San Jose Jazz Festival: Celebrating 20 Years

“The blues are an integral part of jazz and all music today,” Over the past 20 years, San Jose Jazz has presented some of the greatest blues talent in the world and this year is no exception. This year’s line-up will please everyone from the casual listener to the most avid blues fan.” ~ Bruce Labadie, festival director

Blues Stage Showcases Rising Talent and Audience Favorites

I wanted to briefly mention to TheBluesBlogger readers that if you happen to live or be in the San Jose area this weekend Aug-7-9, 2009, then you don’t want to miss The 20th Annual San Jose Jazz Festival. The festival features world-class blues acts on the Main Stage in the Plaza de Cesar Chavez as well as an entire stage dedicated to blues located on San Fernando Street between Almaden Boulevard and Guadalupe Parkway.

The blues kick-start the festival Friday night with Leroy Bell and His Only Friends, and continue on the Main Stage Saturday with Black Joe Lewis, rising sensation from Austin, Texas… Bettye LaVette headlines the Blues Stage at 7 pm on Sunday, August 9th. An incredibly inspiring and soulful singer, LaVette brings her unique voice to the climax of the Blues Stage on Sunday night.

Saturday’s lineup is topped by Bay Area favorite Chris Cain. Black Joe Lewis makes a second appearance on the Blues Stage on Saturday as well. Inspired by the sounds of Otis Redding, Lightnin’ Hopkins and James Brown, his brash style will generate lots of energy and character to already colorful event… Lara Price and JC Smith will bring their powerful music to the festival over the weekend. Some of the best blues harmonica players in the Bay Area will also be featured in the Harmonica Blowout.

The Blues Stage

is sponsored by Budweiser, Stella Artois and KKUP-FM radio. The stage operates Saturday from 1 pm to 10 pm. And Sunday from 1 pm to 9 pm. Admission to the festival is only $15 a day.

Saturday August 8th

1pm: Mitch Woods and His Rocket 88’s
3pm: The Lara Price Blues Revue
5pm: JC Smith Allstars w/Fillmore Slim, John Broadway Tucker/Pat Wilder
7pm: Black Joe Lewis
9pm: Chris Cain

Sunday August 9th

1pm: Tip of the Top
3pm: Harmonica Revue featuring Gary Smith, Aki Kumar/David Barrett
5pm: Ron Thompson and the Resisters
7pm: Bettye LaVette

Summer is a memorable time of season for music. And my favorite part is the variety of festivals/events that take place. Events like The San Jose Jazz Fest help capture those special moments when you see a great band you’re familiar with, or the fantastic feeling of discovering a new talent you least expected… Will you get the opportunity to checkout the festival this year? Have you ever been to this event in the past? If not, now’s your chance… Please feel free to add your comments below.


About San Jose Jazz

San Jose Jazz, producer of the annual AT&T San Jose Jazz Festival, is a public benefit corporation dedicated to promoting jazz through performance and education to enrich the lives of people in Silicon Valley. Proceeds from the performances help to support San Jose Jazz’s education and outreach programs as well as other year-round performances throughout Silicon Valley. For more on San Jose Jazz, please visit their website:

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14 years ago

Bettye LaVette was amazing. She stopped singing and I just sat there with my mouth open, not believing what I just heard.

Black Joe Louis? Would have liked him better if you’d put him first. He didn’t have a chance as a follow-up to Bettye.

Thanks for a great post!

14 years ago

Ohhhh… I ‘m mesmerized by Bettye LaVette amazing soulful voice !!
Thank you Blue Blogger for sharing such a great artist !!

Chip Boaz
14 years ago

We’re very lucky in the Bay Area to have such a world class Jazz festival.  They really go beyond the standard jazz festival formula and reach out to a variety of jazz listeners.  They’ve got the Blues stage, a Latin Jazz stage, a Salsa stage, a youth performer stage, and so much more.  There’s a respect for all different artistic approaches, even the stuff beyond the mainstream.  Something like that takes a lot of thought to put together – they’re doing more than taking artists right off the cover of JazzTimes.  I really like how the festival strives to expose people to go outside their comfort zones.  It’s cheap and fun, easy to walk around and get a taste of everything.

I’d second Brian’s recommendation on this one, if you’re in the Bay Area this weekend, don’t miss it!  I’ll be ther on Saturday covering the festivities for Latin Jazz Corner; hope to see some of you there!     

14 years ago

Saw Betty LaVette a couple of years ago at the Bull Durham Blues Festival. She was stunning. Just my luck she’s performing on the 9th. I fly into San Jose on the 15th. Argh!