Jazz series hosts fundraiser to help ensure an encore season


Organizers of the longstanding Jazz on the Plazz concert series are hosting a fundraiser next month to keep the event afloat.

This year marks what would be the 20th anniversary season of Jazz on the Plazz, a 10-week summer concert series produced by Los Gatos Music & Arts. However, for the past two years,  in-person concerts have been cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, leaving organizers without a way to cover their expenses.

Arts and culture events throughout the Bay Area have taken a huge hit during the pandemic, with festivals and concerts of all sizes being cancelled or moved online in light of the threat to public health that gathering in large crowds can pose. Many organizations turned to crowdfunding to raise emergency funds to help pay staff and cover other expenses.

Jazz on the Plazz is no exception. While the in-person event is on hold, musicians have been taking to Facebook Live to perform for a “Jazz off the Plazz” version of the event. Organizers say they plan to return to the in-person concert series next year, but in order to do so, they need the financial support of the community.

Because the Jazz on the Plazz series is free to the public, organizers rely on sponsorships and other fundraising efforts, including the annual fundraising gala for Los Gatos Music and Arts. The gala, like the concert series, has been around for over a decade, but the stakes this year are higher than usual, according to organizers.

“In order to survive and to ensure that we will be back next year, it is paramount that the gala goes well, we sell out and that we make a little money to cover our expenses for the upcoming season,” says Michael Jacobi, executive producer of Jazz on the Plazz.

These expenses, Jacobi says, include paying a small staff and holding clinics and music classes, as well as producing and engineering the concert series each year.

“It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a town to put out a wonderful jazz series,” he adds.

Los Gatos Music & Arts and Linda L. Lester will present this year’s Jazz on the Plazz Gala Sunday, Sept. 26, 5-9 p.m.

In the past, the gala has featured high-profile guests including jazz pianists Mose Allison and Ramsey Lewis. This year’s event will feature jazz vocalist Kim Nalley, who will perform a tribute to Billie Holiday.

“Share the music, the food, the wine, the love, and help keep jazz alive,” Nalley says in a promotional video for the event.

Other performers at this year’s event include pianist Tammy Hall, bassist Michael Zisman, violinist Mads Tolling and drummer Leon Joyce.

The gala will take place at La Estancia Estate, 18000 Overlook Road, an historic home that’s listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. There will be cocktails, wine, food and an auction, in addition to the live jazz performances.

Event sponsors include El Camino Health, Lexus of Stevens Creek and the Los Gatos Chamber of Commerce.

Tickets to the event run $200 at www.jazzontheplazz.com. 



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