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San Jose Jazz Winter Fest

In Music
LIQUE IT: The Lique, composed of four university-trained jazz musicians and an emcee, perform at this year’s SJZ Winter Fest.

LIQUE IT: The Lique, composed of four university-trained jazz musicians and an emcee, perform at this year’s SJZ Winter Fest.

San Jose Jazz Winter Fest returns to downtown Feb. 14. This year, as always, the festival features a lineup of traditionalists and forward-thinking rule-benders. Here are just a few of this year’s acts. For more info on tickets and the performers, go to sanjosejazz.org.


The Revelers
Feb 14, 8pm
Poor House Bistro Studio, San Jose

Even for those who’ve never been anywhere near New Orleans, there’s something irresistible about that sprightly Cajun beat and that slippery zydeco sound. Coming straight out of Lafayette, in southwest Louisiana, this six-man outfit mixes Cajun swing, zydeco blues and a uniquely regional style of R&B they call “swamp rock” to create a funky-but-soulful dance style that earned them a Grammy nomination for Best Regional Roots album. These guys bow to tradition, but they’re much more interested in hybrid forms that make their high-stepping sound more appealing to mainstream audiences.


Georgia on My Mind
Feb 18, 7pm
Hammer Theatre Center, San Jose

The late, great Ray Charles will be on everyone’s mind at this tribute show featuring a summit-like coming-together of amazing soul and jazz musicians. The vocal group Take 6 has collected 10 Grammys and their list of collaborators includes the iconic Mr. Charles himself. Also on board is Grammy-nominated vocalist Clint Holmes, and the accomplished jazz singer Nnenna Freelon who toured with Charles for years and has performed the Georgia On My Mind show since 2014. Throw in the fine saxophonist Kirk Whalum, and you have a stellar showcase of the familiar music of a beloved American original.


The Lique
Feb 20, 8pm
The Art Boutiki, San Jose

The Lique (pronounced “the leak”) first came about when a four-man group arose from the jazz program at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. When they met rapper Rasar Amani, who hails from Sacramento, they knew they had found the missing piece. Together they blend sharply defined, cutting-edge jazz with funky, quicksilver hip-hop and have become one of the most popular home-grown acts to perform regularly on the Las Vegas Strip. (Check out the band’s unique tribute to the famous Dark Knight in their original song “Batman.”) The Lique comes to town with a smart new album titled Times Like These, featuring their vibrant new single “I Am.”

Los Hermanos Arango
Feb 28, 8pm
The Art Boutiki, San Jose

This six-person family band from Guanabacoa, Cuba has performed all over the world as ambassadors for the Afro-Cuban form known as “timba.” Not only are they all master musicians, several have musicologist’s interests in the music of Cuba—frontman Feliciano Arango, for example, has written two books on Cuban timba and starred in two documentaries on contemporary Cuban music. The band’s sound blends traditional Afro-Cuban styles—some with roots in the West-African Yoruban tradition—with a funk-heavy jazz component, creating something they call “folklo-jazz.” Their latest release Bendita Guanabacoa has been nominated for three Cubadisco awards.


Halie Loren
Feb 29, 7:30pm
Café Strich, San Jose

Alaska-born, Oregon-based singer-songwriter Halie Loren attracted mainstream attention early on, having won a songwriting competition at the tender age of 13. By the time she turned 20, she was touring the world and since then, she’s released a half-dozen albums and has recorded songs in Spanish, French, Japanese and Korean. (She’s had particular success in Japan, scoring four No. 1 albums.) She’s also collaborated with several symphony orchestras and jazz combos, making her equally comfortable in concert halls and jazz clubs. Her most recent recording, From the Wild Sky, is a collection of lush, jazz-flavored tunes that showcases her diverse musical appetites.

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