December 23, 2005

City Rhythm Orchestra, Michelle & Brian Culbertson collaboration, Joe McBride, Kenny Blake and Liz Longley add even more musical sparkle to the March 17-26 FirstEnergy Berks Jazz Fest

BerksJazzFest2006.jpgJust when you thought the remarkably diverse and expansive 16th annual FirstEnergy Berks Jazz Fest couldn't get any bigger and better ... well, think again.

The lineup for Berks Jazz Fest 2006, which runs March 17-26 at multiple venues throughout Berks County and which is presented by the Berks Arts Council, now includes the City Rhythm Orchestra saluting the Music of Frank Sinatra & Friends; a very special Michelle and Brian Culbertson project featuring traditional hymns; charismatic keyboardist/vocalist Joe McBride; sax sensation Kenny Blake; and precocious vocalist Liz Longley.

The festival already has a bright constellation of stars such as Dianne Reeves, Joe Sample, Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum, Ramsey Lewis, David Benoit, Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Gerald Veasley, Kurt Elling and the Robert Cray Band, among many others. In addition, three spectacular ensemble shows -- The Music of Marvin Gaye & Motown; Ivan Lins & Friends; and a Tribute to Wes Montgomery -- punctuate the lineup.

The City Rhythm Orchestra, the 15-piece big band from Philadelphia, will play a stirring tribute to Frank Sinatra on Tuesday, March 21, at the Wyndham Reading Hotel Ballroom at 7:30 p.m. The band has been dazzling audiences for many years with its distinctive style and sound -- stellar horns, a rocking rhythm section, innovative arrangements and versatile vocalists. Its Sinatra salute promises to be an extraordinary experience.

Soprano Michelle Culbertson will sing traditional hymns from her new CD Be Still My Soul while husband Brian accompanies her on the piano in a special concert on Sunday, March 26, at Atonement Lutheran Church at 4 p.m. The album was produced and arranged by Michelle and Brian and also includes two original songs composed by Brian and noted songwriter Lindy Robbins.

Another notable addition to the festival lineup is vocalist Liz Longley, a senior at nearby Downingtown High School who will do an opening set for pianist prodigy Taylor Eigsti and guitarist phenom Julian Lage on Monday, March 20, at the Albright College Wachovia Theatre at 7:30 p.m.

Longley combines a variety of influences to create a sophisticated sound that belies her young age. Her extraordinary voice has been described as captivating and compelling.

Joe McBride, whose signature sound has ushered plenty of soul into smooth jazz over the years, will have multiple gigs at the festival. He and his Texas Rhythm Club band are performing Wednesday, March 22, at 9 p.m. at the Peanut Bar Restaurant.

McBride also is doing three special dinner shows at 5 p.m. at the Wyndham Reading Hotel Thursday through Saturday, March 23-25. On Friday and Saturday he will be joined by Kenny Blake, notable for combining traditional jazz leanings with modern rhythm and blues.

Brian Culbertson, as previously announced, will perform with special guest saxophonist Eric Darius on Saturday, March 25, at the Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom at 10:30 p.m. Darius also has joined the stellar Berks All-Star Jazz Jam lineup of Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Chuck Loeb, Gerald Veasley, Chieli Minucci, Ken Navarro, Joe McBride, Kenny Blake, Steve Smith and Tom Coster.

Chuck Loeb, the renowned guitarist, composer, arranger, producer and recording artist, has joined the cast of the highly anticipated Ivan Lins & Friends ensemble on Saturday, March 25, at the Sovereign Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m.

The Jason Miles production also includes acclaimed Brazilian composer/pianist Ivan Lins himself, sensational vocalist Jane Monheit, renowned vocalist Brenda Russell, pianist/vocalist Eliane Elias, acclaimed saxophonist Nelson Rangell, Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo, guitarist Leonardo Amuedo, percussionist Cafe, percussionist Vinny Colaiuta, David Letterman Band bassist Will Lee, and top jazz trumpeter Tom Harrell.


Concert tickets can be purchased by:
Stopping by the Sovereign Center Box Office, Seventh and Penn streets, Reading, to place your order in person.
Box Office hours
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday
10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday
Stopping by the Sovereign Performing Arts Center Box Office, 136 N. Sixth St., Reading, to place your order in person.
Box Office hours
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday
Ordering online at www.berksjazzfest.com
Call Ticketmaster at 215.336.2000 or visit www.ticketmaster.com. Have a credit card ready.
For more information on the festival, click on www.berksjazzfest.com
For more information on the Berks Arts Council, a nonprofit organization that promotes all the arts in an effort to enrich the quality of life in Berks County, click on www.berksarts.org


Major concerts
Friday, March 17 -- Dianne Reeves plus Joe Sample, Sovereign Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $45 and $38
Friday, March 17 -- The Inn of Blues: Mose Allison plus Guy Davis, Inn at Reading Ballroom, 8 p.m., $28
Friday, March 17 -- Pieces of a Dream, Wyndham Reading Hotel Ballroom, 10:30 p.m., $30
Saturday, March 18 -- Gerald Albright and Kirk Whalum, Wyndham Reading Hotel Ballroom, 2 p.m., $38
Saturday, March 18 -- The Inn of Blues: Marcia Ball plus Clarence Spady and Deb Callahan Band, Inn at Reading Ballroom, 7 p.m., $35

Saturday, March 18 -- Michael Manring, Tracy Silverman and David Cullen, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base at the Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m., $12

Saturday, March 18 -- Ramsey Lewis & David Benoit with the Reading Pops Orchestra, Sovereign Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $45 and $38

Saturday, March 18 -- Gerald Albright and Kirk Whalum, Wyndham Reading Hotel Ballroom, 10:30 p.m., $38
Sunday, March 19 -- Jazz Goes to Church featuring Cyrus Chestnut, Kevin Mahogany and Kendrick Oliver & The New Life Jazz Orchestra, Wyndham Reading Hotel Ballroom, 2 p.m., $35

Sunday, March 19 -- Robbi K & Friends, PAL Center for the Arts, 6 p.m., free community concert.
Sunday, March 19 -- 16th Anniversary Concert: The Music of Marvin Gaye & Motown featuring Jason Miles, Bobby Caldwell, Peter White, Kevin Mahogany, Guida DePalma, Mike Mattison, Nick Colionne, Jay Beckenstein, Cesar Camargo Mariano, Bashiri Johnson, Gene Lake, Sherrod Barnes, Jonathan Maron, Dominick Farinacci, DJ Logic and more, 7 p.m., $45 and $38

Monday, March 20 -- U.S. Air Force Rhythm In Blues Jazz Ensemble with special guest Tom Coster plus Berks High School All-Star Jazz Band, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 7 p.m., free community concert

Monday, March 20 -- The Young Faces of Jazz: Taylor Eigsti and Julian Lage plus Liz Longley, Albright College Wachovia Theatre, 7:30 p.m., $15

Tuesday, March 21 -- U.S. Air Force Rhythm In Blues Jazz Ensemble with special guest Tom Coster plus Berks High School All-Star Jazz Band, Boyertown Senior High School, 7 p.m., free community concert

Tuesday, March 21 -- The Music of Sinatra & Friends: City Rhythm Orchestra, Wyndham Reading Hotel Ballroom, 7:30 p.m., $15

Tuesday, March 21 -- Mulgrew Miller Trio, Albright College Wachovia Theatre, 7:30 p.m., $20
Wednesday, March 22 -- Berks Jazz Fest Fantasy Camp Faculty Concert: Mulgrew Miller, Kurt Elling, Christian McBride, Jimmy Bruno, Bob Mintzer, John Swana and Steve Smith, Wyndham Reading Hotel Ballroom 7:30 p.m., $25

Wednesday, March 22 -- Joe McBride & The Texas Rhythm Club, Peanut Bar Restaurant, 9 p.m.
Thursday, March 23 -- Joe McBride, Wyndham Reading Hotel, 5 p.m.
Thursday, March 23 -- Gene Ludwig Trio featuring Dave Stryker and Vince Ector, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base at the Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m., $10

Thursday, March 23 -- Chieli Minucci & Special EFX featuring Ken Navarro and the Berks Jazz Fest Horns, Wyndham Reading Hotel Ballroom, 7:30 p.m., $30

Thursday, March 23 -- Berks All-Star Jazz Jam featuring Rick Braun, Richard Elliot, Chuck Loeb, Gerald Veasley, Chieli Minucci, Ken Navarro, Joe McBride, Kenny Blake, Steve Smith, Tom Coster, Eric Darius and more, Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom, 10 p.m., $30

Friday, March 24 -- Joe McBride and Kenny Blake, Wyndham Reading Hotel, 5 p.m.
Friday, March 24 -- Gerald Veasley with special guest Kurt Elling, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base at the Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., $35

Friday, March 24 -- An Evening With Rick Braun & Richard Elliot, Sovereign Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $45 and $38

Friday, March 24 -- River City Brass Band, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 7:30 p.m., $25 and $20
Friday, March 24 -- Jimi Hendrix Tribute: The Carl Filipiak Group, Wyndham Reading Hotel Ballroom, 9 p.m., $15
Friday, March 24 -- Najee, Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom, 10:30 p.m., $30
Saturday, March 25 -- Larry Carlton & The Blue Sapphire Band plus Richard Smith & Freddie Ravel Power Quartet featuring special guest Kim Waters, Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom, 1 p.m., $35

Saturday, March 25 -- Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Wyndham Reading Hotel Ballroom, 2 p.m., $25
Saturday, March 25 -- Joe McBride and Kenny Blake, Wyndham Reading Hotel, 5 p.m.
Saturday, March 25 -- Triad featuring Steve Oliver, Michael Paulo and Gerald Veasley, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base at the Sheraton Reading Hotel, 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., $35

Saturday, March 25 -- Ivan Lins & Friends featuring Ivan Lins, Jason Miles, Jane Monheit, Brenda Russell, Eliane Elias, Nelson Rangell, Romero Lubambo, Leonardo Amuedo, Cafe, Vinny Colaiuta, Will Lee, Tom Harrell, Chuck Loeb and more, Sovereign Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m., $45 and $38

Saturday, March 25 -- The Robert Cray Band, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 7:30 p.m., $40 and $35
Saturday, March 25 -- Brian Culbertson with special guest Eric Darius, Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom, 10:30 p.m., $35

Sunday, March 26 -- WJJZ Smooth Jazz Sunday Brunch: Paul Jackson Jr., Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., $35

Sunday, March 26 -- Bona Fide featuring Slim Man, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base at the Sheraton Reading Hotel, 3 p.m., $20

Sunday, March 26 -- Be Still My Soul: Michelle and Brian Culbertson, Atonement Lutheran Church, Wyomissing, 4 p.m. free will offering

Sunday, March 26 -- Tribute to Wes Montgomery: Chuck Loeb, Pat Martino, Paul Jackson Jr., Larry Carlton, Russell Malone, Earl Klugh and Jimmy Bruno plus a rhythm section of keyboardist Larry Goldings, drummer Vinny Colaiuta and bassist Will Lee, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 7 p.m., $40 and $35

Posted by Peter Böhi at December 23, 2005 1:16 AM