SAN JOSE, Calif., April 26, 2006 — The San Jose Jazz Society (www.sanjosejazz.org) today announced headliners for the 17th Annual Comcast San Jose Jazz Festival, presented by Southwest Airlines. The Festival, which runs August 17-20 2006, will pay respect to the genre’s deep roots in New Orleans with a full line-up of superstars, including the Neville Brothers, Dr. John, Sonny Landreth, and more. The Festival will take place on nine stages, each dedicated to a flavor of jazz: Blues, Latin, Salsa, Big Band, Youth and Straight Ahead.
“The Jazz Festival is our biggest fundraiser of the year, which helps serve more than 8,000 school children through our music and education programs,” said Geoff Roach, executive director of the San Jose Jazz Society. “So many jazz fans live in the Bay Area and nostalgia for New Orleans is particularly strong this year, given the turmoil experienced in the region. We want to pay respect and homage to the birthplace of Jazz with this year’s lively lineup and we expect this year’s event to draw an enthusiastic crowd.”
This year’s artists range from world-famous jazz legends to up-and-coming stars. Additional headline artists include the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Bud Shank, pianist Eldar, and Dr. Lonnie Smith. Other artists performing at the festival include pianist Bill Mays, Hiroshi Kamekura from Japan, Anton Schwartz, and Roger Smith and Tom Politzer of “Tower of Power.”
Festival Gala and Concert at Santana Row
The Festival will kick off with a bang Thursday Night at Santana Row with a Marti Gras themed Gala event and concert. The opening night Gala has been a sold-out event the past four years, helping to raise funds for the San Jose Jazz Society’s year-round education and performance programming. Details of this event will be announced at a later date.
Cool Creole, Cajun and lots of Concerts
Friday through Sunday brings the Festival back to downtown San Jose with three days of non-stop jazz events. From Friday night’s high octane opening at the Plaza de Cesar Chavez to the much-anticipated appearance by Festival headliners the Neville Brothers on Sunday evening, the San Jose Jazz Festival has something for everyone. Saturday and Sunday performances begin at noon and continue after hours with the Festival’s newest stage “Jazz Beyond.” Arts and crafts, photography exhibitions, jazz films, and even a Silicon Valley CEO jazz jamsession will be featured during this year’s Festival. For more information about the 17th annual Comcast San Jose Jazz Festival, please visit, www.sanjosejazz.org.
Performer highlights include:
Saturday, August 19
Eldar Main Stage
Hailing Eldar as a “remarkably advanced jazz artist,” JAZZIZ magazine wrote, “The pianist’s incredible hands already have him sounding like a young Art Tatum.” When he was nine years old, Eldar began to explore and pursue jazz seriously. One can hear in Eldar’s music influences from the classic, the inspired drive of Art Tatum and Oscar Peterson, the exuberance of Dave Brubeck, and the intensity and introspection of Bill Evans.
Dr. John – Main Stage
Dr. John is universally celebrated as the living embodiment of the rich musical heritage exclusive to New Orleans. Adorned with voodoo charms and regalia, a legend was born with his breakthrough 1968 album Gris-gris, which established his unique blend of voodoo mysticism, funk, rhythm & blues, psychedelic rock and Creole roots.
Dr. Lonnie Smith – Main Stage
Dr. Lonnie Smith is internationally known as one of the premier jazz keyboardists in the history of the idiom. A dominant talent and pace-setting proponent of the Hammond B3 Organ and widely recognized and gifted pianist, Lonnie has been at the forefront of the jazz scene since 1969 when Downbeat Magazine named him Top Organist.
Bill Mays — Smith Dobson Stage
The artistry of Bill Mays is beyond category. With deep roots in jazz, gospel, pop and classical music his eclectic, prolific career as pianist, composer and arranger spans four decades.
Anton Schwartz – The Rep Stage
Jazz saxophonist Anton Schwartz has been drawing listeners in with the power, spirit and subtle complexity of his music since he bounded onto the San Francisco jazz scene in 1995. San Francisco Chronicle described him has having a “warm, generous tone, impeccably developed solos and infectious performance energy.”
Roger Smith and Tom Politzer from Tower of Power – Blues Stage
Roger’s talents are something recording artists have known for years. From his early days on the Austin, Texas music scene, Roger has been a sought after musician and music producer. Tom Politzer joined Tower of Power on Lead Tenor Sax in March on 2002. Tom is well known in the Bay Area for his work in several bands, most notably Spang-A-Lang.
Sunday, August 20
Spanish Harlem Orchestra – Main Stage
Two trumpets, two trombones and a baritone sax make up the bracing brass sound of this band dedicated conga, bongo and timbale players round out the percussion and the upright bass and acoustic piano are the icing on this salsa flavored cake. With a sound both modern and historic and a swing that could revive the dead, Spanish Harlem Orchestra is the signature sound of 21st century Latin music.
Bud Shank – Main Stage
Bud Shank has been an integral member of the international jazz scene for 60 years. A respected saxophonist, composer, and arranger, his soaring dynamic performances have enlivened countless concerts, festivals, nightclubs and recording sessions.
Sonny Landreth – Blues Stage
Considered one of the more unique slide guitarists, Landreth’s marriage of blues and zydeco has morphed into the “king of slydeco.” Landreth has been working steadily for decades, amassing a devoted following among his fans and peers. Eric Clapton said he is “probably the most underestimated musician on the planet and also probably one of the most advanced.”
Neville Brothers– Main Stage
The essence of New Orleans, the 4 Neville Brothers, Art, Charles, Aaron and Cyril are convocation of each of their unique souls. Each breathes their own personalities into a union funk, soul, fusion and blues.
“As the title sponsor for the jazz festival, Comcast is committed to providing quality entertainment for the whole family along with educational programs that enrich local communities,” said Navarra Williams, area vice president of Comcast. “We’ve been sponsoring this event for 11 years, and each year, the Festival is more exciting, more alluring, and always jam packed with talent. Once again, we’re thrilled to support this much anticipated annual event, and to be working with the San Jose Jazz Society to spread the joy of music throughout our community with educational classes and year-round performances.”
About Comcast Cable
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About the San Jose Jazz Society
The Comcast San Jose Jazz Festival is one of many programs offered year-round by the San José Jazz Society, a nonprofit organization with a mission of celebrating jazz through performance and education in order to enrich and improve the lives of people in Silicon Valley. Proceeds from the Festival help to support the Society’s education and outreach programs, including a myriad of in-school programs that reach 8,000 students per year with jazz history and music workshops that also emphasize a tobacco-free lifestyle.