(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – April may be the cruelest month, but it’s also Jazz Appreciation Month. The month of May, however, is not cruel, and so it brings more jazz to downtown Pittsfield, with a performance by the Williams College Jazz Ensemble on Friday, May 3, 2013, and Royal Hartigan’s Blood Drum Spirit ensemble on Sunday, May 5, 2013, in two free shows sponsored by Berkshires Jazz.
The Williams College Jazz Ensemble, featuring talented students led by Andy Jaffe, performs at Baba Louie’s Backroom at 7:30pm, in conjunction with downtown Pittsfield’s First Friday Artswalk. The student members come from around the country and around the world: Max Dietrich, baritone sax (Newton, Mass.); Nina Kumar, drums (Larchmont,N.Y.); Thobo Mogojwe, vocals (Botswana); Chris Janson, bass (Darien,Conn); Jack Schweighauser guitar (Lake Forest, Ill.). The pianist and leader is Andy Jaffe, the Lyell B. Clay Artist in Residence in Jazz and Director of Jazz Activities at Williams College. Regular dinner fare will be available at Baba Louie’s, 34 Depot Street, Pittsfield.
On Sunday, May 5, at 3pm, percussionist, author, activist, and Pittsfield native Royal Hartigan brings the Blood Drum Spirit ensemble to his home town, to honor his ancestors, at the Zion Lutheran Church at 74 First Street, Pittsfield. Hartigan will be joined by saxophonist David Bindman, pianist Art Hirahara, and bassist Wes Brown. His performance will include selections from two of the group’s CDs, “Ancestors” and “Blood Drum Spirit Live in China.” A free will offering is suggested and all proceeds from offerings will be donated to the Pittsfield Area Council of Congregations Emergency Fuel Fund and to Berkshires Jazz, Inc.