January 24, 2008

Blues acts promise to rock VF Outlet Berks Jazz Fest

BuddyGuy.jpgThe VF Outlet Berks Jazz fest is, primarily, a celebration of jazz. However, the festival is also known for its diverse lineup, with a healthy dose of blues.

This year, Hall of Fame inductee Buddy Guy will rock the house at the Sheraton Reading Hotel on Friday, March 28, at 10 p.m.

The 18th annual Berks Jazz Fest, presented by the Berks Arts Council, runs March 28 through April 6 and will offer fans a wide array of musical styles, including contemporary and traditional jazz, blues and big band, with some gospel and even bluegrass thrown in. Shows are held at major venues, clubs and restaurants throughout Reading and Berks County, making it a truly unique festival.

High-energy guitar histrionics and boundless on-stage energy have always been Guy trademarks, along with a tortured vocal style that's nearly as distinctive as his incendiary rapid-fire fretwork. The Louisiana native is a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, a chief guitar influence to later legends Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Stevie Ray Vaughan, a pioneer of Chicago's West Side Sound and a living link to that city's halcyon days of electric blues.

Truly coming into his own and experiencing a great career Renaissance in his mid-50s, Guy's first three recordings for Silvertone in the early '90s earned Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Blues Album. 2003's Blues Singer won for Best Traditional Blues Album.

There is no shortage of the blues at this year's fest. In addition to Buddy Guy, there are two big shows on the closing weekend -- a New Orleans Funky Friday with Maria Muldaur and Bonerama; and blues night with the Clarence Spady Band, Campbell Brothers and Eric Bibb.

MariaMuldaur.jpgBerks Jazz Fest celebrates the enduring spirit of the Crescent City with New Orleans Funky Friday, a special show featuring famed roots-folk and blues singer Maria Muldaur and New Orleans brass band Bonerama, on Friday April 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Inn at Reading.

In 1974 Muldaur scored her most famous hit with the iconic, sultry "Midnight at the Oasis," which reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Later in the decade, she joined the Jerry Garcia Band as a backing vocalist.

Well known in the blues genre, she has continued to perform, tour and record since her success in the mid-1970s, including a turn at the Teatro ZinZanni in 2001.

Bonerama.jpgWhen Bonerama struts onstage with its four-trombone frontline, the audience is immediately aware it's not quite like any rock band you've seen. When they tear into some vintage New Orleans funk, there's no questioning where they're from. And when those 'bones start ripping into Hendrix and Led Zeppelin licks, all stylistic bets are off.

Clarence Spady Band, Campbell Brothers and Eric Bibb promise a night of burning blues from three incredible performers on Saturday, April 5, at 7 p.m. at the Inn at Reading.

Clarence Spady has been an underground marvel since his initial and only worldwide release Nature of the Beast in 1996. He has a strong worldwide fan base and recently released his highly anticipated new album Just Between Us on Maryland-based Severn Records.

The Campbell Brothers present Sacred Steel: African-American gospel music with electric steel guitar and vocals that is both devoted and rocking.

Acoustic blues singer/songwriter Eric Bibb joined Robert Cray on two U.S. tours in 2001 and 2002 and opened for Bonnie Raitt and also Ray Charles in the summer of 2002. His 2005 release A Ship Called Love was nominated for Acoustic Album of the Year in the 2006 Blues Music Awards.

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Other featured artists at this year's festival include the return of the ever-popular Guitars & Saxes featuring Gerald Albright, Peter White, Jeff Golub and Jeff Lorber; jazz guitar great Pat Martino; master guitarist Chuck Loeb; saxophonist Eric Marienthal; alto saxophonist Candy Dulfer; the gifted and charismatic trumpeter Chris Botti; guitarist Paul Brown, vocalist Kenny Rankin, fellow guitarist Marc Antoine and saxman Eric Darius; Berks favorite, keyboardist Brian Culbertson; trumpet great Rick Braun and saxman Richard Elliot; guitarist Nick Colionne with keyboardist Brian Simpson; and versatile bassist Brian Bromberg.

Additional marquee artists include Bill Evans' Soulgrass with bluegrass vocalist and instrumentalist Sam Bush; popular keyboardist and vocalist Joe McBride; the Caribbean Jazz Project featuring Dave Samuels with special guest, reed player Paquito D'Rivera; saxman Euge Groove and keyboardist Alex Bugnon; violinist Regina Carter in a quintet; the Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, high-energy jazz dance performers; New York's Finest Jazz Band, an 18-member group performing jazz and pop standards; Kennedy Center presents Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead, featuring young emerging artists; Sherrie Maricle and the all-female DIVA Jazz Orchestra; Simone, daughter of legendary singer Nina Simone, and the Rob Stoneback Big Band; and the return of Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band.

Music director and keyboardist Jason Miles once again is bringing special ensemble shows to the Berks Jazz Fest. Miles and an all-star roster will be Celebrating the Life & Music of Grover Washington Jr., the late legendary saxman. The show, To Grover with Love, brings together some of the top names in the business, including Patti LaBelle, Walter Beasley, Everette Harp, Kim Waters, Maysa, Phil Perry, Chuck Loeb, Will Lee, Buddy Williams and Ralph MacDonald. The world premiere of Jason Miles/DJ Logic Global Noize features Christian Scott, Karl Denson, Bernie Worrell, Café, Brian Dunne, Carl Burnett and Tim LeFebvre.

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To order tickets:

Visit the Sovereign Center Box Office, Seventh and Penn streets, Reading

Visit the Sovereign Performing Arts Center Box Office, 136 N. Sixth St., Reading

Call Ticketmaster at 215-336-2000 or visit  www.ticketmaster.com

Order online at berksjazzfest.com

For more information on the festival, including artist bios and archived releases, click on 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.

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Major Ticketed Events

Thursday, March 27 -- Berks Jazz Fest Kickoff Concert: Andrew Neu Group featuring the Bright & Tight Horns, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7.pm., $10.

Friday, March 28 -- Brian Bromberg Band, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., $25

Friday, March 28 -- An Evening with Nancy Wilson, Sovereign Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $47 and $41

Friday, March 28 -- Buddy Guy, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 10 p.m., $40 and $35

Friday, March 28 -- Kenny Blake Quartet, L'Arte della Vita Jazz Cabaret, Abraham Lincoln Hotel, 10 p.m., $15

Saturday, March 29 -- LA Chillharmonic featuring Brian Bromberg, Richard Smith, Michael Paulo, Gregg Karukas, Greg Adams plus the Berks Jazz Fest Horns, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 2 p.m., $39 and $34

Saturday, March 29 -- Simone and the Rob Stoneback Big Band, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., $25

Saturday, March 29 -- Chris Botti, Sovereign Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $47 and $41

Saturday, March 29 -- Jump Rhythm Dance Project, Miller Center for the Arts, 8 p.m., $20

Saturday, March 29 -- Kenny Blake Quartet, L'Arte della Vita Jazz Cabaret, Abraham Lincoln Hotel, 10 p.m., $15

Saturday, March 29 -- Gerald Veasley and the WJJZ All-Stars Rick Braun, Bobby Lyle, Chuck Loeb, Chris Farr and the Berks Jazz Fest Horns, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 10:30 p.m., $39 and $34

Sunday, March 30 -- Betty Carter's Jazz Ahead, Miller Center, 1:30 p.m., no charge

Sunday, March 30 -- Paul Brown's Guitar Night featuring Kenny Rankin and Marc Antoine plus saxophonist Eric Darius, Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom, 2 p.m., $39 and $34

Sunday, March 30 -- Sweet Honey in the Rock, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 3 p.m., $45, $35, $25

Sunday, March 30 -- Celebrating the Life & Music of Grover Washington Jr. -- To Grover with Love: Patti LaBelle, Walter Beasley, Everette Harp, Kim Waters, Maysa, Phil Perry, Chuck Loeb, Will Lee, Buddy Williams, Ralph MacDonald, and musical director Jason Miles, Sovereign Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m., $49 and $43

Monday, March 31 -- Michael Manring & David Cullen, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m., $12

Tuesday, April 1 -- New York's Finest Jazz Band, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7:30 p.m., $15

Wednesday, April 2 -- Bill Evans' Soulgrass with special guest Sam Bush, Abraham Lincoln Hotel ballroom, 7:30 p.m., $32

Thursday, April 3 -- MusicReport with special guests Lynn Riley and Aaron Graves, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m., $12

Thursday, April 3 -- Nick Colionne with special guest Brian Simpson, Abraham Lincoln Hotel ballroom, 7:30 p.m., $32

Thursday, April 3 -- Berks All-Star Jazz Jam featuring Rick Braun, Chuck Loeb, Gerald Veasley, Richard Elliot, Nick Colionne, Brian Bromberg, Pat Martino, Joe McBride, Brian Simpson, Ricky Lawson, Andrew Neu and more, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 10 p.m., $35

Friday, April 4 -- Pat Martino Quartet, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., $30

Friday, April 4 -- The Caribbean Jazz Project featuring Dave Samuels with special guest Paquito D'Rivera, Abraham Lincoln Hotel ballroom, 7:30 p.m., $32

Friday, April 4 -- Rick Braun & Richard Elliot, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 7:30 p.m., $47 and $41

Friday, April 4 -- New Orleans Funky Friday: Maria Muldaur and Bonerama, Inn at Reading, 7:30 p.m., $32

Friday, April 4 -- Joe McBride Trio, L'Arte della Vita Jazz Cabaret, Abraham Lincoln Hotel, 10 p.m., $15

Friday, April 4 -- Candy Dulfer, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 10:30 p.m., $39 and $34

Saturday, April 5 -- Euge Groove plus Alex Bugnon, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 2 p.m., $39 and $34

Saturday, April 5 -- Sherrie Maricle & The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, Abraham Lincoln Hotel ballroom, 2 p.m., $28

Saturday, April 5 -- Tribute to Chet Baker: Rick Braun, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base, Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., $30

Saturday, April 5 -- Guitars & Saxes featuring Peter White, Gerald Albright, Jeff Golub and Jeff Lorber, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 7 p.m., $47 and $41

Saturday, April 5 -- Clarence Spady Band plus Campbell Brothers plus Eric Bibb, Inn at Reading, 7 p.m., $37

Saturday, April 5 -- Regina Carter Quintet, Miller Center for the Arts, 7:30 p.m., $38

Saturday, April 5 -- Joe McBride Trio, L'Arte della Vita Jazz Cabaret, Abraham Lincoln Hotel, 10 p.m., $15

Saturday, April 5 -- World Premiere: Jason Miles/DJ Logic Global Noize featuring Christian Scott, Karl Denson, Bernie Worrell, Café, Brian Dunne, Carl Burnett and Tim LeFebvre, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 10:30 p.m., $39 and $34

Sunday, April 6 -- Chuck Loeb with special guests Eric Marienthal, Tom Scott, Will Lee, Carmen Cuesta, Lizzy Loeb, Rob Mounsey, Cafe, Cliff Almond and more, Sheraton Reading Hotel ballroom, 2 p.m., $39 and $34

Sunday, April 6 -- Brian Culbertson, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 7 p.m., $47 and $41

Posted by Peter Böhi at January 24, 2008 5:41 PM