Jazz Meets Bluegrass at the VF Outlet Berks Jazz Fest

Latest release regarding the Berks Jazz Fest!

READING, PA -- January 29 -- The VF Outlet Berks Jazz fest is notable for its diversity of music and its innovative concepts.

That twin tradition will be emphatically upheld on Wednesday, April 2, when Jazz Meets Bluegrass: Bill Evans' Soulgrass with special guest Sam Bush at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel ballroom at 7:30 p.m.

Jazz saxophonist Bill Evans has had a distinguished career as a solo artist, one whose first full-time gig was a berth with the Miles Davis Band. But over the years he has explored a variety of such musical settings as hip-hop, fusion, reggae, Brazilian and slamming funk. He stepped into more adventurous territory with his 2006 release Soulgrass, collaborating on the project with numerous jazz fusion all-stars as well as famed bluegrass vocalist and mandolin master Sam Bush.

Now Evans and Bush are teaming up at the Berks Jazz Fest.

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

Getting back to Evans and Bush, the question is what happens musically when
hipster marries hayseed?

"You get a marriage that really works," Evans says. "Jazz may be more intellectual, but the lines and rhythms can be exactly the same as bluegrass, and both are about improvisation."

Rounding the Soulgrass bluegrass-jazz fusion band at the festival will be banjo phenom Ryan Cavanaugh, fiddler/violinist Christian Howes, bassist Mark Egan and drummer Joel Rosenblatt.

It's a nervy merging of genres. While progressive bluegrassers have been experimenting with swing jazz elements for years, Evans is the first overtly modern jazz bandleader to move in a bluegrass direction. In 2006, Evans' Soulgrass album received a Grammy nomination in the contemporary jazz category.

"I can't afford to rest on my laurels with this band," said Evans, who has played with Herbie Hancock, Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, Mick Jagger and Willie Nelson when not touring extensively with his own band. "Nobody knows me on the grassroots scene. We have the best players, and a fresh musical vision. We cover all the bases, which I have to do to gain a new audience."

Everybody knows Sam Bush on the grassroots scene. Besides vocals and mandolin, he is a capable guitar and fiddle player. He was a founding member of the New Grass Revival and has been called a modern-day Bill Monroe. He is known as one of the liveliest performers at bluegrass festivals and released his first live concert DVD On The Road in 2007.

"The real definition of jazz is about growth, innovation and moving forward," Evans said. "So a hybrid like this is the essence of jazz."

And it's happening on April 2nd at the Berks Jazz Fest. Don't miss it!

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; blues legend Buddy Guy; 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 and 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 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, the Rob Stoneback Big Band; the return of Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band; and the considerable blues talents of Maria Muldaur, Bonerama, the Clarence Spady Band, Campbell Brothers and Eric Bibb.

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, Caf�, 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 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 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 p.m., $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, Caf�, 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

CONTACT:
Mike Zielinski
Co-Publicity Director
VF Outlet Berks Jazz Fest
610-236-4747
610-371-5146 fax
mzielinski@readingeagle.com
Catherine Catanach
Director of Development and Marketing
Berks Arts Council
610-898-1930
ccatanach@berksjazzfest.com
www.berksjazzfest.com

Happy Jazzin' at the Berks Jazz Festival!!

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