Jazz in the Library Returns

Jazz Appreciation Month is back at San Mateo County Libraries!

Get ready to celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month (known fondly as JAM) this April! This annual event pays tribute to the history of jazz music and its cultural significance as one of America’s most iconic art forms. JAM was first established in 2001 by John Edward Hasse, a curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, opens a new window. Why did he pick April? Because it happens to be the birth month of many great jazz musicians, including Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Herbie Hancock.

Besides allowing us to jam out to jazz all April long, JAM works to support today’s jazz scene and inspire an appreciation of jazz music in people of all ages. People are encouraged to explore all sorts of jazz-related events, whether it’s studying the music, attending concerts, reading books on famous jazz musicians or simply listening to some good jazz tunes.>

We'll be celebrating JAM this year with a series of live concerts! We will be featuring a wide variety of jazz musicians and styles playing at or nearby San Mateo County Libraries locations across the county. Take a look at our full list of free jazz concerts at a library near you and come enjoy the music!

Featured Musicians

Kristen Strom Jazz
Saturday, April 2 • 2:00 PM
Saxophonist Kristen Strom, opens a new window has been a mainstay on the Bay Area music scene for nearly two decades, acclaimed for beautifully rendered melodies, exceptional tonality and accomplished musicianship.

Lee Waterman Jazz Caliente
April 7, 12 and 21 • 5:00 PM, 6:00 PM and 7:00 PM
Guitarist and composer Lee Waterman's Latin jazz ensemble, Jazz Caliente, opens a new window, percolates with infectious Afro-Cuban and Brazilian rhythms.

Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco
April 9 and 30 • 2:00 PM
The Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble of San Francisco, opens a new window, or LJYE, is a performing group of talented musicians ages 10 to 18. They play Latin jazz classics and original compositions at a level that has landed them gigs at the San Jose Jazz Festival, the KCSM Jazz Festival, KGO Radio, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, SF Museum of Modern Art, Paramount's Great America and the world-renowned jazz club, Yoshi’s.

Paul Vornhagen - Tumbao Bravo
Wednesday, April 13 • 4:30 PM
Paul leads the award-winning Cuban Jazz combo TUMBAO BRAVO, opens a new window. An exciting and colorful 5–7-piece band performing the authentic rhythms of Cuba with rich harmonic compositions written by band members.

Dave Rocha Jazz
Thursday, April 14 • 4:00 PM
Dave Rocha, opens a new window is a professional jazz trumpet player who has performed coast to coast, including in NYC, LA, Seattle and the SF Bay Area.

Mads Tolling Trio
Thursday, April 14 • 4:00 PM
Mads Tolling, opens a new window, an internationally renowned violinist and composer, is a two-time Grammy Award-Winner and the 2016 DownBeat Critics Poll Rising Star Violinist. As a former nine-year member of both Turtle Island Quartet and Stanley Clarke’s band, Mads has spent most of his professional life touring internationally. Mads has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, and his recordings have received rave reviews in Downbeat Magazine, Strings Magazine, The Washington Post and The San Francisco Chronicle.

Michelle Pollace Latin Jazz
Saturday, April 16 • 2:00 PM
Michelle, opens a new window is a performing musician, composer and music book author based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Whether performing her own compositions or her arrangements of standards, Michelle honors the roots of jazz, Brazilian and Afro-Cuban music while adding a new voice.

Charged Particles: Jazz with a Spark!
April 18 and 30 • 6:00 PM and 2:00 PM
Charged Particles, opens a new window features three of the country's virtuosos showcasing their skills in the acoustic and electric jazz arena. The trio's funky Latin jazz repertoire mixes complex orchestration with freewheeling improvisation, blending in elements of classical music. The band brings a similar approach to playing their own arrangements of jazz standards, each played with a new twist.

Don't want to wait? Start listening to jazz right now! Hoopla has lots of great jazz albums you can stream from your smartphone, tablet or computer.

Happy listening