February 23, 2020

7 must-sees at San Jose Jazz Winter Fest this year

If San Jose Jazz’s Summer Fest is a massive feast jam-packed into a long weekend, the organization’s companion Winter Fest is a leisurely five-course meal. Instead of August’s sensory overload, the February festival offers a relaxed hang at venues around the South Bay over the course of two weeks, Feb. 14-29. This year’s Winter Fest features a disparate roster of more than 20 shows focusing on jazz and related styles. These are my top picks, with an emphasis on the event’s most adventurous jazz.

1 Aaron Goldberg Trio

A mainstay on the New York scene for the past two decades, pianist Aaron Goldberg first gained widespread attention touring and recording with Joshua Redman in the early aughts (an ongoing relationship documented once again on the saxophonist’s 2019 album “Come What May”). With his deep feel for Brazilian music and confidently polished touch, Goldberg is one of the finest jazz pianists of his generation. He’s joined by ace New York bassist Matt Penman, a former member of the SFJazz Collective who’s also collaborated closely with Redman in the collective quartet James Farm, and a drummer to be announced.

Details: Tickets are $20. 6:30 p.m. Feb. 19 at Café Stritch, 374 S. First St., San Jose

2 Matt Wilson’s Honey & Salt Quintet

Devoted to breaking down boundaries between audiences and artists, drummer Matt Wilson is an ideal bandleader for the Black Cab Jazz series, the recently launched collaboration between SJZ, San José State University, and the Hammer Theatre. Focusing on Wilson’s rambunctious settings for the Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry of Carl Sandburg, Honey & Salt is unlike any other combo in jazz. Playful, ecstatic, and inordinately engaging, the band features guitarist/vocalist Dawn Thompson, cornetist Kirk Knuffke, reed expert Jeff Lederer, and bassist Martin Wind.

Details: Tickets are $20-$25. 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Hammer Theatre Center at 101 Paseo De San Antonio, San Jose

3 Sons of the Soul Revivers, Fountain Blues Festival Benefit

Aside from the Cajun menu at the Poor House Bistro, there’s something delicious about booking a powerhouse gospel ensemble for a Sunday brunch to raise money for a blues festival. Vallejo’s Sons of the Soul Revivers summons the spirit wherever they perform with a sound steeped in the gospel quartet tradition that nurtured so much soul and R&B in the 1950s and ’60s. A fundraiser for the Bay Area’s only surviving blues festival from the 20th century, the concert supports an event that shouldn’t require divine intervention for survival.

Details: Tickets are $50. 11 a.m. Feb. 23, Poor House Bistro at 91 S. Autumn St., San Jose

4 Stacey Kent

Possessing a supple, soft-edged voice and probing literary sensibility — she’s collaborated extensively with celebrated British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro — Stacey Kent is a brilliant song stylist, whether she’s interpreting standards or her impressive originals. Back in the U.S. after years of living in the U.K., she’s becoming a regular presence in the Bay Area. Kent is accompanied by her husband, British saxophonist Jim Tomlinson, bassist Tom Hubbard, drummer Anthony Pinciotti and exceptional San Jose-reared New York-based …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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