San Jose Jazz Winter Fest Lights Up the South Bay with Music

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La Santa Cecilia perform at San Jose Jazz Winter Fest on Feb. 26. (Massimo Chisessi)

During that dark time when concerts were still canceled last year, San Jose Jazz commissioned some of the Bay Area’s most innovative musicians to record virtual performances in its state-of-the-art new venue, SJZ Break Room.

Now, the Break Room and other venues in the South Bay, including Hammer4, the Continental Bar Lounge & Patio and Stanford University’s Bing Studio, will come alive for the San Jose Jazz Winter Fest, which returns Feb. 11–27. The two weeks of in-person concerts feature a slate of artists who pull in influences from different cultures and genres, putting jazz in an ever-evolving musical conversation.

Chris Pierce, a folk singer known for his arresting vocals and stripped-down guitar playing, kicks off Winter Fest on Feb. 11. On Feb. 17, the Tiffany Austin Trio will bring another highlight: Austin, whose elegant jazz singing is infused with soul and blues, writes lyrics that speak to how music has always been an important conduit for Black history and resilience.

San Francisco native and rising vibraphone star Sasha Berliner performs on Feb. 20. Genre-expansive psychedelic singer and producer Mndsgn plays with his band the Rare Pleasures on Feb. 23. On Feb. 24, Joe Kye melds upbeat violin playing with inspirational storytelling. And La Santa Cecilia will light up the Mexican Heritage Plaza with a mélange of cumbia, bossa nova, jazz and even klezmer on Feb. 26, which is also the night the SJZ Collective performs the work of jazz master Wayne Shorter.

Head to San Jose Jazz for the rest of the concert lineup.