San Jose Jazz Winter Fest Kicks Off February 14

SAN JOSE — Following the 30th Anniversary of their signature Summer Fest, Bay Area arts and culture institution San Jose Jazz kicks off 2020 with dynamic music programming honoring the jazz tradition and ever-expanding definitions of the genre with singular winter concerts curated for audiences within the heart of Silicon Valley. San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 2020 features some of today’s most distinguished artists alongside leading edge, emerging musicians with an ambitious lineup of more than 20 concerts from February 14 – 29, 2020. A special Next Gen Stage will include performances showcasing top regional student jazz ensembles. Tickets to San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 2020 are now on sale ranging in price from $15 – $40, and an array of Next Gen Youth shows at Cafe Stritch are free admission. For detailed ticket information as well as updates on the artists and performance schedule, please visit: sanjosejazz.org/winterfest.

Artist Lineup Announcement — San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 2020:
San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 2020 encompasses the greater Santa Clara Valley as well as the South First Street arts district in downtown San Jose. With premier performance venues, bars and restaurants joining many existing cultural institutions, Winter Fest 2020 showcases San Jose’s vitality as an arts mecca. Shows featuring Georgia on My Mind: The Music of Ray Charles and Matt Wilson’s “Honey and Salt” Quintet will be presented in partnership with San Jose Jazz and The Hammer Theatre. International Guitar Night partners SJZ with the Oshman Family JCC. SJZ also collaborates with Art Boutiki for The Lique show. Additional venues as part of Winter Fest 2020 include: Cafe Stritch, Hammer4, The Continental, and Poor House Bistro.

San Jose Jazz proudly announces today the Winter Fest 2020 artist lineup that includes: Miguel Zenón Quartet: “Sonero”; Quincy Jones Presents Sheléa, with SJSU Jazz Orchestra; Georgia on My Mind: The Music of Ray Charles; International Guitar Night featuring Mike Dawes, Cenk Erdogan, Olli Soikkeli & Jim Kimo Wes; Stacey Kent; Halie Loren; Aaron Abernathy; Matt Wilson’s “Honey and Salt” Quintet; Shayna Steele; The Revelers; Black String; Los Hermanos Arango; SJZ Collective Plays Weather Report; and Yuko Mabuchi Trio.

Maintaining a focus on the future of jazz, San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 2020 offers its own Next Gen Stage at Cafe Stritch, featuring five of the foremost regional youth jazz ensembles. Highlighted are the SJZ U19s led by GRAMMY® Award-winning saxophonist, composer and educator Dr. Aaron Lington. Other youth ensembles include: Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band, Prospect High School, and others soon to be announced.

“We are thrilled to present a Winter Fest lineup that captures a rousing mix of emerging artists across a breadth of music styles,” said SJZ Executive Director Brendan Rawson. “Winter Fest continues to grow as a much-anticipated showcase exploring how jazz and its associated offshoots continues to evolve in exciting ways.”

“We are pleased, among other highlights, to continue our relationship with the San Jose State University Big Band program in the collaboration with rising star Sheléa,” says Bruce Labadie, Artistic and Festival Director of San Jose Jazz. “This program includes the artist working with the students, and showcases their and her talents, at the beautiful Hammer Theater.”

Highlights of Confirmed Artists @ San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 2020:
Multiple GRAMMY Award-nominee and Guggenheim and MacArthur Fellow Miguel Zenón is widely considered as one of the most groundbreaking and influential saxophonists of his generation. Zenón has released 12 recordings as a leader, including the GRAMMY-nominated Yo Soy La Tradición (2018) and Típico (2017), as well as his latest Sonero: The Music of Ismael Rivera (2019). As a sideman, he has worked with jazz luminaries such as The SFJAZZ Collective, Charlie Haden, Fred Hersch, The Village Vanguard Orchestra, Antonio Sanchez, and many more. Zenón has topped both the “Jazz Artist of the Year” and Alto Saxophonist categories on the 2014 JazzTimes Critics Poll, and was selected as the “Alto Saxophonist of the Year” by the Jazz Journalist Association in 2015, 2018 and 2019.

With hands that effortlessly glide over the keys and a voice that will carry you to the moon, Sheléa‘s musical mastery makes her one of the most exhilarating up and coming artists today. Sheléa’s debut album, Love Fell On Me, is a return to true artistry blending traditional pop, jazz, R&B and soul. Sheléa penned and produced two songs on Chanté Moore’s last album, Love the Woman, and lent her stellar vocals to soundtrack projects including Hotel Rwanda, Akeelah and the Bee and Be Cool. Sheléa has been a guest vocalist with Take 6, which through her vocal appearance on the song “Someone to Watch Over Me” drew the attention of Stevie Wonder. In May 2012, Wonder recommended Sheléa perform for President and Michelle Obama at the White House, where she brought down the house with her rendition of “Anyone Who Had a Heart” featuring Arturo Sandoval on trumpet. Love Fell On Me features Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, Narada Michael Walden, as well as the single, “I’ll Never Let You Go,” which peaked at #22 on the Billboard R&B charts and charted for 22+ weeks.

Georgia on My Mind: The Music of Ray Charles features Emmy Award-winner Clint Holmes, 10-time GRAMMY Award-winner and Gospel Music Hall of Famers Take 6, vocalist Nnenna Freelon, and GRAMMY Award-winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum. Take 6 is a vocal sensation that has collaborated with Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, and Queen Latifah. Joining the group is Las Vegas-based vocal star Clint Holmes. Nnenna Freelon, a six-time GRAMMY Award-nominee and DownBeat “Vocalist of the Year,” will add her soulful vocal style to the Ray Charles mix as well as GRAMMY Award-winner, Kirk Whalum, who will bring his funky R&B saxophone sound to the stage. Boasting iconic tunes from the catalogue of the genius himself, the artists make each song a winning part of the tapestry that is Ray Charles’ music. Join San Jose Jazz Winter Fest in honoring the genius from Georgia – Ray Charles!

International Guitar Night returns to San Jose Jazz Winter Fest for their 20th Anniversary Tour. For this special anniversary, founder Brian Gore has put together his most eclectic lineup yet with guest host from England, Mike Dawes. His incredible two-hand contemporary style is joined by fretless Turkish guitarist Cenk Erdogan, as well as electrifying jazz virtuoso Olli Soikkeli from Finland and Hawaiian slack-key master, Jim “Kimo” West.

-Mike Dawes is an English guitar player known for composing, arranging and performing multiple parts simultaneously on one instrument using unique extended and micro-techniques. He is hailed as one of the world’s finest and most creative modern fingerstyle guitarists. Dawes is also lead guitar player for Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues who’s featured heavily on multiple DVD and PBS releases, notably Spirits…Live which debuted at #2 on the U.S. Billboard charts.

-Cenk Erdogan was born in Istanbul and has composed music for films like the Turkish romance Issiz Adam as well as for the queen of Turkish pop, Sezen Aksu. His latest album, Lahza, with Swedish drummer Mehmet Ikiz is a guitar and drum duo project consisting of original music and live improvisations. He performs regularly with his solo, duo, and trio projects and composes in a wide range of musical styles.

-Olli Soikkeli was born in Nurmes, Finland and started playing guitar at the age of 12. After touring throughout Europe with musicians such as Paulus Schäfer and Arnoud Van Den Berg, Olli decided to move to New York City in 2014. Olli has performed at legendary venues such as Birdland Jazz Club, Blue Note and Lincoln Center. Despite his young age, he’s already played with stars like Bucky Pizzarelli, Stochelo Rosenberg, Tommy Emmanuel, Andreas Öberg, Cyrille Aimee, Anat Cohen, Antti Sarpila, and Marian Petrescu.

-Jim “Kimo” West is best known as the longtime guitarist for the world’s most successful musical comedy artist, “Weird Al” Yankovic. Kimo is regarded as one of the world’s foremost “ki ho’alu” or Hawaiian “slack-key” guitarists and his music has garnered many millions of streams on Spotify and Pandora. His warm and engaging fingerpicking guitar style has its roots in 1840s Hawaii, when Mexican vaqueros first brought guitars to the Big Island of Hawaii. Kimo is a 2008 winner of the Hawaii Music Awards and three-time Na Hoku Hanohano (the Hawaiian “GRAMMY”) nominee.

With a catalogue of 11 studio albums including the Platinum-selling, GRAMMY Award-nominated Breakfast On The Morning Tram (EMI/BLUE NOTE 2007), Stacy Kent has graced the stages of more than 50 countries over the course of her lauded career. She paid her dues in the jazz clubs of London, before releasing the first of a series of six albums, Close Your Eyes (1997), for the Candid label. Her second album, The Tender Trap (1999), brought her to the attention of jazz audiences in the U.S. when CBS Sunday Morning and NPR’s “All Things Considered” featured her music. Let Yourself Go, a celebration of Fred Astaire was released in 2000, and Dreamsville (2001) led to Kent being awarded the “Jazz Vocalist of the Year” with the BBC Jazz Awards. Her first album for Blue Note was followed in 2009 by the gold-selling, all-French, Raconte-Moi. Kent’s most recent release, I Know I Dream: The Orchestral Sessions (Okeh/SONY), won “Album of the Year” in the vocal category at the 2017 Jazz Japan Awards.

The award-winning jazz/pop artist Halie Loren‘s albums consistently chart at #1 on the Billboard/Japan Jazz Charts, iTunes and Amazon Music. Loren’s latest accolades include an Independent Music Award 2011 for her original song “Thirsty,” a Best Vocal Jazz Album 2012 award in Japan’s Jazz Critique Magazine for her album Heart First (which also reached #1 on Canada’s iTunes Jazz chart), and since 2013, a total of four Billboard #1 albums on Japan’s jazz charts. Her video for “Noah,” the second single from her 2018 From the Wild Sky album, won an Emmy Award in 2019 for “Best Music Video” as presented by The National Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) Southeast Chapter. She is currently touring in support of From the Wild Sky, produced by UK tour-de-force Troy Miller.

2018 Summer Fest artist Aaron Abernathy is a rising pianist/singer with a style rooted in gospel and the organic, acoustic soul of the early ’70s. Frequent collaborator of hip-hop artist Black Milk, Abernathy has created a stir with his latest solo album, Dialogue, which was hailed by Essence, Bandcamp Daily, and Okayplayer. He has acted as musical director for global touring acts Black Milk and Slum Village, and collaborated with GRAMMY Award-nominated artists including Jack White, The Foreign Exchange, and Eric Roberson. Abernathy initially staked his claim as a great solo artist with the release of his album, Monologue (2016), which was met with critical acclaim from Pitchfork and Saint Heron.

Matt Wilson has released 13 albums as a leader, appeared on more than 400 others as a sideman, and has played with an impressive array of some of the most renowned names in jazz, including Wynton Marsalis, Joe Lovano, Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden, John Scofield, and Herbie Hancock, just to name a few. Wilson was named “2018 Musician of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association and his album, Honey And Salt (Music Inspired by the Poetry of Carl Sandburg), won the JJA’s “Album of the Year Award.” That recording and his previous, Beginning of a Memory, accomplished the rare feat of an artist receiving consecutive 5-star (masterpiece) reviews from DownBeat magazine. Wilson’s commitment to jazz goes far beyond his estimable skills as a drummer and bandleader. Also a renowned educator, he is on a tireless mission to foster a lively and deep connection between music and people, whether they be playing or listening to it. To that end, he is extremely passionate about bringing jazz to new audiences and inspiring students to be as individualistic and imaginative as possible.

Known from recordings with Snarky Puppy, Moby, and a host of other stars, Shayna Steele takes flight on her latest and third album, Watch Me Fly. Her album offers six self-penned originals and four retro R&B, jazz, and blues-inflected classics showcasing Steele’s supremely soulful energy, as well as her mind-blowing vocal artistry and songwriting skills. Steele has performed with the likes of Rihanna, Kelly Clarkson, Bette Midler, and Steely Dan as a sought after background vocalist. She made the decision to step out from her role as a background singer and has been touring regularly as a featured vocalist with GRAMMY Award-winning trumpeter, Chris Botti. Steele is also a featured vocalist on Snarky Puppy’s Family Dinner, and she reached #1 on the Billboard Dance charts as a featured vocalist on Moby’s Disco Lies.

The Revelers, featuring founding members of the Red Stick Ramblers and The Pine Leaf Boys who are touted as “unquestionably the two groups at the vanguard of the Louisiana cultural renaissance” — have joined together to form a Louisiana supergroup combining swamp-sop, Cajun, country, blues and zydeco. As individuals, they are each in high demand having performed and recorded with T-Bone Burnett, Natalie Merchant, Linda Ronstadt, and Tim O’Brien, to name a few. They have all appeared on the 2011 season finale of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, and they also were handpicked by David Simon (producer/creator, The Wire) to be featured musicians on the third and fourth seasons of HBO’s Tremé. The powerful singing of Chas Justus and Eric Frey mixes traditional Cajun and zydeco with swing, along with the rhythm section of Glenn Fields, Eric Frey, and the crooning vocals of Glenn Fields and Blake Miller.

Black String seeks a new sound that can incorporate a variety of expressions in traditional music intermingled with jazz with both composed and improvised creations. Black String features Yoon Jeong Heo (geomungo), Jean Oh (electric guitar), Aram Lee (daegeum, yanggeum) and Min Wang Hwang (ajaeng, janggu), who through Asian intuition and musical idioms improvise out of a framework focused on Korean traditional music. Founded in 2011 as part of a government sponsored Korea-UK cultural exchange program titled “UK Connection,” Black String has performed at WOMEX 2016, London Jazz Festival, and Winter Jazzfest. Amplified bursts of sound of the geomungo (6-stringed zither) and Korean bamboo flutes mix with the fierce quake of Korean traditional percussion and unpredictable melodies of jazz guitar, all of which are guaranteed to grasp your full attention.

Formed in 2003, Los Hermanos Arango involves the seamless combination of Afro-Cuban folklore and funkified jazz, which renders a new genre: folklo-jazz. The instrumental format integrates vocals, harmony (keyboards, bass, and guitar), horns, and percussion in the form of an authentic battery of ancient Afro-folkloric drums. The group presents rhythms that have developed roots in Cuba and originate in West Africa. They highlight the Yoruba, Bantú (Congo), and Carabalí (Abakuá), as well as Rumba, and other popular rhythms. Los Hermanos Arango has released six albums and two documentaries. Their album, Oro Negro, received two Cubadisco awards; Los Hermanos Arango y Las Estrellas del Folklor received three Cubadisco awards; and The Arango’s World garnered three Cubadisco award nominations. Their latest album, Bendita Guanabacoa, is also nominated for three Cubadisco awards.

The SJZ Collective
is comprised of drummer Wally Schnalle, trumpeter/flugelhorn player John L. Worley, Jr., organist Brian Ho, guitarist Hristo Vitchev, saxophonist Oscar Pangilinan, and bassist Saúl Sierra. Brainchild of drummer Wally Schnalle, the Collective began in 2018 with a program that included arrangements from all the members of the group, reimagining the music of Thelonious Monk. After debuting at San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 2018, the group went on to tour Asia, playing to thousands in Taiwan. In 2019, they released a new program featuring the music of Charles Mingus and followed with an Asian tour through Japan, several cities in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

In 2020, the SJZ Collective will present music of one of the most influential bands in the world of jazz fusion: Weather Report. The music of the pre-eminent early fusion band is filled with beautiful melodies, surprising angular melodies, infectious grooves and unbridled energy. The SJZ Collective’s take on this great material promises to be an amazing night of music.

Yuko Mabuchi started playing classical piano at age four, in her hometown of Fukui, Japan. She arrived in Los Angeles in 2010 to further her studies while performing at some of LA’s top venues. She has performed at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, opening for Branford Marsalis; Blues Alley in Washington DC as a guest of the National Cherry Blossom Japanese Jazz series; the Arlington Jazz Festival; and the Walt Disney Concert Hall, as featured pianist with ICYOLA, to name a few. Over the course of her career, Mabuchi has released four CDs including Waves (Vista Records, 2011), My Life (Vista Records, 2014), The Yuko Mabuchi Trio (Yarlung Records, 2017) — which was recorded live at USC’s Cammilleri Hall and topped the audiophile charts, and her latest project, Tribute To Miles (Yarlung Records, 2019).

Sponsors and supporters of San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 2020 include: KCSM, Metro, City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs, Hammer Theatre, San José State University, Fusicology, Firewood Marketing, and venue partners Art Boutiki Music Hall, Cafe Stritch, Oshman Family JCC, and Poor House Bistro.

San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 2020
When: Friday, February 14 – Saturday, February 29, 2020
Where: Downtown San Jose and Palo Alto, CA
Admission: Concert tickets are $15(Advance)/$20(Door) – $35(Advance)/$40 (Door); All Concert Fest Pass: $320 (Pass includes GA seating only); Next Gen student ensemble shows are free.
More Info: sanjosejazz.org/winterfest; (408) 288-7557
Ticket Info: Cash and credit accepted at door

About San Jose Jazz
Founded in 1986, San Jose Jazz is a public benefit corporation celebrating jazz as a dynamic, evolving art form and is producer of the annual San Jose Jazz Summer Fest and Winter Fest. With its singular music programming and innovative educational offerings, San Jose Jazz preserves the jazz tradition while actively supporting the next generation of performers within the genre and beyond. For more information, please visit sanjosejazz.org.