Drum! Hits The 2015 San Jose Jazz Festival
Lucky for us we won't have to go very far to attend this year's San Jose Summer Jazz Fest. It's right outside the DRUM! office in downtown San Jose, California. The festival, which takes place from August 7-9 is comprised of more than a hundred different performances on ten stages in just three days. Ordinarily we just attend but this year we plan to interview a cross section of percussionists at the event and share their stories with you. Stay with us as we go behind the scenes of festival life and get access to interviews and performances from only the grooviest cats in the Jazz Fest! The event will run from August 7-9 but we'll start posting some interviews we've done this week.
Of the hundred plus performers attending, we were faced with the task of choosing a group that would be enlightening for you. Editors spent hours watching each group and narrowed it down to a select few that we thought you readers should know about. Three were obvious. We chose Zigaboo Modeliste, Mike Clark, and Dave Garibaldi (Tower of Power) because they reflect a strong funk theme of the overall festival lineup. The others were groups from around the world that interest us, and, we hope, you, too. We'll be talking with the percussionists and drummers in each group, as well as some of the other instrumentalist, and filming and photographing as well.
Sylvia Cuenca New York Quartet Featuring Teodross Avery
Sylvia Cuenca is a skillful, hard-swinging post-bop and hard bop jazz drummer, best known for her 17-year collaboration with trumpet legend Clark Terry and four years with saxophone icon Joe Henderson. Her spirited performance style will be on full display with the Sylvia Cuenca New York Jazz Quartet featuring Teodross Avery.
Chihiro Yamanaka Trio
A newly-minted Blue Note artist, Chihiro Yamanaka is one of the most exciting jazz pianists and composers to come out of Japan. Yamanaka’s music includes strikingly original compositions and unique arrangements that introduce the element of surprise into some of the most famous songs in the jazz, pop and classical repertoire.
Letieres Leite & Orkestra Rumpilez
Letieres Leite & Orkestra Rumpilez is an award-winning 20-piece big band from Bahia, Brazil, that plays an intoxicating mixture of the percussive rhythms of candomblé and the big-band jazz tradition. Orkestra Rumpilezz is touring North America this summer through a partnership between four major jazz institutions including San Jose Jazz, SF Jazz and Jazz at Lincoln Center.
Guitar legend Larry Coryell, George Brooks, Indian bamboo flute master Ronu Majumdar, and tabla virtuoso Aditya Kalyanpur join forces to create the finest Indian-inspired jazz and jazz-flavored raga with their ensemble, Bombay Jazz. These world music visionaries blend the ancient improvisational art of Indian classical music with America’s jazz tradition to create a soul satisfying, original music filled with rich melodies and dynamic rhythms.
Will Sessions is a high-energy group from Detroit whose influences run the gamut between funk, hip hop, soul, jazz fusion, boogie, disco and more. This deeply funky show will be a centerpiece of the South FIRST FRIDAYS event on Aug 7.
Saxophonist Kamasi Washington has long aligned himself at the intersection of jazz and hip hop, collaborating with everyone from Quincy Jones to Lauryn Hill. Washington brings two of his current projects to this year’s Summer Fest, the Next Step and the West Coast Get Down.
Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste is a master drummer, rhythmic innovator, percussionist, and New Orleans legend. His inventive work as a member of R&B group, The Meters, as well as his status as a master of funk grooves and syncopated rhythms, has garnered him an unparalleled level of respect among musicians and fans.
Clark, Blades & Niswanger, the new organ trio with incredible credentials, has no comparison. When drummer Mike Clark, B-3 organist Wil Blades and saxophonist Hailey Niswanger stalk the stage with authenticity, it defies genre. They play a diverse mix of American music’s roots — embracing jazz, blues, funk and soul. The music always sizzles, burning red hot.
Tower Of Power: David Garibaldi
Simply put, Oakland’s Tower of Power and drummer Dave Garibaldi are the very definition of funk — as well as one of the most durable and iconic bands of all time. TOP’s musical odyssey began in 1968 when tenor saxophonist Emilio Castillo met baritone saxist Stephen “Doc” Kupka. The first incarnation of the band that would become Tower of Power soon built a reputation as one of the most exciting and virtuosic outfits in the country. And they haven’t stopped since!
Tickets And Information
If you want to attend any of the shows taking place on the ten-plus stages and venues of the festival, tickets are still available for a reasonable $55 for a three-day pass ($15 for children) or $20 per day. And, the complete lineup of artists is here. We'll see you there.