San Jose Jazz Summer Fest: 10 acts to catch at the 2022 festival


There’s a lot to like about this year’s San Jose Jazz Summer Fest.

Yes, of course, there’s always a lot to like about this incredible festival – which brings some of the top talents in jazz, world music, blues and other genres to multiple stages in downtown San Jose each August.

Yet, this lineup is absolutely bursting at the seams with cool acts, including such headliners as Lee Fields, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Leela James, Stanley Clarke and Ledisi.

Overall, more than 90 acts are set to perform on 12 stages — indoor and outdoor — during the three-day festival, which takes place Aug. 12-14 at Plaza de Cesar Chavez at San Carlos in downtown San Jose (enter at the ticket booth on the south end of the plaza.)

Shows that take place in San Jose Jazz’s Break Room venue will also be available to livestream.

Details and tickets are at available at

Here are 10 of our top picks for the 2022 Summer Fest, organized chronologically.

Caroline Chung & Citizens Jazz

Chung is a Bay Area bassist, songwriter and producer, who has released a full-length album of original tunes — titled “Sounds of Haejin” — as well as the EP “Citizen Jazz Tribute to the Great Nina Simone.” Earlier this year, Chung and her band Citizen Jazz — featuring a rotating roster of local musicians — performed material from Simone’s “Silk & Soul” classic record during two sold-out concerts at the SFJAZZ Center.

Details: 6 p.m. Aug. 12, Break Room Stage

JC Smith Band

One of the Bay Area’s most accomplished blues players, Smith has shared stages with such legends of the game as Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin, B.B. King, Pinetop Perkins and Buddy Miles. He’s a terrific vocalist and guitarist, who has led his group to such recognition as being named West Coast Blues Band of the Year in 2006 by the Bay Area Blues Society.

Details: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12, Blues/Big Easy Stage

Cameron Graves

Famed saxophonist Kamasi Washington reportedly once described Graves’s musical style as an “almost unbelievable combination of modal jazz, romantic era European classical music and mathematical death metal.” And, yes, that does indeed sound mighty appealing to us. So turn out to hear this pianist-composer — who has been influenced both by Herbie Hancock and Slipknot — perform his self-described brand of “thrash jazz.”

Details: 9 p.m. Aug. 12, Montgomery Theater

Diunna Greenleaf

The Houston blues singer is yet another great addition to the Little Village Foundation label, which does so much to provide much-needed attention to some very deserving talents. Greenleaf, who has three Blues Music Awards to her credit, does a fine job showcasing her tremendous blues vocals on her Little Village debut, “I Ain’t Playin’.”

Details: 2:45 p.m. Aug. 13, Blues/Big Easy Stage

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