Jazz Aid Fund - San Jose Jazz

Jazz Aid Fund

Uplifting SF Bay Area Musicians by stimulating creativity and providing critically needed funds

About the Project

Conceived as a direct response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Jazz Aid Fund provides direct support to Bay Area musicians and stimulates one of their most important activities—the creation of new work.

Building on a lead gift by Jan DeCarli, SJZ’s Board of Directors established the Fund, providing a grant of $1,000 each for selected artists to create a new work. Artists are chosen through recommendations from a broad cross section of the Bay Area music community, including critics, presenters, artists and curators. We chose from this list an extraordinarily diverse cohort of talented artists spanning genre, generations and geography.

We’ll premiere these new works on social media and in our New Works Fest in April–May 2022. Join our email list to stay up on all developments in the program.

2021 Grantees

– Mark Arroyo
– Archish Arun
– Keshav Batish
– Ron E. Beck
– Robbie Benson
– William Bohrer
– Chris Cain
– Bobi Céspedes
– Giulio Xavier Cetto
– Kev Choice
– Amy D.
– Lee Dynes
– Tammy Hall
– Brian Ho
– James Jackson
– Kasey Knudsen
– Melecio Magdaluyo
– Mild Monk
– Ash Maynor
– Justin Ouellet
– Fernando Barocio Salcedo
– Javier Santiago
– Ian Santillano
– John Santos
– Edward Simon
– Ten Spencer
– Aneesa Strings
– Adam Theis
– Monique Valenzuela
– Claudia Villela
– Vân-Ánh Võ
– Howard Wiley
– Kevin Wong

2022 Grantees

Chris "Kid" Andersen

San Jose

Chris "Kid" Andersen is a Norwegian blues guitarist that moved to San Jose in 2001. A significant force in the West Coast blues scene, Kid is also the force behind Greaseland Records.



ASTU the Oakland-based singer/songwriter is a black, queer and gender expansive artist. She left life as a minister and found herself in R&B, expressing her sexuality, identity and life experience in her music.

Mike Blankenship

San Ramon

Keyboardist Mike Blankenship has recorded and toured with Lauryn Hill, Sheila E, Ledisi and Michael Franti. Fluent in jazz, R&B, hip-hop and gospel, Mike uses music as a way to make powerful human connections.

Javier Cabanillas


A Grammy winner with Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Mexican conga player Javier Cabanillas concentrates on writing and arranging for his Cabanijazz Project, one of the top salsa outfits in the Bay.

Caroline Chung


Caroline Chung is a jazz upright/electric bassist, songwriter and producer. She gigs around the Bay Area with her project Citizens Jazz, and has performed material from the seminal Nina Simone album Silk & Soul at SF Jazz.

Sylvia Cuenca

San Jose

Sylvia is an active drummer on the New York and San Francisco Bay Area music scenes and has performed and toured with the likes of Billy Taylor, Eddie Henderson, Gary Bartz, Kenny Barron, Marian McPartland and Gregory Porter.

Dame Drummer


Dame Drummer is a Bay Area "first-call" drummer who's performed with Los Rakas, Jazz Mafia, Uriah Duffy, Shapeshifter, DaM-FunK, Kev Choice and two-time Grammy Award winner Fantastic Negrito.

Ren Geisick

Los Gatos

Ren Geisick is a jazz singer turned singer / songwriter. Borrowing elements of jazz, blues, and country, Ren delivers heartfelt performances of original music and reimagined classics. Her first album, Ren, Love Song was produced by Jesse Harris.

Aaron Germain

San Mateo

Bassist Aaron Germain is known for his versatility with diverse genres including straight ahead and modern jazz, R&B, funk, salsa, Brazilian, West African, Indian, and more.

Ben Goldberg


Clarinetist and composer Ben Goldberg has twice been named Rising Star Clarinetist by DownBeat Magazine. He plays in Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom project and has released over thirty records of his own compositions.

Juanita Harris

San Jose

Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Juanita Harris has appeared on stage in Working, Nunsense I & II, Jesus Christ Superstar and 1940’s Radio Hour, and performs locally with 7th Street Big Band.

Lilan Kane


A graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Oakland-based soul singer and composer Lilan Kane is authentic, on and off stage. The sultry honesty in her voice is as raw as her lyrical stories of love, life and self-discovery.

Noah Kibreab

San Jose

Guitarist Noah Kibreab leads Noah and the Arkiteks, a Bay Area soul and R&B band. With its classic style, the band pulls from American Black Roots music.

Jeff Kolhede


Jeff Kolhede is a two-time Grammy Award nominated composer, producer, engineer and musician based in Oakland, California. Jeff produces, engineers and mixes the music of international artists including Summer Fest alumni ASTU and The Seshen.

David Lechuga

San Jose

25-year-old guitarist David Lechuga is a fixture in the Bay Area live music scene. David is a Distinguished Graduate in Jazz from Sonoma State University, and recently performed at the 2022 Jazz Plaza Festival in Havana, Cuba.

Michael "Tiny" Lindsey


Bay Area powerhouse Tiny Lindsey is a well known bassist, composer and bandleader. He's toured extensively with artists like Ryan Shaw, Anthony Hamilton, Gavin Degraw, William Duval and Matt Nathanson.

Gary Meek

Pacific Grove

Multi-instrumentalist Gary Meek collaborated for 20 years with Flora Purim and Airto and, in a career that spans over 30 years, has worked with the likes of Herb Alpert, Jeff Lorber, Brian Bromberg, Mitch Forman and Randy Brecker.

Cava Menzies


Bay Area native Cava Menzies is a multidisciplinary musician, visual artist, and educator. Her most recent recording is 2021’s Moment to Moment, an album of original music created with Nick Phillips.

Kenya Moses


Kenya Moses embodies the essence of Brazil's bossanova in her warm and heartfelt sound. Kenya fell in love with the sounds of Brazil after 15 years performing as a classical vocalist and flautist.

Kim Nalley

Mill Valley

Awarded "Most Influential African American in the Bay Area" in 2005 and "Best Jazz Group" in 2013, vocalist Dr. Kim Nalley is already being called "legendary" and a "San Francisco institution."

Bennett Roth-Newell

Redwood City

Bennett Roth-Newell is a pianist, emcee and songwriter has performed at Summer Fest, Yoshi’s, Black Cat Jazz Club, The New Parish, and the National Black Theater Festival. Bennett’s latest album Grown dropped on March 1, 2022.

Brian Sheu

San Jose

Brian Sheu is a sought-after guitarist known for combining soulful blues and rock with the pyrotechnic language of bebop. He's been active on the Bay Area scene as a founding member of both Super Soul Bros and The iLLiance.

Kristen Strom

San Jose

Multi-instrumentalist, composer and educator Saxophonist Kristen Strom has long been a mainstay on the Bay Area music scene,
acclaimed for beautifully rendered melodies and tonality. She's played alongside artists like Manhattan Transfer, Gladys Knight, and Jimmy Heath.

Valerie Troutt

San Pablo

Vocalist Valerie Troutt is a musical collagist, borrowing from ancestral centuries of sound, channeling spirits, and delivering the stories of our love, loss, and lives.

Kalil Amar Wilson

El Cerrito

Kalil Amar Wilson is an American vocalist, pianist, songwriter, and ethnomusicologist. Kalil is a faculty member at the California Jazz Conservatory and a visiting professor and curator of jazz at the Jazz & Musical School, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Patrick Wolff

San Francisco

Patrick Wolff is a jazz saxophone and clarinet player imbedded in the jazz scenes of NYC and San Francisco. He has worked with Matt Wilson, Albert "Tootie" Heath, Grant Stewart, Louis Moholo-Moholo and Dena DeRose.

Photo is coming...
Robbie Benson

“More than anything I think the pandemic has illuminated art as a necessity to our survival and mental health. Music especially is a guiding force and a healing art form.”

– Amy D., grantee

Coming Events

New Work Fest 2022 — April 22–May 15

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