteers who fill in critical roles, without which we would not be able to present Summer Fest, a quality festival  we’ve presented for close …

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Returning Home: A Conversation with Donny McCaslin

January 31, 2017

Though saxophonist Donny McCaslin made his name in the jazz world after moving to New York, he still has fond memories of growing up in the greater Santa Cruz area, where he cultivated his musical foundation. He recalls traveling over the hill to San Jose to participate in summer workshops, of sitting in with the late Smith Dobson at Garden City, then a South Bay hotbed for jazz. Back in Santa Cruz, he recalls watching …

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Fall Update from Progressions Director Julie Rinard

November 17, 2016

 This fall, Progressions officially launched its fourth site, an advanced track at Bridges Academy. It includes participants who have been a part of Progressions for three-plus years, bringing together 20 students from Meadows Elementary School, Santee Elementary School, Bridges Academy, CCA (College Connection Academy) and Ace Franklin-McKinley. Instrumentation for the new track includes saxophone and baritone (in addition to the existing clarinet, flute, trombone and trumpet). We look forward to seeing how the new instruments …

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SJZ Fall Concert Series Preview: Mariachi Flor de Toloache

October 25, 2016

San Jose Jazz closes out its first Fall Concert Series with an SJZ Boom Box performance by Mariachi Flor de Toloache as part of La Ultima Parada, a day-long Dia de Los Muertos celebration at Mexican Heritage Plaza. Like Rudresh Mahanthappa and Rez Abbasi, Mariachi Flor de Toloache represents a new musical vision of an old tradition, one in pursuit of a more open mariachi sound that incorporates elements of bachata, jazz, pop and soul. …

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