On May 10, 7:30 p.m., RiverJazz presented by Concannon Miller kicks off with a performance by Walter Trout & the Radicals. A native of New Jersey, Trout played in local bands after getting his own guitar, but truly became steeped in the blues after moving to Los Angeles in 1973. There he supported legends like John Lee Hooker, Big Mama Thornton, Finis Tasby, Pee Wee Crayton, Lowell Fulsom, Percy Mayfield and Joe Tex. In 1981 Trout joined '60s blues-rock group Canned Heat, but the real turning point in his career was his five-year tenure beginning in 1984 with British blues giant John Mayall's Bluesbreakers. Trout's first solo recording was the 1989 European release, Life in the Jungle, and in 1998, he released his first U.S. album, the critically heralded Walter Trout, which immediately established him as a staple of the American blues scene as well. Trout's most recent CD is 2010's Common Ground.
On May 12, 7:30 p.m., it's an evening of New Orleans style jazz when the world-famous Preservation Hall Jazz Band (PHJB) drops by the Musikfest Café. A touring act since 1963, PHJB derives its name from Preservation Hall, the venerable music venue in the heart of New Orleans' French Quarter that was founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra Jaffe. This dynamic band has traveled worldwide spreading its mission to nurture and perpetuate the art form of New Orleans jazz. Whether performing at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center, for British Royalty or the King of Thailand, its music embodies a joyful, timeless spirit.
On May 23 at 7:30 p.m., RiverJazz presented by Concannon Miller welcomes 14-time Grammy Award winner Béla Fleck and The Marcus Roberts Trio. As the world's preeminent banjo player, Fleck has garnered a reputation for genre-bending for his collaborations with a tabla player, an African thumb pianist and a traditional bluegrass band. The Marcus Roberts Trio, led by Roberts on piano, Jason Marsalis on drums and Rodney Jordan on bass, are keen torch-holders of the classic jazz tradition. The mix of these four Roberts, Fleck, Jordan, Marsaliscreates a new way forward in jazz, deeply rooted in the form, while pulling from the extensive backgrounds and music journeys of all the members, creating stellar performances that are exuberant, fresh, soaring, bold and, of course, eclectic.
Wrapping up the 2012 RiverJazz presented by Concannon Miller May 25, 7:30 p.m., is the Kevin Eubanks Band. A native of Philadelphia, Kevin Eubanks is perhaps best known for leading the Tonight Show Band on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Eubanks studied music at Berklee College of Music in Boston and has played with icons such as McCoy Tyner, Art Blakey, Roy Haynes, Dave Holland and Ron Carter. He released his first album, Guitarist, in 1983, and his 1992 recording, Turning Point, hit No. 8 on the Billboard Top Jazz Albums charts. Members of Eubanks' band include drummer Marvin Smitty" Smith, who was also in the Tonight Show Band; saxophonist Bill Pierce, who holds the Woodwind Chair at Berklee College of Music; keyboardist Gerry Etkins; and bassist Rene Camacho.
Concannon Miller has partnered with ArtsQuest since the very beginning in 1983. Last year we were excited to support the organization as the Title Sponsor of RiverJazz," said Bob Oster, Chief Executive Officer of Concannon Miller. The entire experience was exceptionalthe food, the music, the venuethe whole atmosphere. Clients raved and we couldn't have been more pleased. It is a great intersection with our brand and the community so we are thrilled to be the Title Sponsor of RiverJazz again."
Other highlights of the 2012 RiverJazz presented by Concannon Miller include a May 13 Mother's Day matinee and brunch in the Musikfest Café featuring the Lynnie Godfrey Big Band; painting demonstrations by artist Chris Carter, who specializes in abstract and figurative representations of musicians; and free concerts by local and regional jazz acts on the TD Bank Community Stage on the Air Products Town Square at SteelStacks. The Mother's Day brunch begins at 11:30 a.m., with the Lynnie Godfrey Big Band performance at 1:30 p.m. For more information on the brunch, visit www.artsquest.org or call 610-332-3378. The TD Bank Community Stage lineup will be announced at a later date.
RIVERJAZZ PRESENTED BY CONCANNON MILLER TICKETS:
Walter Trout & the Radicals
Tickets: $22 Cabaret/$32 Balcony
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Tickets: $39 Cabaret/$49 Balcony
Béla Fleck and The Marcus Roberts Trio
Tickets: $49 Theater/$59 Balcony
Kevin Eubanks Band
Tickets: $42 Cabaret/$49 Balcony
Media sponsors for RiverJazz 2012 are The Express-Times, The Reading Eagle, WRTI, WDIY and 69-WFMZ-TV. For more information on the event.