Berkshires Jazz, Inc. presents five of the most popular regional bands in the first annual Berkshire Jazz Showcase, on the Pittsfield Common, August 25 from 1-6pm. The wide-ranging lineup for the jazz extravaganza will include: Gruppo Mondo; Andy Kelly
Gypsy Jazz; the Benny Kohn
Quartet; the Jason Ennis
Quintet with vocalist Natalia Bernal
; and The The Lucky 5
Berkshire County enjoys a long-standing reputation as a hot-bed of jazz talent, going back nearly 75 years to Music Inn, and now enjoying renewed popularity throughout the region. On any particular weekend, and some weekdays, audiences can find dozens of locally-based world-class musicians in clubs and lounges, but rarely on a main stage. Berkshires Jazz is out to change that last part, with the City of Pittsfield
’s outdoor stage as the platform.
“The performing arts represent the heart and soul of the Berkshires. And yet, despite signature jazz festivals that feature headline talent during the shoulder seasons, there is no main-stage jazz event during the high tourist season,” said Edward Bride, founder and president of Berkshires Jazz, Inc. “Compounding that absence is the fact that there has been no event that celebrate and showcases the rich variety of local talent who call the Berkshires home. That is, until now.”
Thanks to recent movies such as La La Land
, jazz is being discussed and heard more broadly than ever. Accentuating the local nature of the music, both of these movies are human-interest stories that focus on the local scene. Berkshires Jazz feels that this is the right time to call attention to the area's own musical riches.
“Many of these artists could easily establish careers in jazz havens like New York, Chicago
, New Orleans
or San Francisco
, but they live in the Berkshires because this is where they want to be. It’s all about our quality of life, and the appreciation of their art” said Bride. “Visitors and locals alike will be amazed at the talent that calls the Berkshires home.”
As a county-wide organization whose mission includes promoting the local jazz scene, Berkshires Jazz addresses the longstanding void by showcasing a panoply of the highest-quality regional jazz artists in a one-day outdoors festival. Thanks to several sponsorships, the event is free to the public, all ages welcome,
Lead sponsor for The Berkshire Jazz Showcase is The Berkshire Eagle, with additional support from Mountain One Financial Group, The Pittsfield Cultural Council, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and the City of Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development.
The Berkshire Jazz Showcase will also include food vendors, as well as a beer and wine garden. Consumables will be available from Assembly Coffee Roasters; Balderdash Cellars; Ernie’s Hot Dog Cart; Lucia’s Latin Kitchen; and Wandering Star Craft Brewery, among others.
The event will be held on the field adjacent to the First Street Common’s playground and splash park". Audiences are advised to bring blankets or chairs. The Pittsfield Farmer’s Market will be in full swing until 1pm.
About Berkshires Jazz
A non-profit organization, Berkshires Jazz, Inc. was formed in 2009 by the committee that had established the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival. Its mission is to preserve Jazz, America’s indigenous art form and nurture its growth by presenting high quality jazz programs, fostering jazz education, and promoting the local jazz scene. In addition to programming the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival in mid-October and the Berkshire Gateway Jazz Weekend in mid-June, the organizations sponsors several single-day events throughout the year, as well as conducting jazz education activities throughout the county.