Winter Fest jazz artists embrace standards and new sounds – The Mercury News

Jazz isn’t usually the first genre that comes to mind when you think of “DJ set”, but San Jose Jazz was about to kick off its Winter Fest with an artist who blurs the line between live jazz and music. club culture.

Gilles Peterson’s February 14 set at the Continental Bar and Lounge in downtown San Jose is in keeping with the festival’s focus on emerging jazz artists. He was an early champion for many important artists who have performed at Winter Fest over the past five years, including Robert Glasper Experiment, Thundercat, José James, Kris Bowers, Taylor McFerrin, and Miguel Atwood-Ferguson.

For his own Winter Fest show, Peterson will perform alongside his frequent collaborator MC General Rubbish, aka Earl Zinger. The show kicks off at 9 p.m. with a roster of DJs from The Changing Same, a collaboration whose members perform weekly at The Continental.

A week later, on February 21, The Bad Plus played back-to-back sets at Cafe Stritch, across South First Street from The Continental. The trio – founding members Reid Anderson on bass and Dave King on drums, and new member Orrin Evans on piano – last year released “Never Stop II”, the new band’s debut album, made up entirely of original music with each member contributing to the compositions.

While the Minneapolis-based band is currently focused on their originals, the trio are known to combine elements of modern avant-garde jazz with rock and pop influences. The group covered songs from artists from Nirvana and the Pixies to Ornette Coleman and Neil Young.

The Bad Plus performs at 7:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at Café Stritch.

To showcase the educational programs of San Jose Jazz, Winter Fest features performances by several local high school and college jazz groups. On February 24, the SJSU Jazz Orchestra will be supporting Catherine Russell for a concert at the Hammer Theater Center. Known for performing jazz standards, Russell has also performed and recorded with a wide range of artists, including David Bowie, Steely Dan, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Feinstein, Rosanne Cash and Wynton Marsalis.

SJZ High School All Stars open for Russell at 5 p.m.
The Winter Fest will end on February 27 with a set by saxophonist Charles McPherson at Café Stritch. A performer and composer for over 50 years, McPherson is a respected educator. He is an honorary doctor of

Graduated in Fine Arts from California State University at San Marcos for “outstanding professional and creative accomplishments and influential role in mentoring future generations of musical artists.”
Mcpherson’s Stritch set starts at 7:30 p.m.

The San Jose Jazz Winter Fest 2019 takes place February 14-27 at various venues around downtown. Single concert tickets are $ 15 to $ 35 in advance and $ 18 to $ 38 at the door. For tickets and the full concert schedule, visit or call 408-288-7557.

Ada J. Kenney