Gerald Veasley feels very much at home in Reading, Pennsylvania. So much so, that he’s adopted Reading as his ‘home away from home,' with the creation of his Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base club in collaboration with the Sheraton Hotel in Reading. Already a regular and much respected performer at Berks Jazz Fest over its 14 year history, he’s woven himself into the fabric of the city and the hearts of those who live here. It seems everyone in town has gotten to know this talented, down to earth musician. And besides being a favorite to those of us living here, he is one of the most sought after musicians on the jazz music scene today. It will be exciting, indeed, to watch his new venture unfold right before our eyes!
I first met Gerald Veasley when he did a mini-show at Borders Book Store in February of 2002, in promotion of the Berks Jazz Fest and of his own Bass Boot Camp. At that time, he began putting down roots with his founding of the Bass Boot Camp at the Wyomissing Institute of the Arts. It's a place where he can train aspiring bassists, from younger players up through the university level. He also shares his knowledge of the history and fundamentals of bass playing with area educators.
Veasley is down to earth and personable with fans, and he's one of those people who, at first meeting, you feel you have known for years. He happily shares his passion for music and his zeal for teaching students of bass guitar to play this instrument on which he has become so accomplished. That day I won tickets to a number of shows, being the Grand Prize winner in a raffle. I was stunned, to say the least! But one of those sets of tickets enabled me to see him play during Berks Jazz Fest with Pieces of a Dream. I was so fortunate to have seen this show; the music was awesome and an education in itself for me, and Gerald Veasley added a special flavor to the performance. Even back then, I could sense his giving nature, and now, two years later, I can't say I'm surprised that he's giving something wonderful back to this community he has grown to love.
With the opening of Gerald Veasley’s Jazz Base club at the Sheraton Reading Hotel, now Veasley is settling into an even more permanent connection to our community. And fans in the Berks County area couldn’t be more pleased. He plans to feature local, regional and national talent in two one-hour sets each Thursday evening, from 7 to 8 and then from 8:30 to 9:30 PM.
Grand Opening night will feature Veasley and his own incredible band, along with the Berks Jazz Fest Horns– Mike Anderson on saxophone, Bill Miller on trombone and Rob Diener on trumpet – and the addition of some surprise guests! Leave it to Veasley to make things fun and exciting that way!
Shows will continue every Thursday evening in the Goodnite’s Lounge of the Sheraton, an intimate venue, or the Sheraton Ballroom when a larger venue is needed. Many shows are already on the schedule, including Tower of Power on October 20th, to be held in the Sheraton Ballroom.
Stay tuned for a recap of Grand Opening night and of future Thursday evenings at the Sheraton from this exciting new venture, Gerald Veasley’s Jazz Base club! Hope to see you there!
A schedule of shows and ticket information are each available at the Gerald Veasley Jazz Base website, www.geraldveasleysjazzbase.com.
And now I want to add my voice to those who welcome Gerald Veasley and the Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base club to Reading!
Happy Thursday Night Jazzin'
Jazz Circle Member of the Berks Arts Council