San Jose Jazz today announced a batch of headliners for its 25th San Jose Jazz Summer Fest, happening Aug. 8-10 on 11 downtown stages. The event (which used to be known as the San Jose Jazz Festival) will feature some funk blasts from the past: Bootsy Collins and Con Funk Shun, performing on the Main Stage in the Plaza de Cezar Chavez.
The festival looks strong on Latin and Latin jazz acts: the brilliant Cuban percussionist Pedrito Martinez and his band; Salsa trombonist Jimmy Bosch; and veteran trumpeter-conguero Jerry González with his Fort Apache Band. The Bay Area's Pacific Mambo Orchestra, which recently won a Grammy for Best Tropical Latin Album, has graduated to headliner status, performing on the Salsa Stage. (And San Jose-based saxophonist Aaron Lington, a "Mambo" member, also will lead his own band, performing the music of Paul Simon on the Silicon Valley Stage.)
So far what's missing is a single well-known headliner playing straight-ahead jazz or "modern" jazz -- a glaring omission for a "jazz" festival, especially one that's celebrating its quarter-century anniversary. Perhaps San Jose Jazz, which presents the event, will address the situation as the schedule fills out in the coming weeks. (If it needs some ideas, here's what the free Detroit Jazz Festival is presenting this summer: www.detroitjazzfest.com/2014lineup.html.)
Three-day "insider" passes are on sale now through May 18; on May 19, pass prices increase, and single tickets go on sale. For tickets: http://sanjosejazz.org/summer-fest (click on "Summer Fest," then "Tickets").
Here's how the festival is shaping up thus far, as described in the San Jose Jazz announcement:
Bootsy Collins (http://bootsycollins.com)
Friday, Aug. 8, Kaiser Permanente Main Stage
Pioneering funk and R&B bassist, singer, and bandleader Bootsy Collins has gained acclaim over many decades as the preeminent master of funk bass. His first group, the Pacesetters, functioned as James Brown's backup band and in 1972 he established his lifelong friendship with George Clinton when he joined Parliament/Funkadelic. After co-writing the funk hit "Tear the Roof Off the Sucker," Clinton urged Collins to form his own band. Bootsy's Rubber Band emerged in 1976, with the spirited ensemble's first three albums earning them gold records and reaching the Top 20 on the pop charts. Over the years, Collins has also recorded as a solo artist and on special projects, collaborating with everyone from Malcolm McLaren, Jerry Harrison of the Talking Heads, Ice Cube, and even Samuel L. Jackson on Collins' 2011 conceptual album, The Funk Capital of the World. If there's any musician to bring the funk to the world's listeners, it's Bootsy Collins.
Con Funk Shun (www.confunkshunusa.com)
Friday, Aug. 8, Kaiser Permanente Main Stage
Con Funk Shun is unquestionably among the heroes of funk, delivering a superb, high-energy show with electrifying choreography, glistening six-part vocal harmonies, and a dash of humor. Formed by drummer Louis A. McCall Sr. and vocalist/guitarist Michael Cooper over 40 years ago, Con Funk Shun is expertly rounded out by bassist Cedric Martin, keyboardist Danny "Sweet Man" Thomas, trumpeter Karl Fuller, woodwinds player Paul "Maceo" Harrell, and singer/multi-instrumentalist Felton Pilate. The group's albums Loveshine and Candy charted four consecutive Gold records and one Platinum along with 20 hit singles, including eight Top Ten R&B hits and one #1 R&B smash. Performing sold-out shows at venues including Omni, Cotton Club, Cashe Creek Casino Resort, Harrah's, and the Rrazz Room, Con Funk Shun continues to wow crowds across all generations. Their new album, Sound of Grown Men, will soon be nationally released.
Pacific Mambo Orchestra (www.pacificmambo.com)
Friday, Aug. 8, Salsa Stage
With their recent Grammy win for "Best Tropical Latin Album," San Francisco 19-piece Latin big band Pacific Mambo Orchestra has firmly established itself as the leading voice in the vibrant Bay Area salsa scene. Formed by trumpeter Steffen Kuehn and pianist Christian Tumalan, the group aims to bring back and build upon the great Latin big band sounds of the 1940s-'60s. The orchestra plays the music of Latin giants like Machito, Tito Puente, and Celia Cruz. They also include those rich traditions in their own contemporary and original arrangements. The group's members have performed and/or recorded with the industry's biggest names, including Carlos Santana, Ray De La Paz, José Lugo Guasabara Orchestra, Los Adolescentes, Isaac Delgado, Gilberto Santarosa, Tito Rojas, La India, and Victor Manuelle, among others. Named one of the "Best Current Latin Orchestras in the World" by salsa-trips.com, this larger-than-life ensemble, the only band of its kind on the West Coast, consists of four trumpets, four trombones, five saxophones, piano, bass, timbales, congas, bongos and a lead vocalist. With a repertoire of mostly original scores, their selections move with a frenetic mammoth pace, producing palpable sounds, rhythms, and beats only a true big band is capable of.
Jimmy Bosch (www.jimmybosch.net)
Friday, Aug. 8, Salsa Stage
Known as "El Trombon Criollo," jazz and salsa music trombonist, composer, and bandleader Jimmy Bosch has been performing and wowing audiences since the young age of eleven. Bosch cut his teeth playing in local New Jersey Latin bands La Caliente, Arco Iris, and La Sonica. Bosch's classical music studies at Rutgers University introduced him to Manny Oquendo, whom he worked with for over 20 years. His own band La Orquesta Jimmy Bosch was founded in 1996, and Bosch has also worked with greats such as Eddie Palmieri, Ruben Blades, Celia Cruz, and Chocolate Armenteros. Recording numerous albums as a solo artist and band leader, and touring and performing with countless esteemed musicians on a global level have established Jimmy Bosch as one of the leading trombonists in contemporary Latin music.
Snarky Puppy (http://custom.bandframe.com/snarkypuppy)
Saturday, Aug. 9, Kaiser Permanente Main Stage and Blackbird Tavern Stage
Snarky Puppy is a different kind of musical animal. Formed in Denton, Texas, in 2004, the Brooklyn-based "quasi-collective" plays a mixture of jazz, funk, and world music to move the brain and booty. Following explosive 2013 appearances at North Sea Jazz, Monterey Jazz Festival and Jazz á Vienne, the group sealed their "Rising Star" status with a 2014 Grammy Award for "Best R&B Performance." Snarky Puppy is led by bassist Michael League, who marshals a collective comprised of nearly 40 musicians, members of which also perform regularly with artists like Erykah Badu, Snoop Dogg, Roy Hargrove, Marcus Miller, and others. Although still "underground" in many respects, the band gave some 200 performances and workshops in 2013 and earned high praise from critical stalwarts like the BBC, Village Voice, Guardian, and Boston Herald. Their last album, the live DVD/CD GroundUP, reached No. 14 on the Billboard Jazz Charts and No. 3 on the iTunes Jazz Charts in 2012. In addition to their rigorous performance schedule, the band is enthusiastically committed to music education and community outreach. Giving clinics at hundreds of schools worldwide, the band has made a strong commitment to spreading their love of music to a young generation looking for something real to be inspired by.
Jerry González and the Fort Apache Band (www.jerrygonzalezjazz.com)
Saturday, Aug. 9, San Jose Rep Stage and Blackbird Tavern Stage
A leading figure in the world of Latin Jazz, New York-born trumpeter/conguero Jerry González is widely recognized as one of music's innovative voices. The greatness of González's artistic vision is evident in his work as founding member of Conjunto Libre and Grupo Folklórico y Experimental Nuevayorquino, and as the leader for over three decades of the legendary Jerry González and the Fort Apache Band. González has performed with jazz giants such as Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, and Jaco Pastorius, and Latin music greats Tito Puento and Eddie Palmieri. Receiving Grammy Award nominations for his albums Crossroads, Pensativo, and Firedance, González has also received numerous accolades from the likes of Downbeat Magazine and the New York Jazz Awards. In recent years, Jerry González contributed to the critically acclaimed documentary Calle 54 and leads the Latin Grammy-nominated quartet El Comando de la Clave.
Gypsy Allstars (www.gypsyallstars.com)
Saturday, Aug. 9, San Jose Rep Stage
With a mantra of "Rumba-meets-Raga," Gypsy Allstars bring a unique blend of musical influences from fiery Spanish flamenco to the rumbo of the Camargue to classical Indian ragas, to audiences across the international world music scene. Founders George Reyes, Mario Reyes, and Cedric Leonardi (all former members of the celebrated Gipsy Kings) are joined by talented fellow musicians French bassist Hadrien Feraud, vocalist Humayan Khan, flamenco superstar Arleen Hurtado, and tabla virtuoso Salar Nadar in a group that has worked with the likes of Sting, Andrea Boccelli, and countless others. With upcoming specials airing on PBS and the Discovery Channel featuring their recent performance at the International Folk Festival in Rajasthan, India, Gypsy Allstars prove that they will continue to move and inspire audiences around the world for years to come.
Saturday, Aug. 9, Blackbird Tavern Stage (www.otonowa-usa.com)
Otonowa (Japanese for "sound circle") exemplifies the cultural diversity of the US by utilizing the language of jazz -- well spoken by every member of this ensemble -- to re-contextualize songs of the Otonowa Project's shared Japanese ancestry in a uniquely American way. The group was first formed to perform a benefit concert for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Northern Japan in 2011. Starting with traditional Japanese folk melodies, some which date back as far as the 1700s, the group worked to re-imagine songs of their heritage from a jazz perspective. On some tracks, the ensemble performs with Japanese instruments like the Shakuhachi, a traditional Japanese flute, and the fan drum, an instrument popular in festivals throughout Japan, along with piano, acoustic bass, and drums. After their initial concert, the ensemble re-grouped in the studio to record an album. In its review, Jazz Inside noted the group is "truly doing something very special here and it is a fine example of how music can break down cultural barriers and expose the commonality within us all." They later toured Northern Japan to aid in relief efforts that continue there to this day.
Aaron Lington Quintet Plays the Music of Paul Simon (www.aaronlington.com)
Saturday, Aug. 9, Silicon Valley Stage
Aaron Lington is the Coordinator of Jazz Studies at San Jose State University, director of the San Jose Jazz High School All Stars, and a faculty member of the Texas Music Festival Jazz Institute. For his upcoming Summer Fest performance, Lington re-imagines the work of Paul Simon (he has previously re-worked compositions by Sting and Stevie Wonder for previous Summer Fests). Lington's numerous performing and compositional credits include collaborations with the University of North Texas One O'Clock Lab Band, Maynard Ferguson, BBC Radio Orchestra, Count Basie Orchestra, Doc Severinsen, Joe Lovano, Jamie Davis, and many more. He was recognized in the 55th and 57th Annual DownBeat Magazine Critic's Poll as a "Rising Star" in the Baritone Saxophone category, and he has won awards for both his playing and writing from DownBeat and ASCAP. He's also currently a band member, composer and arranger for recent Grammy winner Pacific Mambo Orchestra.
Conjunto Chappottín y Sus Estrellas (http://almaartistbooking.com/conjunto-chappottin)
Saturday, Aug. 9, Kaiser Permanente Main Stage
Latin Pulse Music Magazine notes, "Conjunto Chappottín y sus Estrellas is one of the most renowned 'Son' bands in Cuba...." The band dates back to the '40s and its founder, Arsenio Rodriguez, is one of the country's most distinguished bandleaders; for many decades Rodriguez has been a major influence on Latin jazz and salsa. With his Conjunto, he was the first to add reed and brass instruments to a Latin band. When Arsenio left Cuba in 1950 to undergo an ophthalmological treatment in New York, he handed the musical direction over to his first trumpet player, Felix Chappottín. The band was renamed "Felix Chappottín y su Conjunto Todos Estrellas." Chappottin directed the band until his death in 1983. From 1983 until the '90s his son, Angel Chappottín Valdes carried on as musical director and since then the grandson of Felix Chappottín, Jesus Angel Chappottín Coto has directed the band alongside singer/percussionist, Miguelito Cuni Jr.
San Jose Jazz High School All Stars (http://sanjosejazz.org/education/high-school-all-stars)
Saturday, Aug. 9, Next Gen Stage
And Sunday, Aug. 10, Silicon Valley Stage
Now in its 16th season, San Jose Jazz High School All Stars are earning impressive reviews for their performances while providing some of the Bay Area's most gifted high school jazz musicians with advanced opportunities to grow and develop. Dr. Aaron Lington, director of the Jazz Studies program at San Jose State University, leads the group of standout musicians culled from 14 regional schools. The All Stars have received unanimous "command" performance ratings in both big band and combo formats the last two years at the Santa Cruz Jazz Festival. The audition-based big band and combo perform throughout the Bay Area, including such locales as the Computer History Museum, Santa Cruz Jazz Festival, San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose's San Pedro Square Market, San Jose State University Jazz Festival, San Jose Jazz Winter Fest and Summer Fest, and more. Auditions take place in November each year.
Viento de Agua (www.vientodeagua.com)
Sunday, Aug. 10, Blackbird Tavern Stage
Created by Puerto Rican musicians Tito Matos (percussion, vocals, composer, arranger), Ricardo Pons (flute, saxophone, arranger), and Alberto Toro (saxophone, arranger), Viento de Agua has been producing contemporary bomba and plena music for nearly two decades. This 13-member band has performed at Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Celebrate Brooklyn, and the Kennedy Center, among several other stages. Viente de Agua's debut album "De Puerto Rico al Mundo" was selected as one of the "Top 10 Latin Albums of the Year" by the New York Times. Their follow-up album, "Materia Prima," was picked up by the Smithsonian Institution's music label Folkways. The group's percussionists, led by Matos, also recorded Ricky Martin's hit and only plena recording "Pégate", which helped bring awareness to and advance the Afro Puerto Rican tradition.
Pedrito Martinez Group, featuring Ariacne Trujillo (http://pedritomartinezmusic.com)
Sunday, Aug. 10, Kaiser Permanente Main Stage
NPR's "All Things Considered" recently raved that Pedrito Martinez and his group are "writing a new chapter in Cuban music history." The group is rooted in the Afro-Cuban Rumba tradition, and in the bata rhythms and vocal chants of Yoruba and Santeria. Ben Ratliff summed up the sound in the New York Times, calling it "complex, blenderized Africa-to-the-New-World funk." Cuban-born Martinez began his musical career at age 11, performing as a vocalist and percussionist with Cuban legends Tata Guines and Munequitos de Matanzas. Since settling in New York City in 2000, Martinez has performed, recorded and toured with Paquito D'Rivera, Arturo O'Farrill, Cassandra Wilson, Joe Lovano, and Sting. Formed with its current personnel in 2008, The Pedrito Martinez Group has a regular gig in Midtown Manhattan, building them a fan base that includes Ravi Coltrane, Taj Mahal, Eric Clapton, John Scofield and Roger Waters. Featured keyboardist/vocalist Ariacne Trujillo has worked with Paquito D'Rivera, Johnny Pacheco, Paul Simon and John Scofield. The group's debut studio album, this year's "The Pedrito Martinez Group," reached No. 6 on the Billboard Jazz Chart, and in April 2014, Pedrito Martinez was awarded "Percussionist of the Year" by the Jazz Journalists Association.
an Jose Jazz Summer Fest 2014 ticket tnformation:
Single day tickets available online beginning May 19: Aug. 8, $15; Aug. 9, $20; Aug. 10, $20; ages 5-12, $5 each day
Single day tickets at the gate: Aug. 8, $20; Aug. 9, $25; Aug. 10, $25
See additional pricing categories at http://sanjosejazz.org/summer-fest (click on "Summer Fest," then "Tickets")
San Jose Jazz Summer Fest
When: Aug. 8-10
Where: On 11 stages in downtown San Jose
Tickets: Three-day "insider" passes on sale now through May 18; pass prices increase and single tickets go on sale on May 19; http://sanjosejazz.org/summer-fest (click on "Summer Fest," then "Tickets")