A History of Jazz


Jazz Festivals - San Jose

The San Jose Jazz Festival is renowned as the largest free, outdoor jazz festival in the world. It brings together a culturally diverse audience of over 165,000 people to enjoy the sounds of talented jazz musicians.

Founded in 1986 by a small group of Bay Area musicians and jazz devotees, its mission has always been to “celebrate jazz through performance and education to enrich and improve the lives of the people in Silicon Valley.”

The San Jose Jazz Society, the organizers of the festival, collaborates with teachers, administrators, and artists year-round to develop and deliver quality programs to over 10,000 students. A deeper understanding of and appreciation for jazz is instilled through lectures, musical performances, master classes, and one-on-one instruction.

The San Jose Jazz Festival is just another way that the Society instills this appreciation for the music.

When? The festival takes place every summer in August. The music does not end in the summer, though. Every Sunday afternoon in January, February and March, international and local jazz talents perform in various venues throughout San Jose.

Where? The San Jose Jazz Festival is held in and around Plaza de Cesar Chavez in downtown San Jose, California.

Who? Performers of the past have included:

  • Kim Nalley Quartet
  • Jamie Davis Quintet
  • Dennis Wilson
  • Nnenna Freelon
  • Jimmy Heath
  • Cubanismo
  • Nester Torres
  • Yellowjackets
  • Greg Osby
  • Ledisi
  • Ricardo Lemvo
  • Makina Loca

For updated news, schedules, dates, and prices, visit San Jose Jazz Festival.