New downtown San Jose music venue to livestream performances on video wall outside

Headliner Oran Etkin Photo: Oranetkin.com
By Laila Weir - Published on March 24, 2021.

San Jose Jazz is debuting a new music venue in the city’s downtown that includes a digital video wall outside, where it will project performances for free public viewing.

Called the SJZ Break Room, the space boasts cutting-edge technology and “marvelous sound, lighting and video,” according to the jazz nonprofit. Outdoor speakers will play sound for the performances shown on a 35- by 14-foot projection area.

“San Jose Jazz has always worked to vitalize downtown San Jose with music and to provide avenues for artists to create and be heard,” says the organization’s executive director, Brendan Rawson.

Located in San Jose Jazz’s downtown office at 310 South First St., the venue will eventually host live shows indoors. But for now, it will kick off by projecting the SJZ New Works Fest, scheduled for April 29-May 8.

The online, live-streamed festival will showcase new works by 11 Bay Area artists that were commissioned by San Jose Jazz as part of a program to help musicians survive the pandemic.

Tickets to view the concerts online are $10-20, but the general public can also watch them free on The Break Room’s video wall on San Carlos Street. The organization asks guests who come to see the shows to follow social distancing protocols.

“Whether people witness the concerts safely outside of our office or on their computer, I believe the Fest offers a groundbreaking platform for artists moving forward,” commented San Jose Jazz Artistic and Festival Director Bruce Labadie.

The 11 featured musicians are among 33 artists who received grants through the organization’s Jazz Aid Fund. The initiative provided direct grants to the artists, who San Jose Jazz says had been “largely excluded from regional and national aid efforts.”

“The works submitted have proven to be extraordinary,” declares SF Jazz in its festival announcement.

“Similar to so many other arts institutions, we were shocked by the disastrous effects of the pandemic,” says Rawson. “But it’s during tough times like these we must stay strong and connected as a community and develop creative solutions in response to real-world issues.”

San Jose Jazz has also embarked on a number of other initiatives to help Bay Area artists through the pandemic.

The festival will also include a free livestream for International Jazz Day on April 30, featuring the Oran Etkin Open Arms Project. The other artists featured are Kev Choice, Javier Santiago, Tammy Hall, Ten Spencer, Vân-Ánh Võ, Chris Cain, Claudia Villela, Justin Ouellet, Howard Wiley, Robbie Benson, and Ian Santillano.

After the New Works Fest, San Jose Jazz plans to hold indoor concerts at The Break Room, once regulations permit. The organization will also project free shows from previous festivals onto the video wall throughout the rest of the year.

“We can’t wait for music fans to see the pure energy emanating from the video wall,” said The Break Room Project Manager Scott Fulton, “and hopefully soon, to also be in the space along with us.”

More information: Sanjosejazz.org

About 6 hours ago
San Jose

Volkswagen-backed battery startup QuantumScape leases 200,000 square foot production site in San Jose

EV battery startup QuantumScape has leased a massive production site in San Jose, hinting at the company’s intent to bring its “groundbreaking” solid-state battery products to market before 2025. Read More

Apr 15, 2021
San Jose

Santa Clara County surpasses 2,000 COVID-19 deaths

Around this time last year, Santa Clara County was approaching 2,000 COVID-19 cases and San Jose officials were predicting the county would see 2,000 deaths within 12 weeks. This week, the county has reached that unhappy milestone, albeit just over 12 months from the original prediction. Read More

Apr 14, 2021
San Jose

Golf and entertainment megavenue Topgolf comes to San Jose

Mega entertainment venue Topgolf, with multiple levels of tech-enhanced driving-range bays and extensive food and beverage choices, is opening a San Jose location on Friday, April 16. Read More

Apr 12, 2021
San Jose

San Jose considers keeping downtown strip closed to cars post-pandemic

Like other cities during the pandemic, San Jose closed a popular downtown dining strip to cars last summer so that restaurants could host outdoor dining. Now, the city is contemplating keeping the section, along San Pedro Street between Santa Clara and St. John streets, permanently car-free. Read More