On a cool June evening in 2003 a concert was held on the Town Plaza in Los Gatos that would, literally, be the start of something big, something very big.
The event was “Jazz on the Plazz” and it featured one of America’s most popular singer-songwriters, Kenny Rankin, who treated the small but enthusiastic crowd to a remarkable performance. Rankin, sadly, would pass away in 2009, but a tradition was born that night and over the past decade Los Gatos has since been visited by some of the jazz world’s finest musicians.
From Terrance Blanchard and Houston Person to Mose Alison, Dame Cleo Lane, Andy Bey, Dianne Shuur and Jack Jones, Jazz on the Plazz has become one of the nation’s top free music series. Behind the glitz and glamour, the superstars and the concerts, beats a heart of gold. You see, Jazz on the Plazz is as concerned about young players as they are about old pros. Which is why, as part of Los Gatos Music and Arts, the event organizers put on annual workshops for young musicians, provide in-school clinics and host a week long summer camp for youth, along with offering grants to various arts groups.
Jazz on the Plazz also hosts a yearly Jazz Gala benefiting Los Gatos Music & Arts in order to support its arts and educational programs. The fundraiser features live and silent auctions along with elegant cuisine and fine wines. This summer’s event is scheduled for Tuesday, July 23 at the stunning La Estancia Estate and will include a performance by founding member of The Supremes, Mary Wilson.
There have been more than one hundred concerts since that evening in 2003. Jazz on the Plazz’ commitment to quality programming and education remains a priority. Presenting the finest jazz on the planet, giving back to the community and encouraging young players, Jazz on the Plazz cares, because tomorrow matters.
For ticket purchase and donation information visit: www.jazzontheplazz.com
Michael Jacobi is the host of “Raising The Standards,” Saturdays, 3 to 5 p.m. on KSCO 1080 AM Santa Cruz, www.ksco.com, www.facebook.com/raisingthestandards. He is also a recipient of the PGA Media Person of the Year award.