Berks Jazz Fest 2009 Artists Receive Grammy Nods

Here is the latest news release from the Berks Arts Council regarding the Berks Jazz Fest. VF Outlet Berks Jazz Fest will feature performances by a few artists who have received Grammy nominations. The 19th edition of the festival, which runs March 27 through April 5, 2009, features more than 130 events at major venues, clubs and restaurants throughout Reading and Berks County, Pa.

READING, PA -- December 4 -- Several artists scheduled to perform at the 2009 VF Outlet Berks Jazz fest received Grammy Award nominations on December 3, 2008.

Gerald Albright, Randy Brecker, Bela Fleck and Take 6 are among the nominees for the 51st Annual Grammy Awards, being telecast live Feb. 8, 2009 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Gerald Albright is nominated in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category for his June 2008 Peak Records release Sax for Stax.

He will be performing his Sax for Stax show at the festival with Kirk Whalum on Saturday, March 28, 2009 at 2 p.m. in the Reading Crowne Hotel Ballroom (formerly known as the Sheraton Reading Hotel).

In 2008, Albright celebrated two key anniversaries a year late with the release of his on-fire, classic funk and soul-kissed second Peak Records disc Sax For Stax. 2007 marked 20 years since he burst onto the contemporary urban jazz scene with his debut Just Between Us. It was also the year that Stax Records, now part of the Concord Records family, celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Randy Brecker scored a nomination for Best Contemporary Jazz Album with Randy in Brasil, his September release with Mama Records.

Brecker will be performing with Metro, featuring Chuck Loeb, Mitch Forman, Dave Weckl, Gerald Veasley and Bobby Franceschini on Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. in Gerald Veasley�s Jazz Base at the Reading Crowne Hotel.

Perhaps best known for his influential and groundbreaking work with his saxophonist brother Michael � collectively known as The Brecker Brothers � Brecker has been shaping the sound of jazz, R&B and rock for more than three decades, gracing hundreds of albums by everyone from James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen and Chaka Khan to George Benson, Frank Zappa and Steely Dan.

Legendary banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck, who is bringing the world premiere of Bela Fleck: The Africa Project to the festival on Monday, March 30, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. at the Miller Center for the Arts, has been nominated as part of Bela Fleck & The Flecktones for two categories: Best Pop Instrumental Album for their latest release Jingle All the Way on the Rounder label; and Best Country Instrumental Performance for "Sleigh Ride," a track from Jingle All the Way.

Often considered the premier banjo player in the world, Fleck is the winner of eight Grammy Awards and has been nominated 20 times in more categories than anyone in history: country, pop, jazz, bluegrass, classical, folk, spoken word, composition and arranging. Over the years, Fleck has shared Grammy wins with Asleep at the Wheel, Alison Brown and Edgar Meyer.

Take 6 has been nominated for Best Gospel Performance for "Shall We Gather At the River," a track from their recent Heads Up International release, The Standard. With its roots in gospel, doo wop and the sophisticated jazz-influenced singing groups of mid-century America like the Hi-Los, the eight-time Grammy-winning a cappella vocal group Take 6 is both a throwback to an earlier, more genteel era of American music and a precursor for a number of male pop groups of the �90s and 2000s. Its members currently include David Thomas, Alvin Chea, Cedric Dent, Mark Kibble, Claude V. McKnight III and Joey Kibble (who replaced Mervyn Warren).

Take 6 will be joined by Wayman Tisdale for a smooth and soulful show Sunday, March 29, 2009 at 7:30 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Cathedral.

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 1-800-745-3000 or visit
Order online at
For more information on the festival, including artist bios and archived releases, click on
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

**Please note that tickets for events at the Reading Crowne Hotel (formerly the Sheraton Hotel Reading) will show the Plaza Reading Hotel as the venue. The correct venue title for these events will be the Reading Crowne Hotel effective January 1st, 2009.

Beth Renfro
Berks Arts Council
Reading, PA 19603

Here's hoping you get to see every one of the Grammy nominees during the Berks Jazz Fest!

Happy Jazzin'

Beverly J. Packard
Jazz Circle Member of the Berks Arts Council