Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Jazz is more alive than ever: Jazz’SAlive historic 40th anniversary

Alamo City danced to the sound of jazz for the historic 40th Anniversary of the Jazz’SAlive music festival. The nationally recognized annual event was hosted by the San Antonio Parks Foundation from Sep. 29 to Sep. 30. The 2022 Jazz’SAlive was the last time the festival chose Travis Park as its venue; it has now permanently moved to the highly anticipated Civic Park at the Hemisfair, serving as the inaugural event.

Jazz’SAlive, one of the nation’s largest free-entry jazz festivals, brought an eclectic lineup of the best local, national and international artists. Included was Memphis’s own Grammy award winner Kirk Whalum; blues guitarist Jackie Venson; virtuosic Yuki Mabuchi Trio; New Orleans’ best-kept-secret, Big Sam’s Funky Nation; San Antonio’s Dirty River Jazz Band; Cuban trumpet player Haile Uriarte & Havana Soul; St Mary’s University jazz orchestra; experimental jazz group Jamail, among many other talents.

These musicians gifted the thousands of attendees at the two alternating stages a colorful display of music ranging from Dixieland to swing, bossa nova and Afro-Cuban to funk and classical jazz. The citizens that congregated for this event as organizers and attendees were as diverse as the music played, evident from the many languages spoken, the many cuisines offered ranging from Nigerian to Filipino, and the variety of vendors that offered a wide assortment of crafts from Colombian Wayúu bags to Lone star’s iconic Bolo Tie.

Friday set the tone for the celebration with Kirk Whalum’s unforgettable saxophone masterclass, Jackie Venson’s enchanting performance of her latest album, “Evolution of Joy,” and Anthony Thomas Martinez and the Jazz Standard Band’s enthralling and smooth performance.

On Saturday, some of the many electric moments attendees will forever cherish were Yuki Mabuchi’s Trio’s hypnotizing homage to Tom Jobim, the Dirty River’s Jazz Band’s whimsical and groovy rendition of Joe Greene’s “Across the Alley from the Alamo,” and Big Sam’s Funky Nation’s soulful trumpet and trombone that closed the event.

Jazz’SAlive was an exceptional celebration of San Antonio’s unique cultural identity and this genre that has transcended frontiers; ultimately, music is a universal language and Jazz is one of, if not its most beautiful dialect. In the words of Japanese Pianist Yuki Mabuchi — a living testament to Jazz’s universality — the festival was “a tribute to the African diaspora and their influence on music around the world.”

The 40th anniversary of Jazz’SAlive enjoyed flawless organization and citizen support and represents a monumental victory for live music, for Jazz — but especially for San Antonians, who got to enjoy a weekend of culture at a new lively public space, the long-awaited Civic Park inaugurated on Saturday by Mayor Ron Nirenberg. This pristine architectural work that repurposes a portion of the Hemisfair honors the river’s central role in San Antonio’s geography, offering improved well-being.

“Music and parks are here for healing,” SA Parks Foundation CEO Mary Jane Verette said.

The festival has proven that Jazz is alive and well at Alamo City. Now, for all whose hearts were captivated by the sounds that this past weekend took over downtown, it is time to dive deeper into this bustling music scene by exploring venues like the St. Anthony Hotel, “Jazz, TX,” SA Parks Foundation “Jazz in the Garden” at the Japanese Tea Gardens, or by supporting San Antonio’s university Jazz Ensembles, and independent gig hosting venues or record stores.

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About the Contributor
Kylar Royer, Assistant Photo Editor

Kylar Royer (he/him) is a class of 2023 biology major  and a minor in psychology graduating this fall. He will be attending Parker University next summer pursuing a doctorate of chiropractic and masters in clinical neuroscience. Kylar has been a photographer for over 5 years and joined The Paisano staff in fall 2022, this is his first semester as the assistant photo editor. Outside of school, you will Kylar reading about natural medicine and philosophy accompanied by Dixieland jazz music.

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