[JPL] Pittsfield CityJazz Festival update
EdBride at aol.com
EdBride at aol.com
Tue Sep 1 11:27:32 EDT 2009
If any JPLers are looking as far ahead as mid-October and need press
credentials for the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival, please contact me off-list.
Meanwhile, here's an update to the activities for the 5th annual festival,
Pittsfield CityJazz Festival Adds Guitar Master Class,
Open Jam Session to October 7-18 Activities
Headline Concerts Feature Dave Brubeck Quartet, Frank Vignola,
Industrial Jazz Group, and Royal Hartigan with blood drum spirit
PITTSFIELD, Mass., Sept. 1, 2009 – Berkshires Jazz, Inc. today added two
new activities to its fifth annual Pittsfield CityJazz Festival, a master
class with guitarist Frank Vignola and a closing-day jam session. Spanning
two weekends, the Oct. 7-18 festival features a series of free and ticketed
events with nationally known headliners, regionally based jazz musicians,
and a growing commitment to jazz education.
The festival gets under way on Wednesday, Oct. 7, with a free concert by
the Royal Hartigan group at the Berkshire Athenaeum. A jazz percussionist
and pianist of international renown, Hartigan is a one-time tap dancer who
has studied and performed the musics of Asia, Africa, Europe, West Asia, and
the Americas. A former Pittsfield resident, his local appearances are
always popular. Hartigan's ensemble, blood drum spirit, takes its name from a
quote by Baby Dodds: "Drumming is spirit." Hartigan says he works "to give
my blood through the drum to share that spirit."
On Columbus weekend, Oct. 9-11, the festival will feature its popular “
Jazz About Town” series, with restaurants and lounges presenting local
musicians and all genres of instrumental and vocal jazz. Restaurant owners have
reported increased attendance and longer visits by patrons on the nights when
they have participated in this aspect.
The "headline weekend" will last for four days, starting on Oct. 15 with
Pittsfield’s “Third Thursday” observance, which will feature the
California-based Industrial Jazz Group. Frustrated by the limitations of “Jazz, the
Institution,” and bored by the mediocrity of much modern pop, the IJG has
slowly pioneered the concept of “avant-garde party music." They demonstrate
that music can indeed be complex, sophisticated, sexy, fun, funny, critical,
smart, and groovy all at once. Their free performance will take place
outdoors on Pittsfield’s mobile “sound stage.”
The newly-announced master class with Frank Vignola will also take place
on Oct. 15, and is sponsored by the Berkshire Music School, which will host
the event on its campus at 30 Wendell Ave., in Pittsfield. Intermediate
guitarists and above are invited to bring an instrument that can be played
without amplification to the class. The master class begins at 7:15pm;
admission is $20, and is open to both students and the general public.
An annual festival highlight is Jazz In Schools, spanning the 12-day
jazzathon and presenting performances, demonstrations, and discussions by the
Pittsfield Sister City Jazz Ambassadors. This group, which has toured
Pittsfield’s sister cities abroad, is headed by guitarist and teacher Andy Kelly.
Thanks to generous underwriters, Jazz In Schools is provided at no cost to
students or the school system, and is part of the festival’s mission to
promote jazz education. In addition to his Oct. 15 master class, this year’s
Jazz in Schools program will be enhanced by two special appearances by Frank
Vignola on Oct. 16.
On Friday, Oct. 16, Vignola, a frequent performing companion with the late
Les Paul, will appear at the Top of the Crowne, the lounge overlooking
Pittsfield from the top floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Vignola plays all
forms of music, from Django Reinhardt to bluegrass, and the variety of his
performances have created a strong fan base of all ages. Tickets for the 7:30
concert are $20.
Brubeck, celebrating the 50th anniversary of his groundbreaking “Time Out”
album, which included the hit “Take 5,” will appear with his quartet at
the Colonial Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 17. The Pittsfield CityJazz Youth
Ensemble, a county-wide 16-piece big band assembled for the occasion, will
open for Brubeck and will perform with him. The concert starts at 8pm, and
tickets are $25 and $15.
The festival closes on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 18, with the monthly "Jazz
Jam" at 3pm, at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, 28 Renne Ave.,
Pittsfield. Art Niedeck, a Juilliard-educated drummer and percussion instructor,
hosts these events on the third Sunday of each month. Musicians at varying
levels frequent the jam sessions, which are open to the public at no charge.
In an effort to continue presenting Jazz In Schools and keep concert
prices at an accessible level, the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival has successfully
partnered with several local, regional, and national organizations to
underwrite various components. This year’s primary sponsors include the
Pittsfield Cultural Council, Greylock Marketing Group, TD Banknorth, Berkshire
Bank, Legacy Banks, the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Jamey Aebersold Jazz Books, The
Colonial Theatre, and South Adams Savings Bank. The Dave Brubeck appearance
is made possible by a grant from the Chervenak-Nunnalle' Foundation, in
memory of Francoise Nunnalle'.
Tickets and further information about the Frank Vignola Master Class are
available at the Berkshire Music School 413-442-1411.
Tickets for the Oct. 16 and 17 concerts are on sale at the Colonial
Theatre box office, 413-997-4444, and online through the festival's web site,
_www.BerkshiresJazz.org_ (http://www.berkshiresjazz.org/) , where regular
updates can also be found.
The Pittsfield CityJazz Festival was formed in 2005 to present mainstream
and traditional jazz in a downtown setting. Over its first four years, the
festival has presented such headline talent as NEA Jazz Masters Billy
Taylor and Phil Woods; up-and-coming artists such as Grace Kelly; individual
standouts such as TS Monk, Jr., Claire Daly, Peggy Stern, Winard Harper and
Barbara Dennerlein. The New England Jazz Ensemble released a ‘live’
recording of that band’s appearance at the festival. The festival’s 2005 opening
act, The New Black Eagle Jazz Band, was the first group to make a return
engagement, appearing with the Pittsfield CityJazz Youth Orchestra in 2008.
In 2009, the festival steering committee established Berkshires Jazz,
Inc., a non-profit organization whose twofold mission is to present ‘live’
jazz events and promote jazz education within Berkshire County.
Festival at a glance:
Royal Hartigan with blood drum spirit
Oct. 7, Berkshire Athenaeum (free)
"Jazz About Town"
Local performers appearing in restaurants
throughout downtown Pittsfield, Oct. 9-10
The Industrial Jazz Group
Oct. 15, outdoors, downtown Pittsfield (free)
Frank Vignola Trio
Oct. 16, "Top of the Crowne" ($20)
Dave Brubeck Quartet with the
Pittsfield CityJazz Youth Ensemble
Oct. 17, Colonial Theatre ($25/15)
Open Jazz Jam
Oct. 18, matinee, Lichtenstein Center for the Arts (free)
# # #
Contact: Edward Bride, 413-442-7718 [Ed at BerkshiresJazz.org]
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