San Jose Jazz Summer Fest a showcase of diversity

The San Jose Jazz Summer Fest was quite the rollicking party — from George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic on Friday night through the Whispers closing things out on Sunday evening.

In between, trumpeteer Chris Botti put on one of the festival’s most amazing sets ever, elevating what it means to be a headliner at the festival. Botti ventured out into the audience a couple of times, had a singer on stage to sing Puccini and even brought a 9-year-old girl up on stage from the audience to play the drums.

The action wasn’t all on the main stage, either. The intimate venues at the Jade Leaf Cafe and Cafe Stritch were often at capacity, with lines snaking out their doors. Dancers flocked to the Salsa and Big Easy/Blues stages. And there were good audiences watching the young musicians at the free Next Gen stage at the San Jose Museum of Art.

What was even more special — particularly in light of the horrible events in Charlottesville, Va. — was seeing all the diverse faces at those stages. Without a doubt, Summer Fest brings out the most diverse crowd that downtown San Jose sees in a single weekend. There was a spectrum of ethnicities and age groups — and everyone was there for a good time.

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