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San Jose Jazz Presents Winter Fest 2016 News | Concerts
San Jose Jazz Presents Weeklong Winter Fest 2016 Concerts

Jazz violinist Regina Carter, the John Scofield-Joe Lovano Quartet, Nicholas Payton, Delfeayo Marsalis, the Marquis Hill Blacktet and vocalist and trumpeter Bria Skonberg are among the national headliners slated to appear at the 2016 Kaiser Permanente San Jose Winter Fest concert series in San Jose, presented by the folks at San Jose Jazz, producers of the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest (August 12-14, 2016).

Also performing at the sixth annual concert series, which is quickly taking its place as one of the top winter showcases for jazz in the Bay Area, are instrumental world music quartet Incendio; Kneedelus, a collaboration between beat scientist Daedelus and the Grammy-nominated funk-jazz outfit Kneebody; vocalists Kadhja Bonet and Jackie Ryan; Hammond B3 master and veteran of the legendary Tower of Power and Santana bands, Chester "CT" Thompson; a swing-music dance party with Roberta Donnay and the Prohibition Mob; and some of the Bay Area's premier youth jazz ensembles.

"In our sixth year, the Kaiser Permanente San Jose Jazz Winter Fest continues to attract top national jazz talent, and this year's festival has the most prominent artists and more shows than ever before," said Bruce Labadie, SJZ Artistic and Festival Director. "The urban nature of the event, spread throughout downtown San Jose and fit amidst the Cinequest Film Festival, offers a fun winter week to inexpensively explore new and familiar talent."

Winter Fest 2016 is set to run February 25 through March 8, 2016, at various locales, including Café Stritch, The Continental, the Schultz Cultural Arts Hall at Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto, the Trianon Theatre, MACLA (the Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, a contemporary arts space and incubator dedicated to the Chicano/Latino experience), the Asian fusion restaurant Jade Leaf Eatery & Lounge (at the site of the former McWhorter's Stationers) and other venues in and around downtown San Jose.


Saxophonist Joe Lovano and guitarist John Scofield

Maintaining a focus on the future of jazz, Winter Fest 2016 offers its own Next Gen Stage at Café Stritch, featuring six of the finest regional youth jazz ensembles. Featured in Winter Fest 2016 are the San José State University Jazz Combo led by bassist John Shifflett and the San José Jazz High School All Stars led by Grammy award-winning saxophonist, composer and educator Dr. Aaron Lington. Other youth ensembles on stage this year include the Homestead High School Jazz Ensemble, the Lincoln High School Jazz Band, the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars Combo and the Los Gatos High School Jazz Combo.

For Winter Fest 2016, San Jose Jazz has extended north a few miles to Palo Alto; however many of their programs remain in the South First Street arts district to add to the renewed cultural energy of the downtown region.

Featured Artists at Winter Fest 2016

Nominated for two 2016 Grammy awards, guitarist-composer John Scofield and fellow Grammy award-winning saxophonist Joe Lovano bring their eponymous John Scofield Joe Lovano Quartet to the Schultz Cultural Arts Hall, presented in association with the Oshman Family JCC in Palo Alto on Saturday, February 27. One of the most popular groups of the early '90s, the duo was heard on Scofield's widely influential Blue Note albums "Meant to Be" and "Time on My Hands." For this performance, Scofield and Lovano will be joined by bassist Ben Street and drummer Lewis Nash.

Another Grammy award-winning trumpeter, Nicholas Payton, burst onto the jazz scene in 1994, with a series of seven high-profile albums on the legendary Verve record label. Since then, he's become an international jazz fixture collaborating with many of the genre's elite players from Joe Henderson and Doc Cheatham to Herbie Hancock and Lenny White. In recent years, Payton's attention has turned to the keyboard as well as his familiar horn.

Delfeayo Marsalis is one of today's leading jazz trombonists. Along with brothers Wynton, Branford and Jason, and headed by pater familia, he's a member of the "first family" of jazz. Delfeayo now takes a swinging quartet on the road performing compositions from "The Last Southern Gentlemen." Delfeayo holds an impressive list of credits as a sideman for legendary jazz drummers Max Roach, Art Blakey, and Elvin Jones.


Instrumental world and Latin guitar fusion quartet Incendio

Winner of the much-coveted MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Fellowship, violinist Regina Carter is considered the foremost jazz violinist of her generation. An artist full of colorful curiosity, passion, and a quest for beauty, Carter explores folk music of the South on her latest recording, "Southern Comfort."

Trumpeter and composer Marquis Hill has been an active participant in the Ravinia Jazz Scholars and the Ravinia Steans Music Institute, which introduced him to mentors Bobby Broom, Tito Carillo and Willie Pickens. His musical prowess became widely recognized upon winning the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Trumpet Competition.

Twins Paris and Amber Strother and musical sister Anita Bias make up KING. In 2011, the trio independently released their debut EP to much acclaim. They've garnered accolades such as Pitchfork's "Best New Track," NPR's "Song of the Day," 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing, Billboard's 10 Best R&B Songs of 2014, The Guardian's "Best Albums of 2013," Glamour Magazine's "2013 Free Holiday Music Campaign," and a Grammy for "Move Love," their collaboration with Robert Glasper on his album "Black Radio," which won Best R&B Album.

The collaborative project Kneedelus features the instrumental quintet Kneebody and electronic producer Daedelus. Kneedelus' saxophonist Ben Wendel won a Chamber Music America composition grant that became a catalyst to write a series of pieces that would bridge the gap between the often indescribable world of Kneebody and the unique aesthetic of Daedelus. When the quintet entered the studio with Alfred Darlington (aka Daedelus), the ensemble churned out a nine-song set of originals that sits inside the rich pantheon of instrumental music, but with a modern sheen that takes the shape of a multi-headed beast straddling rock, jazz, and electronic music.

Multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter Kadhja Bonet has quickly caught the attention of global tastemakers such as Gilles Peterson (BBC 6), Nick Luscombe (BBC 3) and Jason Bentley (KCRW's "Morning Becomes Eclectic"). The 2014 Red Bull Music Academy participant recently released her debut EP, "Visitor," in September 2015. Bonet led the project by writing, arranging, and producing many of "Visitor"'s compositions, and performed a collection of instruments including violin, viola, flute and guitar. She shared production duties with Grammy award-nominated engineer Itai Shapira (Lion Babe, Selah Sue), who provided additional bass and guitar work.

Award-winning trumpeter, vocalist and composer Bria Skonberg is a fast-rising star. First known for her knowledge of classic jazz, she is now creating an adventurous and distinctive style rooted in New Orleans jazz and blues, world percussion, soul and cabaret. She has performed at over 50 jazz festivals, including SJZ Summer Fest 2015, and headlined major venues including Symphony Space, Birdland, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola and Cafe Carlyle. Bria has performed with the likes of Nicholas Payton, Anat Cohen, Scott Robinson and Bucky Pizzarelli.


Vocalist Jackie Ryan

Vocalist Jackie Ryan teamed up with Grammy award-winner John Clayton on her latest chart-topping album, "Listen Here," a tour-de-force through a myriad of jazz idioms from blues to gospel. "Listen Here" also features a stunning duet with three-time Grammy award nominee Gerald Clayton on the title track. Thrilling audiences across the globe with her powerful three-and-a-half octave range and her magnetic stage presence, Ryan has amassed an impressive recording catalogue, including three back-to-back #1 CDs on JazzWeek's nationwide chart.

Incendio, in both Italian and Spanish, means "fire" and this group's sound is all about energy, exploration, and passion. At the heart of Incendio's style is a "Latin guitar world fusion" sound of the Latin or Spanish guitar, which can conjure up romantic as well as powerful and bold images. Incendio's live performances have become an explosive improvisatory journey, garnering tremendous audience response in such diverse venues as the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, the Sundance Film Festival, Levitt Pavilions, Catalina Jazz Club, and many more.

A seductive vocalist with a hard-swinging ensemble, Roberta Donnay & the Prohibition Mob hit mightily with their reinvigorated blend of vintage jazz, blues and swing that introduces listeners to the swing era with its jump-swing rhythmic horn sections and new dances, along with party-rousing shout-chorus originals that evoke and revive the open spirit that birthed jazz.

And last, by by no means least, rounding out Winter Fest 2016 is veteran keyboardist Chester "CT" Thompson. Thompson was a rising Hammond B3 star on the chitlin' circuit jazz scene in the late '60s and gained national notoriety with Tower of Power during the '70s. Thompson joined Carlos Santana in 1983 and helped drive the group's powerful blues-based, Latin-flavored rock 'n roll sound. During his 26-year tenure, Thompson injected the band's music with a powerful, creative energy that added a new sonic dimension. Thompson co-wrote, with Santana, the songs on the instrumental record "Blues for Salvador" and made key contributions to the guitarist's 1999 smash album, "Supernatural."

For more information about this year's Winter Fest concert series, or to learn more about San Jose Jazz, visit the organization's website.

Photos: Wayne Saroyan/JazzWest.com (Bria Skonberg, top); San Jose Jazz (Lovano-Scofield, Incendio, Jackie Ryan)
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