- Sylvia Cuenca Quartet (Cafe Stritch): The drummer led her group to perform at Cafe Stritch from time to time but this time featuring Bassoon virtuoso Paul Hanson. Hanson also plays another instrument from the other end of the range: Soprano sax! As a fan of modern jazz, I enjoyed their music very much.
- SJZ Collective (Fairmont Hotel): they played Thelonius Monk's music re-arranged for the group. Monk has a sound that is so unique that I think non-jazz fan could tell immediately he's different. I went there in the middle of a lengthy Hristo Vitchev guitar solo. He certainly rocked the house!
- Nick Panoutsos Quartet (San Jose Museum of Art): this is a free stage that I could have attended without ticket and it's promoting newer musicians. The members of this quartet certainly looked very young. On the other hand, the group sounded very experienced and the original compositions were mature. I could certainly hear influences by Coltrane.
- Aaron Lington Plays the music of Astor Piazzolla (Fairmont Hotel): I bet most music fan have heard Piazzolla's Tango music one way or the other, especially Libertango, which was the first tune of this show. Of course they played a lot of less famous but not less interesting pieces by Piazzolla. Dr. Lington told us a bit of Piazzolla's story: when he was studying music, he struggled a bit with composing but then his mentor listened to him playing some tango from his home country of Argentina. His mentor asked him what was the music and encourage him to focus on tango. And the rest is history! As a member of the academics, of course Dr. Lington has great technique, demonstrated in his jazz improv as well as a classical (no improv) duet between his Baritone Sax and his wife's piano. The rest of the band was equally amazing with an unusual mix of instruments: accordion, violin (by Mads Tolling), guitar and drums.
- Brian Charette Trio (El Taurino): This performance was part of the 10th anniversary of the Jazz Organ Hall of Fame. I still remember going to the first one! In addition to playing his own compositions, he also played some classics as well as a less well-known piece by a legend: 8 Counts for Rita on Jimmy Smith's Unfinished Business album.
I saw some of the acts briefly between stages but I was really impressed by the Cuban musician Yissy Garcia and her band Bandancha. They played some very dance-able fusion jazz.
Here is the link to the pictures from the festival.