The 25th Anniversary San Jose Jazz Summer Fest has slowly expanded to create a weekend experience that’s one of our city’s cultural touchstones. Along with acts like Bootsy Collins, Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Snarky Puppy, Poncho Sanchez Band, Ledisi and others, the Fest’s Jazz Beyond Stage presents jazz in its most contemporary forms, where it often merges with hip-hop and electronic music.


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The Jazz Beyond Stage kicks off on Friday night with 23-year-old bassist Kenneth “GIZMO” Rodgers. His influences spanning the realms of jazz, pop, funk, rock, Latin, and hip-hop, and his resume already includes artists like Meshell Ndegeocello, Talib Kweli, Bilal and Lalah Hathaway.


Pianist and composer Kris Bowers, winner of the 2011 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, closes our Jazz Beyond Stage Friday night. A rising voice in a vibrant new wave of jazz, Bowers’ compositions draw from sources as varied as classical, rock, electronic and film scores.


Keep it going with Friday’s late-night Jazz Beyond After Party featuring DJs Sake One and The CME.


Saturday’s focus is on Stones Throw Records. If you want a primer before you head to the Stones Throw Block Party, check out Our Vinyl Weighs A Ton, a documentary about the avant-garde Los Angeles-based record label screened at Camera 12, right on the Fest grounds.


Ourvinyl-626x350First up at the Block Party, LA artist Knxwledge often remixes old R&B and raw rap tunes with ease, blazing his own path along the way with his unusual but familiar sound.


He’ll be followed by Karriem Riggins, whose modern spontaneity bridges the gaps between jazz and hip-hop. He’s produced for Erykah Badu, The Roots, and Common and played with jazz greats Oscar Peterson and Bobby Hutcherson. New album Music Kaleidoscope has solidified Riggins’ role in the modern music movement.

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Celebrated DJ J Rocc closes Post Street at 11pm. A founding member of the Beat Junkies with Melo-D and Rhettmatic, Rocc is one of the original turntablists of the decade.


When J Rocc finishes, a Fest wristband gets you into Jazz Beyond’s closing After Party featuring BVMO artists Dstrukt and SheaButter. These two are known to fuel downtown parties, and spin frequently at MOMSJ and Nomikai.


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