Berks Jazz Festival Announces 2007 Line-Up

BerksJazzFest_Logo.jpgFor most people, the chilly nip in November air signals that winter is just around the corner, but for jazz enthusiasts it means that spring can't be far off. For us, spring is synonymous with Berks Jazz Fest. Just as spring breathes new life into our surroundings, Berks Jazz Fest breathes new life in the form of music into our souls. As we eagerly anticipate the arrival of our music, we're reminded how dependent we are on this yearly renewal we call Berks.

Artists seem to enjoy returning to Berks as often as they can, making it fair to say that they, too, take something very special with them to last the whole year through. The festival dates are set for March 16 0- 25th, 2007, giving artists and fans alike yet another opportunity to renew friendships and add new fans, artists and experiences to their lists of treasured memories.

The line-up has been announced, and with the predictability of leaves tumbling to the ground in fall, some of us in the Jazz Circle began lining up at 8 AM (some before that) to purchase tickets at the Sovereign Center and the Sovereign Performing Arts Center in downtown Reading. Yes, it was a chilly morning, but it was worth the wait to get some good seats from which to listen and enjoy the music at the various venues featured this year. Others in the Jazz Circle were busily ordering tickets online or dialing into Ticketmaster. (Note: Jazz Circle membership is open to all. You can join during the festival or at other times throughout the year to enjoy the privilege of early ticket ordering as well as other membership features.)

Note: Jazz Circle Members began ordering tickets Saturday, November 25th. Tickets go on sale to the public on December 2nd at 10 AM. Ticket information and a link to artist profiles, written by our own Jonathan Widran, appear at the end of this article, as well as the dates of the major ticketed events.

Click below to read an excerpt from the Berks Jazz Fest website itself, giving a preview of artists and venues for ticketed events:

You don�t have to sift through a lot of clues to figure out why the FirstEnergy Berks Jazz Fest owns a timeshare among the world�s elite music festivals. The 17th annual Berks Jazz Fest, presented by the Berks Arts Council, runs March 16-25, 2007, and features an abundance of great artists, a plethora of wonderfully intimate venues, a schedule of staggering scale and exquisite ensemble concerts.

As usual, the Berks festival features a marvelous medley of musical styles -- contemporary jazz, traditional jazz, big band, blues and more -- at more than 130 events at major venues, clubs and restaurants throughout Reading and Berks County. Once again, its star power could populate a good-sized galaxy.

DavidSanborn_BNL.jpg Among the spectacular featured artists are urban jazz saxophonist Boney James; legendary saxophonist David Sanborn; the ever-popular Guitars & Saxes featuring saxophonists Gerald Albright and Kirk Whalum and guitarists Jeff Golub and Tim Bowman; esteemed pianist/composer Dave Brubeck; saxophonist Nelson Rangell; keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist Philippe Saisse; guitarist Joyce Cooling; guitarist Pat Martino; saxophonist Mindi Abair; guitarist Chuck Loeb; singer/songwriter Ann Hampton Callaway; the Denis DiBlasio Quintet; bassist Gerald Veasley�s Electric Mingus Project with special guest violinist John Blake; vocalist Kevin Mahogany; saxophonist David Liebman; the Sax Pack featuring Jeff Kashiwa, Kim Waters and Steve Cole; saxophonist Warren Hill; guitarist Nick Colionne; Gordon Goodwin�s Big Phat Band; and the Berks All-Star Jazz Jam featuring Rick Braun, Chuck Loeb, Gerald Veasley, Richard Elliot, Nick Colionne, Warren Hill and Joe McBride.

Then there are such soul-drenching blues artists as the Keb' Mo' Band; guitarist Tab Benoit; Frank Bey & Swing City Blues Band; electric guitarist Smokin' Joe Kubek featuring guitarist/singer Bnois King; vocalist Billy Price and his band; and pianist/saxophonist Deanna Bogart.

RickBraun_BNL.jpg A marquee attraction is the 17th Anniversary Concert, Rick Braun & Friends, that features the explosive trumpeter with powerhouse saxman Richard Elliot; gifted singer/guitarist Jonathan Butler; soulful saxophonist Jackiem Joyner; and dynamic drummer Rayford Griffin.

Now for the very special ensemble concerts being produced by music director and keyboardist Jason Miles:
DionneWarwick_BNL.jpg Celebrating the Life and Music of Luther Vandross, the late, multi-talented singer/songwriter, are Miles, co-music director and keyboardist Nat Adderley Jr.; legendary vocalist Dionne Warwick; guitarist Doc Powell; saxophonist Kirk Whalum; saxophonist Walter Beasley, vocalist James "D Train" Williams; vocalist Cissy Houston; vocalist Lisa Fischer; vocalist Paulette McWilliams; drummer Buddy Williams and bassist Tinker Barfield.

The world premiere Soul Summit concert features Miles along with vocalist/guitarist Susan Tedeschi; vocal artist Maysa; saxophonist Richard Elliot; Derek Trucks Band vocalist Mike Mattison; trumpeter Barry Danielian; saxophonist Andy Snitzer; drummer Steve Ferrone; bassist Bob Babbitt; guitarist Reggie Young; guitarist Sherrod Barnes and turntablist DJ Logic.

And there are even more special group concerts.

Both an Afternoon and an Evening of Heads Up features legendary Philadelphia-based super group Pieces of a Dream; pianist Bobby Lyle; saxophonist Marion Meadows; flutist Alexander Zonjic and bassist Gerald Veasley.

DavidBromberg_BNL.jpg The Downright Upright All-Stars feature bassist Brian Bromberg; drummer Dave Weckl; keyboardist Jeff Lorber; saxophonist Gary Meek; and trumpet and flugelhorn master Randy Brecker.

Tim Ries� The Rolling Stones Project showcases Ries, the Stones� saxophonist, playing Stones� classics with a jazz interpretation along with trombonist Mike Davis, vocalist Bernard Fowler and guitarist Ben Monder.

The Trumpet Summit showcases a trinity of terrific trumpeters in Brian Lynch, Scott Wendholt and Alex Sipiagin performing with Dave Stahl, Reading's own esteemed trumpeter, and his Big Band.

So, as you can see, once again the FirstEnergy Berks Jazz Fest features a delicious smorgasbord of music!

Major ticketed events:

Friday, March 16 -- Dave Brubeck Quartet, Sovereign Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $46 and $39

Friday, March 16 -- Downright Upright All-Stars featuring Brian Bromberg, Randy Brecker, Jeff Lorber, Gary Meek and Dave Weckl, Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom, 10 p.m., $32

Saturday, March 17 -- An Afternoon of Heads Up featuring Pieces of a Dream, Bobby Lyle, Marion Meadows, Alexander Zonjic and Gerald Veasley, Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom, 2 p.m., $38 and $33

Saturday, March 17 -- Gerald Veasley's Electric Mingus Project with special guest John Blake, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base at the Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m., $20

Saturday, March 17 -- Boney James, Sovereign Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $46 and $39

Saturday, March 17 -- An Evening of Heads Up featuring Pieces of a Dream, Bobby Lyle, Marion Meadows, Alexander Zonjic and Gerald Veasley, Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom, 10 p.m., $38 and $33

Sunday, March 18 -- Nelson Rangell and Philippe Saisse plus Joyce Cooling, Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom, 1:30 p.m., $25

Sunday, March 18 -- Celebrating the Life & Music of Luther Vandross: Dionne Warwick, Kirk Whalum, Walter Beasley, Cissy Houston, Doc Powell, James "D Train" Williams, Lisa Fischer, Paulette McWilliams, Buddy Williams, Tinker Barfield and music directors Jason Miles and Nat Adderley Jr., Sovereign Performing Arts Center, 7 p.m., $46 and $39.

Tuesday, March 20 -- Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band plus Berks High School All-Star Band, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 7:30 p.m., $18 and $10 for students with ID.

Wednesday, March 21 -- The Rolling Stones Project featuring Tim Ries, Mike Davis, Bernard Fowler and Ben Monder, Abraham Lincoln Hotel Ballroom, 7:30 p.m., $30

Thursday, March 22 -- Greg Hatza ORGANization, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base at the Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m., $12

Thursday, March 22 -- Mindi Abair, The Abraham Lincoln Hotel Ballroom, 7:30 p.m., $30

Thursday, March 22 -- Berks All-Star Jazz Jam featuring Rick Braun, Chuck Loeb, Gerald Veasley, Richard Elliot, Nick Colionne, Warren Hill and Joe McBride, Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom, 10 p.m., $30

Friday, March 23 -- Pat Martino Quartet, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base at the Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m., $28

Friday, March 23 -- Ann Hampton Callaway plus Denis DiBlasio Quintet, The Abraham Lincoln Hotel Ballroom, 7 p.m., $30

Friday, March 23 -- Keb' Mo' Band, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 7 p.m., $40 and $34

Friday, March 23 -- 17th Anniversary Concert: Rick Braun & Friends featuring Richard Elliot, Jonathan Butler, Jackiem Joyner and Rayford Griffin, Sovereign Performing Arts Center, 7:30 p.m., $46 and $39

Friday, March 23 -- Tab Benoit and Frank Bey & Swing City Blues Band, Inn at Reading, 9:30 p.m., $28

Friday, March 23 -- Pat Martino Quartet, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base at the Sheraton Reading Hotel, 10:30 p.m., $28

Friday March 23 -- David Sanborn, Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom, 10:30 p.m., $38 and $33

Saturday, March 24 -- Ladies of Jazz featuring Toni Lynne, Sharon Bailey and Suzie Ernesto with The Last Big Band, The Abraham Lincoln Hotel Ballroom, 1 p.m., $20

Saturday, March 24 -- Warren Hill plus Nick Colionne, Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom, 1:30 p.m., $38 and $33.

Saturday, March 24 -- Tribute to Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane: Kevin Mahogany featuring saxophonist David Liebman, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base at the Sheraton Reading Hotel, 7 p.m., $28

Saturday, March 24 -- World Premiere Concert: Soul Summit featuring Jason Miles, Steve Ferrone, Bob Babbitt, Reggie Young, DJ Logic and Sherrod Barnes plus special guests Susan Tedeschi, Maysa, Richard Elliot, Mike Mattison, Barry Danielian and Andy Snitzer, 7 p.m., $46 and $39

Saturday, March 24 -- Smokin' Joe Kubek featuring Bnois King plus Billy Price Band plus Deanna Bogart, Inn at Reading, 7 p.m., $35

Saturday, March 24 -- Trumpet Summit featuring guest trumpeters Brian Lynch, Scott Wendholt and Alex Sipiagin and Dave Stahl and his Big Band, The Abraham Lincoln Hotel Ballroom, 8 p.m., $25

Saturday, March 24 -- Tribute to Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane: Kevin Mahogany featuring saxophonist David Liebman, Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base at the Sheraton Reading Hotel, 10:30 p.m., $28

Saturday, March 24 -- The Sax Pack featuring Jeff Kashiwa, Kim Waters and Steve Cole, Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom, 10:30 p.m., $38 and $33

Sunday, March 25 -- Chuck Loeb featuring the Berks Jazz Fest Horns plus the WJJZ All-Stars Jeff Kashiwa, Kim Waters and Steve Cole, Sheraton Reading Hotel Ballroom, 1:30 p.m., $25

Sunday, March 25 -- Guitars & Saxes featuring Gerald Albright, Tim Bowman, Jeff Golub and Kirk Whalum, Scottish Rite Cathedral, 7 p.m., $46 and $39

To Read Artist Bios:
Visit http://berksjazzfest.com/artistsprofiles.asp

To Order Tickets:
Purchase online at www.berksjazzfest.com
Sovereign Performing Arts Center Box Office, 136 N. Sixth St., Reading, PA 19601
Sovereign Center Box Office, Seventh and Penn Streets, Reading, PA 19602

I hope to see you in March at the 17th Annual Berks Jazz Festival!!

Happy Jazzin'

Beverly Packard
Jazz Circle Member of the Berks Arts Council
Reading, Pennsylvania
MyGirlSunday22@aol.com