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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SJZ Fall Concert Series: Get to Know Rez Abbasi & Junction

October 23, 2016

Celebrated guitarist Rez Abbasi performs with his latest project, Junction, as part of the San Jose Jazz Fall Concert Series on October 28 at Cafe Pink House. The series kicked off last Sunday with a frequent collaborator of Abbasi’s, saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and his quintet, who performed selections from his acclaimed release, Bird Calls. Before Abbasi & Junction take the stage at the end of the month, get up-to-speed with his latest project making its Bay Area debut. …

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Rudresh Mahanthappa: Bird Calls Engages and Challenges

October 19, 2016

Over a two-set, nearly two-hour show, alto saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and his quintet showed why they may be one of the best live bands on the national jazz scene today. Spurred on by the ever-changing rhythms of chameleon drummer Dan Weiss, the band showed themselves immensely capable of transforming mood and melody at a beat’s notice. Such quick changes showcased how deep these musicians listen to each other, as anything on the bandstand seemed likely to dissolve …

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July 20, 2016

The third annual SJZ Progressions Summer Music Camp is off to a great start at Valley Christian Schools. Forty-five students are participating in the camp, which runs July 11-22. This year, beginning composition and improvisation classes have been added to challenge and excite our developing musicians. Camp staff are taking advantage of the music lab at Valley Christian and experimenting with the best methods for exposing students to apps like Garage Band and other music technology …

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SJZ Summer Jazz Camp Director Wally Schnalle Plays the Possibilities

May 26, 2016

Two years ago I became Camp Director of San Jose Jazz Summer Jazz Camp. What a pleasure it has been watching the camp grow! I am really looking forward to camp this year, which will be the 20th Anniversary SJZ Summer Jazz Camp, June 20 to July 1, at Valley Christian High School. I’ve been busy spreading the word at schools all over the South Bay. We’ve done jazz clinics at Westmont High School, Kennedy Middle …

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SJZ Progressions Announces Concert and Summer Music Camp Dates

May 25, 2016

Join San Jose Jazz Progressions students and families for a concert and celebration on Saturday, June 4 at 12pm at the Yerba Buena High School auditorium, 1855 Lucretia Ave., San Jose, CA 95122. We are proud of the accomplishments of our students and look forward to sharing their musical gifts with the community! The concert is free and open to the public. In the past month, Progressions students have continued to hone their performance skills. …

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SJZ High School All Stars’ First Trip to Next Generation Jazz Festival

April 8, 2016

Absolutely looking forward to the San Jose Jazz High School All Stars‘ performance this Sunday at the Next Generation Jazz Festival (NGJF) in Monterey. This is a huge honor and will be a memorable experience for the students. What is the NGJF, you may be asking yourself? It’s a competitive jazz festival that was started years ago as one of the programs on the educational side of the Monterey Jazz Festival. NGJF is now considered …

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