The 24th annual Berks Jazz Fest, which takes place on 28 March – 6 April in Reading (Pennsylvania), is going to be the largest in the history of the festival. The event is growing in popularity and has attracted over 50,000 people from all over the US, Europe and the Caribbean. The sensational schedule for this year’s edition features Grammy Award winners Gregory Porter and Lalah Hathaway, daughter of the legendary Donny Hathaway, smooth jazz saxophonist Boney James, guitarists Kevin Eubanks and Chuck Loeb, Dutch sax star Candy Dulfer and Keiko Matsui.
It’s official: next, Reading (Pennsylvania) is going to be invaded…by the popular Berks Jazz Fest! The event is back to celebrate its 24th anniversary with a stellar lineup filled with jazz, blues and R&B acts. No jazz happening is more suited to kick off the spring jazz festivals season than the Berks Jazz Fest!
A bunch of exciting music acts
From 28 March until 6 April, Reading will welcome a stellar lineup of prominent names, as well as up and coming artists.
On opening night, Project 222, duo comprised of iconic jazz fusion guitarist Dean Brown and bassist Schuyler Deale will be joined by a band of special guests: saxophonist Paula Atherton, Gerry Etkins on the keyboard, drummer Rocky Bryant and the local rhythm section Berks Horns – Mike Anderson, Rob Diener and John Loos. Smooth jazz saxophonist Boney James will bring his explosive riffs on the Berks Jazz Fest 2014 Opening Night Concert (at 7 pm). James, a four-time Grammy Award nominee, Soul Train Award winner and No.3 Billboard Contemporary Jazz Artist of the Decade is the perfect performer for the first night of the festival.
The opening night at Berks Jazz Fest 2014 will also feature jazz fusion guitarist Kevin Eubanks – known as leader of the The Tonight Show band for 10 years – and a special event: the 30th anniversary concert of Chieli Minucci & Special EFX. The jazz band, led by “fire-breathing dragon on guitar” Chieli Minucci, will be joined on stage by special guests Steve Oliver and Vincent Ingala.
JJA Award and Grammy Award winner Gregory Porter, who recently won the Grammy with his album Liquid Spirit will perform on Saturday 29 March, while funk bassist Gerald Veasley will bring his groovy Midnight Jams at Berks Jazz Fest on 28 & 29 March and 4 & 5 April.
It’s going to be a busy Berks Jazz Fest for critically-acclaimed guitarist and producer Chuck Loeb. In fact, Loeb will appear at the festival in three separate occasions. The first, on 29 March with his music Friends Phil Perry, Everette Harp, Bobby Lyle and Andy Snitzer. Chuck Loeb will then have “back-to-back” performances with two shows in two days. On 2 April he will headline Berks Bop V, show that features Jeff Lorber, Brian Bromberg, Randy Brecker, Till Brönner, Gerald Albright and Eric Marienthal. On 3 April, Loeb will join a spectacular ensemble for the Berks All-Star Jazz Jam.
Talented women of jazz
The Berks Jazz Fest 2014 will feature a talented lineup of female jazz artists. On 30 March, sax player Jessy J will join Élan Trotman as musical guest of the Sunday Jazz Brunch, while pianist Keiko Matsui will perform as member of the Berks All-Star Jazz Jam and in Jazzin’ Up the Pops (5 April) alongside the Reading Pops Orchestra. The charismatic Mindi Abair will appear as member of the rhythm section that will back vocalist Peabo Bryson on 5 April.
The high-energy vibe of Dutch saxophonist Candy Dulfer will invade Reading on 5 April. Singer Alexis P. Suter, on the other hand, will bring her incredible voice and spiritual lyrics to the Sunday Gospel Blues Brunch on the final day of the festival.
On 4 April, it will be time for Lalah Hathaway. The “First Daughter of Soul” is the daughter of the late iconic soul singer Donny Hathaway. Following her father’s footsteps, Lalah went on to become a great R&B, soul and jazz singer. At the latest Grammy Awards, she was awarded the prize for “Best R&B Performance” along with Snarky Puppy for Something.
Party, party, party!
The ten days of celebration at the Berks Jazz Fest 2014 will also feature Brian Culbertson‘s Long Night Out 20th Anniversary Tour, the groove of BWB – Ric Braun, Norman Brown and Kirk Whalum, tributes to Steve Ray Vaughan, Steely Dan and the Allman Brothers and Dorough at 90!, a swinging performance by the charismatic 90-years old pianist Bob Dorough and his Bob Dorough Quartet.
The 24th edition of the annual Berks Jazz Fest will end with Gospel According to Jazz (6 April, 7 pm). Kirk Whalum, Oleta Adams, Rick Braun, Gerald Veasley, Kevin Whalum and John Stoddart will be joined by Reading’s own DOXA Gospel Ensemble for a show that will stay with you long after the last not is sung.
More information on Berks Jazz Fest and the programme can be found here
Here below there is a showcase that gives you a preview of what Berks Jazz Fest will sound like. Listen to it and, most importantly, ENJOY!
Berks Jazz Fest
28 March – 6 April
Reading, Pennsylvania, United States