Fuse News Autumn 2013 Jazz Festival Update

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The 2013 jazz festival season in New England wraps up with events in Lowell, Newton, Boston, Falmouth, Pittsfield and Holyoke.

By J. R. Carroll.

This weekend marks the last gasp of summer with two festivals with strong links to their communities.

On Saturday, September 21, up in Lowell, MA, the Merrimack Valley Jazz Festival will take place in Boarding House Park from noon to 6 p.m. and will feature the UMass-Lowell Faculty Jazz Ensemble, the Adagio Big Band, the Amanda Carr Quintet, the Greg Hopkins Jazz Orchestra, and Henri Smith’s New Orleans Friends and Flavors.

Meanwhile, the Newton Jazz and Wine Festival offers a modest afternoon of music (and wine) on from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the historic Jackson Homestead.

Boston’s largest outdoor jazz event is, of course, the Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival on Saturday, September 28, from noon to 6 p.m. (Watch for a full preview of the day’s performances, coming soon.) Wrapped around the free afternoon of music are some major club gigs, this year highlighted by vibraphonist Gary Burton and his quartet (at Scullers on Friday and Saturday, September 27-28, at 8 and 10 p.m.) and the unique ensemble Snarky Puppy (at the Berklee Performance Center on Sunday, September 29, at 8 p.m.).

Sunday, September 29, brings us back to Newton, MA for the Newtonville Village Day and Jazz Festival. Running from noon to 5 p.m., with performances on two stages, this year’s festival lineup includes Frank Wilkins and WeJazzUp, E.S.P. featuring Patrice Williamson, and the Cape Verdean sounds of Cruzamente.

Sunday also kicks off this year’s JazzFest Falmouth with a performance by pianist Yoko Miwa and her trio at 4 p.m. at Highfield Hall.

Friday, October 4, is the date of the festival’s free Friday Night Jazz Stroll down Main Street and Queen’s Buyway from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Performers include the Travis Bliss Quartet, the Ottosink Duo, the Chris Davis Group, Chroma, the Russ Wilcox Group, Goodis and Glenn, the Classic Jazz Trio, the Flip Side, the Jeremy Bernstein Trio, “i i i i” (that’s their name), the Glenway Fripp Trio, and the Charlie Jamieson Trio featuring Cerise. The evening wraps up with the Stage Door Canteen Big Band and “Blues after the Stroll” with Sweet Willy D and special guest Chris Stovall Brown.

Headlining this year’s festival will be the Tierney Sutton Band at the Highfield Theatre on Saturday, October 5, at 7:30 p.m. It’s a pretty good bet that she’ll be showcasing some of the material from her new CD of Joni Mitchell songs, After Blue

The weekend wraps up with a jazz brunch with guitarists Stu Goodis and Tom Glenn from noon to 2 p.m. at the Inn on the Square. That’s not the end of the festival, though.

Back at Highfield Hall on Saturday, October 12, from 10 a.m. to noon, pianist Robert Wyatt will present a combination lecture and recital titled “The Ragtime Craze.” Finally on Tuesday, October 15, from 8 to 10 p.m., tenor saxophonist Harry Allen, pianist Rossano Sportiello, and bassist Frank Tate will perform at the Fishmonger Cafe in Woods Hole.

We’ll be well into foliage season when this year’s Pittsfield CityJazz Festival kicks off on Friday, October 11.

The first weekend is devoted to “Jazz About Town”, with the focus on local musicians performing in restaurants and lounges throughout downtown Pittsfield. Performers include the Sherri Buxton Trio, pianist Dave Bartley, the Kelly-Tokarz-Markland Trio, the Bronte Roman Quartet, the Jeff Link Trio, Jazz Metrics, the Andy Wrba Quartet, the Mark Papas Trio, Andy Kelly and Ben Kohn, and the Rich Vinette Quartet with Ted Murray.

On Wednesday, October 16, alto saxophonist Zoe Obadia, Outstanding Soloist award winner at the 2013 Essentially Ellington festival at Lincoln Center, will appear at the Berkshire Athenaeum. Then, on Friday, October 18, the headline weekend opens with the Geoff Vidal Quartet at Baba Louie’s Backroom.

The festival closes with its major event, a tribute to the late pianist Dave Brubeck by his sons, bassist/trombonist Chris Brubeck and drummer Dan Brubeck, on Saturday, October 19, at 8 p.m. at the Colonial Theatre. The Brubeck Brothers Quartet is rounded out by guitarist Mike DeMicco, and pianist Chuck Lamb, and warming up for them will be the Berkshires Jazz Youth Ensemble.

The outdoor jazz festival season comes to a close on Saturday, October 13, at 4 p.m. in Holyoke’s Winter Palace Theater with the Holyoke Latin Jazz Festival. Featured performers will be Kultura Borikua at 4 p.m., Avenida B at 6 p.m., Soulsa at 8 p.m., and a dance party with
DJ Wichy starting at 9:30 p.m.

For a look back at this year’s festival season, see our earlier Summer 2013 Jazz Festival Preview and the Midsummer 2013 Jazz Festival Update. And watch for our upcoming BeanTown Jazz Festival preview!

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