The best part of the San Jose Jazz just might be everything that takes place away from the big stages. This year, the festival has pumped up the volume in terms of special events the weekend of Aug. 10-12 so here are our picks for ones you ought to try and catch: Club crawling: This is a perennial favorite with some very good local talent playing for free at a variety of downtown bars and restaurants that don't ordinarily feature live music. The spots this year include 71 St. Peter, A Perfect Finish, Fahrenheit, the Fairmont's Lobby Lounge and the Los Gatos Brewing Company (go to www.sanjosejazz.org) but if we had to pick a couple of fave, it would be Kaye Bohler's fabulous blues band in the Lobby Lounge of the Fairmont Hotel on Aug. 10 (8:30—11:30 p.m.) and the terrific R&B-jazz singer Jessica Johnson at Los Gatos Brewing (163 W. Santa Clara St.) on Aug. 11 from 7 to 10 p.m. Pop-up blues: The big new event for 2012 is a pop-up blues club hosted by the king of the local blues scene, JC Smith. The club will be at San Pedro Square Market (87 N. San Pedro St.) from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12. It'll cost you $10 with festival admission and $15 without. And it promises to be hot. Latin rhythms: Another newcomer, the summit of Latin jazz "Masters" and "Lions" may be the event we're looking forward to the most. The "Masters" are such veteran Latin players as Louie Romero while the "Lions" are such younger artists as Natalie Cressman. They'll be jamming at 9 p.m. Aug. 11 in the patio between Billy Berk's and Mezcal on E. San Fernando St. between First and Market streets. Festival Jam: Right down the street from the Latin jazz jam will be the annual Festival Jam with Oscar Pangilinan, who hosts regular jazz jams at downtown's Hedley Club, heading up a gathering of local players and festival musicians. It will start at 9 p.m. Aug. 11 on the Bella Mia Stage (inside Bella Mia Restaurant, 58 S. First St.) and it's free with festival admission. Jazz Mass: Over the years, I've almost always made time to drop by one of the two jazz masses at the imposing Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, 80 S. Market St. This year, the masses are being held at 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m. Sunday and feature Frank and ValLimar Jansen, who bring their acclaimed show on Ethel Waters to the Swing Stage on Aug. at 5 p.m. It's free for everyone.