Sometimes, in the aftermath of heartbreak and loss, comes triumph. So it is with legendary vocalist Phoebe Snow. You can call her what you want: a rock belter, a rhythm-and-blues shouter or a moody folk-jazz diva. She is all of the above and everything in between. Her powerful yet soulful performance is sure to stay with her audience long after the last song is sung. Snow will be performing during the 19th annual VF Outlet Berks Jazz Fest in the intimate Miller Center for the Arts, Friday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $45.
A fully formed musical talent when she emerged in the mid-1970s with the hit �Poetry Man," Snow has remained one of the most distinctive voices in popular music. A single off her self-titled debut album, "Poetry Man" became a top 5 single, and won Snow a Grammy Award nomination for Best New Artist and established her as a formidable singer/songwriter. Platinum records, the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, and legions of fans followed.
In 1975, Snow gave birth to her daughter, Valerie, who was born severely brain-injured. At the expense of her career, Snow devoted her life to caring for Valerie.
When Valerie passed away at the age of 31 in March 2007, Snow said she wasn't sure she'd survive the heartbreak.
However, Snow not only survived; she made a comeback.
Her new CD, Phoebe Snow - Live, is her first in-concert album. It was recorded on July 30-31, 2008, at the historic Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, N.Y.
Other featured artists at this year's festival include veteran stars Peter White and Mindi Abair; the world premiere concert of Bela Fleck: The Africa Project; superstar saxman Boney James; festival favorite Brian Culbertson; the Sax for Stax duo of Gerald Albright and Kirk Whalum; urban pop/jazz ensembles Average White Band and Pieces of a Dream; world-renowned bassist Victor Wooten; the Sax Pack of Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole and Kim Waters; piano-based McCoy Tyner Quartet; festival veterans Joe McBride and Kenny Blake; guitarist extraordinaire Chieli Minucci & Special EFX.
Fans also can enjoy the soulful sounds of Take 6 plus Wayman Tisdale; pianist David Benoit and saxman Warren Hill; renowned saxophonist and clarinetist Anat Cohen; the Brian Bromberg Quartet; steel pan master Andy Narell and the Catonsville High Steel Drum Band; Tim Price, Rachel Z and the Department of Good and Evil; and Nelson Rangell with the Reading Pops Orchestra performing My American Songbook. The festival finale features Jazz Attack with the always-entertaining Rick Braun, Richard Elliot and Jonathan Butler.
Blues is back in abundance at the 2009 Berks Jazz Fest, with two Severn Soul & Blues Revues and guitar virtuoso Joe Bonamassa, The Billy Price Band featuring special guest Fred Chapellier; and The Derek Trucks Band.
Fusion fans will get their fill with all-stars Steve Smith & Vital Information; and veteran-led Metro, featuring festival favorite Chuck Loeb, Mitch Forman, Dave Weckl, Randy Brecker, Gerald Veasley and Bobby Franceschini.
Great ensemble and tribute shows offer unique musical experiences to all fans this year. Soul Summit II, presented by Jason Miles, features soul-drenched music and an all-star lineup. East Bay Soul brings the funk and R&B.
Artists paying tribute to some of music's greats include the Gerald Veasley Band celebrating the Music of Stevie Wonder in a fourth show televised live by WFMZ-TV Channel 69. There is also the return of the very popular Rick Braun's Tribute to Chet Baker; and Bobby Lyle & Paul Jackson Jr. will have a Tribute to Jimmy Smith & Wes Montgomery.
This year's festival has something for everyone, with smooth and straight-ahead jazz, smokin' blues, soulful singing, unique ensembles, rousing tributes and much, much more.
The 19th annual Berks Jazz Fest, presented by the Berks Arts Council, runs March 27 through April 5 and features an expansive array of musical styles, including contemporary and traditional jazz, blues, big band, gospel and bluegrass. Shows are held at major venues, clubs and restaurants throughout Reading and Berks County, making it a truly unique festival. For more information on the festival, including ticketing, artist bios and archived releases, visit 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, visit www.berksarts.org.