(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – The Karrin Allyson Trio, the Scott Robinson Quartet, and the U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors big band headline the 12th annual Pittsfield CityJazz Festival, which runs October 7 through October 16 at various venues throughout the city.
Allyson and the Jazz Ambassadors perform at the Colonial Theatre on Saturday, October 15; Robinson and his quartet are at Flavours Restaurant on Friday, October 14.
The festival, a program of Berkshires Jazz, Inc., also includes an annual jazz crawl; a new discovery in the organization’s Jazz Prodigy series; and a new exhibit of jazz photography. Most of the festival’s events are free.
The festival kicks off on Columbus Day weekend, October 7-9, with Jazz About Town, the annual “jazz crawl” featuring local musicians in restaurants and lounges throughout Pittsfield’s Upstreet Cultural District. For details, scroll to bottom.
A monthlong exhibit of the works of award-winning photojournalist Ken Franckling opens with the First Friday Artswalk on October 7. The exhibit of more than twenty of Franckling’s photos will hang at the Whitney Center for the Arts, 42 Wendell Ave. Franckling will be present at the First Friday Artswalk reception on Oct. 7 (5-8pm), signing his book, “Jazz in the Key of Light.”
After Jazz About Town, festivities continue with the Jazz Prodigy concert on Thursday, October 13. The young alto saxophonist Nathan Farrell will appear with an all-star trio of Berkshires jazz musicians. The concert takes place at the Berkshire Athenaeum (7pm), and is sponsored by the Friends of the Athenaeum.
Headline concerts take place on Oct. 14-15, and the festival concludes with a jazz brunch at Dottie’s Coffee Lounge on Sunday, Oct. 16.
ABOUT THE HEADLINERS
Kicking off “headline weekend,” saxophonist Scott Robinson will perform at Flavours Restaurant on Oct. 14, starting at 8pm. Robinson graduated from the Berklee College of Music in 1981; the next year, he joined the college’s staff, becoming its youngest faculty member. He has appeared on more than 200 LP and CD releases, including eleven under his leadership. Robinson’s quartet makes its Berkshires debut at the popular nightspot (entrance on McKay Street, across the street from the parking lot and garage). Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door.
The remarkable vocalist and pianist Karrin Allyson performs with her trio at The Colonial Theatre on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 7:30pm ($20/35). Allyson has been nominated for five Grammy Awards, and has received positive reviews from several prominent sources, including the New York Times, which has called her a “singer with a feline touch and impeccable intonation.” After her set, the Jazz Ambassadors — America’s big band — take the stage, and Allyson – a frequent musical guest on Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion” – will return for some numbers with the big band.
In addition to the headline performers, the Oct. 15 concert will be opened by the Berkshires Jazz Youth Ensemble, which is in residence at Herberg Middle School. Under the direction of Chris Nelson-Unczur, the ensemble mainly comprises the student musicians in the Herberg Middle School Jazz Ensemble, augmented by graduates and visiting students. Details, and tickets for the Oct. 14 and 15 headline concerts, are available at www.BerkshireTheatreGroup.org.
Annual Jazz Crawl
Oct. 7-9, 2016
Friday, Oct. 7
Whitney Center for the Arts, 42 Wendell Ave.
Ken Franckling’s “Jazz in the Key of Light”
Reception and book signing, 5-8pm
First Friday Artswalk “after party”
Jazz from 8-10pm
Patrick’s Pub, 26 Bank Row
Andy Kelly Gypsy Jazz, 7pm
Panchos, 156 North Street
Dave Bartley, piano/vocal, 6:30-8:30pm
Rainbow Restaurant, 109 First St.
Blue Light Trio, 7:30pm
Saturday, Oct. 8
Panchos, 156 North St.
John Kozinski, guitar, 6:30-8:30pm
- Allen’s Clubhouse Grille, 41 North St.
Rich VInette Quintet, 7-10pm
Mission Bar and Tapas, 438 North Street
Natalia Bernal and Jason Ennis, Latin Jazz Duo, 8-10pm
Rainbow Restaurant, 109 First Street
Warren Sieme, 7:30pm
The Lantern Bar and Grill, 455 North Street
Gruppo Mundo, 9pm-close
Sunday, Oct. 9
MaryAnn Palermo and Steve Elling
Rainbow Restaurant, 109 First Street
Berkshires Jazz, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization whose twofold mission is to present jazz events and promote jazz education in Berkshire County, in western Massachusetts.