This August Summer Fest will be one of the first significant live music events in the Bay Area, reclaiming its place as “one of the world’s great urban jazz festivals” (DownBeat). We’re bringing back the great live music, food, fun and being together with family and friends. In a more compact footprint centered on the Sobrato Organization Main Stage in the Plaza de César Chavez we’ll bring you five stages with the same great vibe and a mix of international stars, emerging artists and local gems playing jazz, blues, R&B, New Orleans, Latin and more.
At the Fest’s Main Stage, we’re making some key changes in 2021 due to this year’s unique situation, including the streamlining of access levels from four to three; locating the VIP Pavilion joined with premium seating, in a new spot next to the stage; a dedicated area for Priority Access ticket holders next to the stage.
More information to come with the launch of the 2021 Fest website in the coming days.
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Sobrato Organization Main Stage
Stay in a luxury hotel for the weekend to enjoy all the Fest has to offer. We’ve negotiated spectacular deals with hotels near the festival grounds. More hotels are being added daily!*
AC Hotel San Jose Downtown
The newest hotel in downtown San Jose, AC Hotel San Jose Downtown offers elegant design and the modern essentials for today’s leisure travelers, in a coveted location. Unwind in our spacious guestrooms, take a dip in the pool, and indulge with a quick bite or drink from our on-site AC Pantry or Lounge. Find peace of mind with Marriott’s Commitment to Clean keeping your health and safety our number one priority.
General King Room—Starting at $139.00
Hotel De Anza
Hotel De Anza, a boutique hotel steeped in history, first opened its doors in 1931. Over the last 90 years, this Art Deco masterpiece has welcomed presidents, first ladies, famous musicians, and movie stars. Today, Hotel De Anza pays homage to its storied past with glamorous décor inspired by its Jazz Age splendor—and all the modern comforts of the 21st century.
Standard King Room—Starting at $199 per night
Westin San Jose (Sainte Claire)
The Westin San Jose located immediately across from the Main Stage at Plaza de César Chavez. Complementary features include: fitness room, business center Complimentary in room: WIFI, bottles of water, coffees and teas and mini refrigerators. Walking distance to an abundance of restaurants and activities.
King and Double Room—$169 per night
DoubleTree by Hilton San Jose
DoubleTree by Hilton San Jose, located within minutes of the San Jose International Airport, offers complimentary shuttle to/from SJC, the largest guest room in the area at 450 sq. feet with dual vanities, Queen/Queen beds and balconies. The hotel boasts a large resort style pool, fitness center and onsite dining options. We are two blocks from the Metro/Airport Light Rail Station that will take you to the Main Stage at the Plaza de César Chavez.
Standard King and Standard Double Queen—$140.00 per night
*Due to the pandemic, Fairmont San Jose has closed permanently.
-Julie Ramirez, President, SJZ Board of Directors
San Jose Jazz Summer Fest, formerly known as the San Jose Jazz Festival, is emblematic of the Silicon Valley start-up spirit. The first San Jose Jazz Festival took place in 1990 over two days in August at the Plaza de César Chavez. Its first day focused on fusion and its second day was dedicated to straight-ahead jazz, attracting about 10,000 attendees. This was a true grassroots effort, with the festival organizers cleaning up festival grounds well after the last notes had been played in the park. Festival Director Bruce Labadie funded the first two festivals out-of-pocket, and luckily the gamble paid off. Ever since, the plaza has remained the festival’s epicenter and is now our Main Stage centerpiece. The festival’s second year featured a stage on Post Street and the event has continued to grow. Through the 90s, the festival’s expansion made it the largest free jazz festival in the United States. The new millennium has seen the event grow to include more than 1,000 musicians on 12 stages in a walkable footprint in the urban core, playing jazz, Latin jazz, blues, R&B, Salsa, New Orleans and more.
At the 30th annual Fest in 2019, we presented a look back to the artists and events that defined the event.
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7th Street Big Band was conceived in the depths of East San Jose by drummer Gabby Horlick. They’re not your grandparents’ big band—they bring some of the hippest beats and rhythms to the table. They’re ready to get funky!
Renowned for his singular combination of robust swing and poetic insight, Grammy Award winner Kurt Elling has secured his place among the world’s foremost jazz vocalists. Declared “the standout male vocalist of our time” by The New York Times, Elling has garnered unprecedented accolades, including a fourteen-year run atop the DownBeat Critics Poll and a dozen Grammy nominations.
Elling’s most recent release, The Questions, searches for answers to the culture’s most divisive social, political and spiritual issues via the songs of Bob Dylan, Carla Bley and Leonard Bernstein, and the poetry of Rumi and Wallace Stevens. Whether transforming timeless standards or crafting his own enthralling originals, Elling balances elegant lyricism and technical mastery with emotional depth and keen observations into the human condition. “Since the mid-1990s,” hails the Washington Post, “[Elling] has come to embody the creative spirit in jazz.”
Legendary Percussionist Pete Escovedo is an artist who broke down the barriers between Smooth Jazz, Salsa, Latin Jazz and contemporary music. His name has been synonymous in the music industry for more than 50 years. Pete is known worldwide for his live performances, session work and solo albums.
Since 1998, The Motet has inspired the world with its unique style of dance music. Over the course of nine full-length albums, they group has traversed the lines between funk, soul, jazz, and rock and built a diehard audience in the process. They’ve headlined Red Rocks Amphitheatre six times and sold out countless legendary venues coast-to-coast. In addition to racking up nearly 20 million total streams and views, they’ve also garnered widespread acclaim from numerous publications including Relix, Glide Magazine and AXS. The band has also graced the stages of festivals such as Bonnaroo, Bottlerock, Electric Forest, Bumbershoot, Summer Camp, and High Sierra.
Shamarr Allen is carrying on a New Orleans musical tradition. Shamarr studied with New Orleans legends Leroy Jones, Joe Torregano and Clyde Kerr Jr. He also attended the Louis Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp in the late '90s, a program that has turned out many other talented young musicians, including Christian Scott, Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews, Jonathan Batiste and Courtney Bryant.
From performing on the streets in youth brass bands he moved on to six years with the legendary ReBirth Brass Band, playing at festivals, concert halls and clubs all over the world. Now he is working on his own projects, but don't try to pigeon-hole this young man. His band, The Underdawgs, plays nasty New Orleans-style funk, and he has written and produced hip-hop tracks as well. Shamarr’s latest album is the traditional jazz offering Meet Me On Frenchmen Street.
Brewing a vital concoction of Latin salsa, urban hip-hop, and jazz-funk, Ozomatli formed in Los Angeles in the mid-'90s. Although the band has had many member changes over the years and has sometimes had as many as ten members, the current six members have been in the band since its self-titled debut album.
Soon after the album dropped, the band opened for Santana on their Supernatural Tour. The group released Embrace the Chaos in 2001, followed by Street Signs in 2004. Don't Mess with the Dragon followed in 2007, which saw the band experimenting with a more diverse array of musical styles. The group composed music for Happy Feet 2 and recorded Ozomatli Presents Ozokidz, a family-friendly album. From 2011 to 2014, Ozomatli also served as the house band for stand-up comedian Gabriel Iglesias' television show, Gabriel Iglesias Presents Stand Up Revolution.
Pulsing from the nerve center of Jellowstone Studios in Richmond VA, Butcher Brown takes careful note of the history and legacy of jazz and throws caution to the wind. Their musical vibe blends jazz with hip hop, funk, rap, rock and soul. The group honors each musical genre and, at the same time, challenges traditional musical boundaries. The result is their most exciting collection of tracks to date. Butcher Brown features Tennishu, Morgan Burrs, Corey Fonville, Andrew Randazzo, and DJ Harrison.
With his dynamic dancing and smooth vocals, Morris Day is the essence of funk and played an essential role in the development of the Twin City dance/club sound of the 1980s. A founding member of Prince’s band, The Time, he remained with the group until launching his solo career in 1984 and racking up a string of R&B hits including “Fishnet,” “The Color of Success” and “Daydreaming.”
Judith Hill is a Grammy-winning singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Los Angeles, CA, praised by Rolling Stone for her “stellar powerhouse vocals” . She’s had the distinct privilege of being one of the final musicians to be mentored by Prince who co-produced her debut album, Back In Time. Hill is an accomplished independent artist who has worked closely with legendary talents Michael Jackson, Spike Lee and George Benson, toured with Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Ringo Starr and was an official tour opener for John Legend and Josh Groban.
Her new studio album Baby, I’m Hollywood! is a vibrant, defiant personal statement, a thorough excursion into the annals of Black music: past, present and future. Rich in throwback soul, stunning piano balladry, and swaggering psychedelic funk, the self-produced album finds Hill liberated, focused and reborn. Bolstered by a spirited live band and her new attitude, she ruminates on pleasure, pain, celebration, and consequences, all of which inform this collection of finely-crafted stories-in-song.