[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, 
Oct.  7-18. 
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]

More information about the jazzproglist mailing list