San Jose Jazz Summer Fest

Posted on in Art + Soul by Roy Strassman

Downtown San Jose, August 7–9, 2015

Among summer’s pleasures are warm weather, late sunsets, and for local music buffs, San Jose’s annual festival for jazz and Latin music. This year, as in the past, the festival did not disappoint. A stellar lineup from the Bay Area and beyond, included headliners Tower of Power, Eddie Palmieri’s Latin Jazz Band, and Kamasi Washington and the West Coast Get Down.

With 13 stages, plus club venues, food concessions, beer gardens, and wine stations, Downtown San Jose provided much to enjoy: abundant sunshine, superlative music, and a diverse and festive crowd stirred to “dance to the music.”

Jesus Diaz and his Rumba Cubana showcased a panoply of traditional Cuban rumbas (accompanied by singing). To round out their set, the group made a brief but mandatory musical foray into the Santeria religion’s mesmerizing Batá drums and chanting.

Of particular note was trombonist Doug Beaver’s new band, Titanes del Trombon (“Titans of the Trombone”), a dectet that featured musical luminaries from both coasts, including alumni from Santana, Eddie Palmieri, and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. The band’s repertoire included much infectious and sudorific salsa dura and Latin jazz—and even a bolero romantico.

The San Jose Jazz Summer Fest is one of the Bay Area’s premier outdoor summer music events, a must-see for lovers of jazz, salsa, and anyone for whom the summer heat and hot Latin rhythms are a call to dance.


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