Boston's biggest block party -- the annual Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival -- is once again coming to town on September 28 for the 13th year in a row.
The massive, free, outdoor festival with three stages set up on Columbus Avenue in the city's South End offering contemporary jazz, Latin, blues and soul acts runs from noon to 6 p.m.. Highlights include Meshell Ndegeocello, Will Calhoun Trio led by the Grammy Award-winning alumnus and drummer of the band Living Colour, and Robin McKelle & the Flytones.
Past Berklee BeanTown jazz festivals have drawn as many as 80,000 music fans. This year the festival celebrtes the theme Jazz: The Next Generation, with performances by some of the genre's mot acclaimed up-and-coming alumni artists, including Grammy-nominated trumpeter Christian Scott, the Mike Tucker Trio featuring vibraphonist Warren Wolf, and the Matt Savage Quartet featuring sax great Bobby Watson.
Berklee faculty and students also play a major role in the festival, with performances by faculty artists Lawrence "Larry" Watson & the Workforce, The Bell Affair, Matt Jenson & the Liquid Revolution, and Rick DiMuzio Quintet, and students including Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors featuring Adam Cruz, Jazz Revelation Records artist the Simon Moullier Quartet, Giorgi Mikadze Group, the Berklee P-Funk Ensembe and the Berklee City Music All Stars Big Band Jazz Ensemble. Street performers Marcus Santos & Bloco AfroBrazil will perform throughout the afternoon.
Festival sponsor Natixis Global Asset Management Family Park will transform Carter Playground with activities including face painting, inflatables, interactive educational program KidsJam, an interactive program led by Berklee's Music Education department, introducing young children to a variety of musical activities including singing and sound explortion, playing rhythm instruments, and creating, listening and responding to music.and an "instrument petting zoo." Foods and crafts from all over the world will be available for purchase.
This area of Boston was home to several legendary clubs during the city's jazz heyday, and was the epicenter of music, food and nightlife for Boston's jazz community from the 1930's through the 1950's. Discover Roxbury's High Notes of Jazz Roxbury Walk is offering tours throughout the day on Saturday for a nominal fee.
The jazz festival also presents ticketed concerts during the weekend of the festival. On Friday, September 27 and Saturday, September 28, Gary Burton's 70th Birthday Tour stops at Scullers Ja Club for performances at 8 and 10 p.m. each night by the New Gary Burton Quartet featuring Julian Lage, Scott Colley and Antonio Sanchez. For more information visit Sculler'sJazz.com. On SundaySeptember 29 instrumental jazz, funk and world music collective Snarky Puppy perform at the Berklee Performance Center at 8 p.m. Visit Berklee.edu/bpc for more information.
Berklee College of Music was founded on the principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music is through the study and practice of contemporary music. For more than 65 years the college as evolved to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business, leading the way with the world's first baccalaureate studies in jazz, rock, electric guitar, film scoring, songwriting, turntables, electronic production, and more than a dozen other genres and fields of study. With a diverse and talented student body representing more than 80 countries, and alumni and faculty that have collectively won more than 270 Grammys and Latin Grammys, Berklee is the world's premier learning lab for today's music. In its fourth year, Berklee io the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support the Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival and its theme. In awarding the prestigious Art Works grant to Berklee, the NEA cited the festival as a celebration of Boston's diversity as reflected in the attendees, music, food and crafts. An educational program about the importance of mentorship in jazz is being planned
"The next generation of creative musicians is quite strong and, having stood on the shoulders of their predecessors, are now hopefully prepared for unlimited boundaries, said Terri Lyne Carrington, Grammy Award-winning drummer, composer, Berklee professor and Artistic Director of the festival "Mentoring has always been an important part of the continuance and advancement of jazz, so we are proud to recognize mentor-mentee relationships this year."