Meet the Festival Artists

 


Preview Concert / Jazz Under the Stars
Brian Hughes
Thursday, April 4, 7:30 p.m.
Reading Public Museum
The Neag Planetarium
Tickets: $25    ORDER TICKETS
    What a great artist, venue and "atmosphere" to get the Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest started.
    This special preview concert is a partnership between the Reading Public Museum, Brentwood Industries, and the Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest.
    California-based Brian Hughes has carved out an impressive career in the contemporary jazz arena.
    Hughes first two albums, Between Dusk and Dreaming and Under One Sky, established him as one of the foremost guitarists and composers in the genre, blending his fluid and emotive guitar style into an exciting, melodic mix of Latin, jazz and world music compositions.
    After being picked as a winner in JAZZIZ magazine's "Guitars On Fire" competition, his subsequent recordings received critical acclaim and major radio air play from coast to coast.
    Hughes' newest release is titled Fast Train To A Quiet Place.
    Brian has performed at jazz festivals around the world, including the Providencia Jazz Festival (Santiago, Chile), the Montreal International Jazz Festival, The Edinburgh International Jazz Festival, the Vancouver International Jazz Festival and the Catalina Island Jazz Festival.
    Hughes is well known for his 24-year parallel career recording and touring with renowned vocalist Loreena McKennitt. He has toured the world several times with Loreena, appeared on the "Late Show with David Letterman" and received a Juno (Canadian Grammy) nomination as "Producer of the Year" for his work on her platinum selling album The Visit.
   
Call the Reading Public Museum at 610-371-5850 (Ext. 264) for ticket reservations.
 



Preview Concert / KU Presents!
Babatunde Lea
Thursday, April 4, 7:30 p.m.
Kutztown University
Ursa Minor's Cafe
Tickets: $25    ORDER TICKETS
    Babatunde Lea’s experience as a master percussionist has spanned 50 years during which he has worked with Van Morrison, McCoy Tyner and many more.
    Inspired by African drum and world music, Lea is known for his versatility and his spirited drumming.
    This special preview concert is a partnership between the KU Presents! series and the Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest.
    "Not since (Charles) Mingus and (Art) Blakely has music bristled with a sense of message like this,” wrote Downbeat magazine about Lea, whose recordings are innovative and deeply in touch with spiritual essences.
    Lea's creation, the “traponga,” allows him to play the trap and conga drums simultaneously.
    The way that music connects with audiences and with the rhythms of our everyday lives is essential to Lea's musical philosophy.
    "I draw a lot from African culture, and one of the main things I've come to understand is that music is functional," said Lea. "In African culture, music accompanies everything -- from birth ceremonies to funerals."
    For complete info on this concert, call the KU Presents! Box Office at 610-683-4092.
   


 

John Scofield's Hollowbody Band
featuring Mike Stern, Bill Stewart and Ben Street
Friday, April 5, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base
Crowne Plaza Reading
Tickets: $38    ORDER TICKETS
    John Scofield's guitar work has influenced jazz since the late 1970s -- and that influence is still going strong today.
    Possessor of a very distinctive sound and stylistic diversity, Scofield, better know as "Sco" to his legion of fans, is a masterful jazz improviser whose music generally falls somewhere between post-bop, funk edged jazz, and R&B.
    Some artists love to form a new group just for fun, as was the case with the Hollowbody Band project Scofield is bring to the fest.
    Scofield will be joined by guitarist Mike Stern, bassist Ben Street and drummer Bill Stewart, who fit seamlessly into Scofield's musical adventures.
    Improvisation is the keyword, but the group also plays arrangements that allow complete freedom for the orchestral possibilities of the guitar.
    Touring the world approximately 200 days per year with his own groups, Sco also is an Adjunct Professor of Music at New York University.
 



Keiko Matsui
Friday, April 5, 7:30 p.m.
Miller Center for the Arts
Tickets: $39    ORDER TICKETS
    Japanese-born pianist, composer and producer Keiko Matsui is a citizen of the world -- and a Berks Jazz Fest favorite.
    Matsui tours relentlessly and has brought her music to virtually every corner of the globe. Her unique melting pot of musical influences have garnered her a devout international following.
    With millions of CDs sold and scores of sold-out concerts, Keiko Matsui is one of the brightest stars in instrumental music.
    Her free spirit and creative genius have afforded her the luxury to share the stage with everyone from Stevie Wonder and Miles Davis to Hugh Masakela and Bob James.
    Her latest Shanachie Entertainment release, The Road ..., is Matsui's long-awaited, self-produced album. The Road… is a riveting collection of timeless, passionate, cathartic, emotional and exotic melodies, lush harmonies and global rhythms.
    On the album, she borrows from such diverse idioms as jazz, classical, rock, blues, world music, traditional music of the world and beyond.
 


 

RSO 100th Anniversary Celebration
Dianne Reeves
and the Reading Symphony Orchestra
Friday, April 5, 7:30 p.m.
Sovereign Performing Arts Center
Tickets: $68, $56 & $49    ORDER TICKETS
    For this special opening-night concert, iconic jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves joins the Reading Symphony Orchestra as part of the RSO's 100th anniversary celebration.
    Known for her live performances as much as her albums, Reeves is the pre-eminent jazz vocalist in the world today.
    Reeves is a four-time Grammy winner -- the only singer to win the vocal category for three consecutive recordings in any singing category. Her versatility in song interpretation is unrivaled, a talent which is richly on display in each and every song.
    When You Know, Reeves' most recent release, is a collection of love songs whose perspective on love ranges from youthful innocence to enlightened maturity.
    Reeves appeared in George Clooney’s “Good Night, and Good Luck,” the Academy Award nominated film that chronicles Edward R. Murrow’s confrontation with Senator Joseph McCarthy. The soundtrack recording of “Good Night, and Good Luck” provided Reeves her fourth Best Jazz Vocal Grammy in 2006.
    Reeves has recorded and performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra; the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim; and was a featured soloist with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic.
   Reeves was the first Creative Chair for Jazz for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the first singer to ever perform at the famed Walt Disney Concert Hall.
   



Jenifer KinderThe Music of Amy Winehouse
Jenifer Kinder & The Amy Flies in Paradise Band
Friday, April 5, 9 p.m.
Abraham Lincoln Hotel Ballroom
Tickets: $18    ORDER TICKETS
    Fans of Amy Winehouse will have the opportunity to attend an incredible tribute show dedicated to the late award-winning singer.
    Jenifer Kinder and the Amy Flies In Paradise Band are the only Amy Winehouse tribute band in the U.S.
    Kinder, who co-front's Berks County-based Uptown Band, has been perfecting and performing Amy's songs for the past six years. In September 2012, she wowed a packed house at the Crowne Plaza with an acoustic tribute to the 27-year-old songstress, best known for her hits "Rehab," "Tears Dry On Their Own," and "Back To Black."
    This time, Jenifer is backed by a seven-piece band, including a horn section, and will be performing over 30 songs from Winehouse's "Frank," "Back To Black," and "Lioness: Hidden Treasures" albums as well as unreleased tracks and jazz standards.
    This is the Amy Flies In Paradise Band's debut Berks Jazz Fest appearance and it won't disappoint. Jenifer Kinder belts out Winehouse tunes effortlessly, with the same vocal inflections and ability that we all know and love Amy for.
    This is a must-see, highly acclaimed tribute concert for fans of Amy Winehouse and lovers of jazz music alike.

 


 

Najee with special guest Alex Bugnon
Friday, April 5, 10 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Hotel Ballroom
Tickets: $40    ORDER TICKETS
    Najee is a master storyteller.
    Whether the debonair multi-instrumentalist is engaged in a verbal or musical conversation, his alluring charisma has a way of seducing you into his world.
    A quadruple threat who is equally adept on soprano, tenor and alto saxophones and flute, Najee’s technical agility, grace, compositional prowess, unbridled passion, fearless genre bending and superior musicianship have made him one of the most sought after musicians of his generation.
    In a business where trends and artists come and go, Najee’s name is synonymous with innovation, consistency and the best in contemporary jazz. With two
platinum and four gold albums under his belt, he is an icon whose musical vision spawned an entire new genre by fusing the music close to his heart -- R&B and jazz. Three decades later he is showing that he is not done yet!
    In early 2012, Shanachie Entertainment released Najee’s highly anticipated label debut, The Smooth Side Of Soul, an offering from the peerless instrumentalist and composer, and a testament as to
why he has long reigned as the king of contemporary jazz.
    “I have always tried to maintain consistency when it comes to music I’ve recorded throughout the years,” confides Najee. “As an artist I have been fortunate to attract an audience very early in my career that has followed and grown with me. My challenge has always been to record music that I enjoy playing while at the same time meeting the requirements that I believe my audience would like to hear.”
    For the last two decades, keyboardist Alex Bugnon has been a romantic yet energetic force on the contemporary jazz scene.
    A recipient of three Soul Train Music Awards, he worked as a session musician in New York, backing urban and jazz performers such as Patti Austin, Freddie Jackson, James Ingram and Keith Sweat, before embarking on a solo career.
   His latest release, Going Home, features a traditional jazz sextet format of piano, bass, drums and three horns.
 



Gerald Veasley's Midnight Jam
Friday, April 5; Saturday, April 6;
Friday, April 12; Saturday, April 13
Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base
Crowne Plaza Reading Hotel
Tickets: $20    ORDER TICKETS
    If you have not experienced a Gerald Veasley Midnight Jam during the Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest, you need to make sure you get tickets to one of the four late-night jam parties scheduled during this year's fest.
    The Midnight Jam is when Gerald and his many musical friends get loose and downright funky -- and collaborate for some unforgettable musical moments.
    The intimate setting of the Jazz Base club at the Crowne Plaza is the perfect place for these late-night musical gatherings.
    If you are planning to attend one of the jams, be sure to get your tickets early.
    There are four jams -- one each weekend night of the fest -- but tickets are limited and going fast.
 


 

Gerald Veasley's Sounds of Philly
featuring Phil Perry, Nick Colionne,
Carol Riddick and special guest
Kindred The Family Soul
Saturday, April 6, 2 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Reading Ballroom
Tickets: $40    ORDER TICKETS
    Bassist Gerald Veasley is a hometown favorite at the Berks fest, and he always has a great show up his sleeve.
    This year, he is bringing back his Sounds of Philly celebration, and has invited a few close friends along for the fun.
    Veasley and friends share their love of the Philadelphia soul music scene with this rousing tribute.
    Born and raised in East St. Louis, vocalist Phil Perry has spent most of his career as one of the most sought-after backing vocalists in the music business.
His bright, multi-octave range has played a supporting role on dozens of albums by such acts as Anita Baker, Boz Scaggs, Rod Stewart, Peabo Bryson and George Duke.
    But he also has distinguished himself through a series of strong solo albums that have highlighted both his ability to interpret classic soul songs as well as his own songwriting skills.
    With a jazz style that is both urban and contemporary, Nick Colionne has blazed a trail to the top of the ranks of today's stars. Combining jazz, R&B, blues and funk, he has an unmistakable sound and vibe that is instantly recognizable. Colionne will be adding his unflagging energy to this tribute to Philly soul.
    Born and raised in South Philadelphia, sultry singer/songwriter Carol Riddick has graced stages in her hometown and across the globe. Mesmerizing audiences with her genuine warmth, vocal dexterity, Riddick is the perfect addition to this show's roster.
    Kindred the Family Soul is an American R&B, soul, and neo soul duo consisting of the married couple of Fatin Dantzler and Aja Graydon.
    Kindred emerged from the Philadelphia neo soul movement that also includes Jill Scott, who discovered them while the couple was performing at the Black Lily Film & Music Festival.
 


 

Brian Bromberg Band
featuring Berks Horns
Saturday, April 6, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base
Crowne Plaza Hotel
Tickets: $36    ORDER TICKETS
    Brian Bromberg is a bass virtuoso, with a love of both electric and upright bass, and talent to match.
    A recent back injury has slowed Bromberg for a few months, but he will be ready for his 13th year at Berks Jazz Fest, and is ready to wow his fans.
   
From acoustic bass to electric bass, Piccolo bass to synthesizer bass, Bromberg brings the art of bass playing to a new level where the bass moves beyond simply being a rhythm instrument and brings it up front to be the lead voice.
    Last year, an ambitious Bromberg released three CD projects.

   
Compared to That, is his jazziest album since the Grammy-nominated Downright Upright. It flat out swings.
   
With the other two projects, Bromberg embraced the repertoire of two icons -- Jimi Hendrix (Bromberg Plays Hendrix) and Antonio Carlos Jobim (In the Spirit of Jobim).
    The interpretations are heartfelt, inspired and immense in musicality. As far as the Jobim set of standards and originals, the spiritual well of Jobim was tapped with grace, aplomb and fire.
   
In addition to Bromberg's success as a solo artist, he has developed quite a reputation as a producer. He has produced at least a dozen top-10 hits, plus No. 1 hits for several artists.
    Bromberg has evolved into a very respected voice in music industry. From smashing through the barriers of how the bass is supposed to be played, cutting edge bass design, to being recognized as a world-class producer, songwriter, and session musician. He keeps pushing the envelope to become the best that he can be and to keep pushing the boundaries.
    Since 2002, the Berks Horns -- Mike Anderson on sax, Rob Diener on trumpet and John Loos on trombone -- have been adding another dimension to many of the acts at Berks Jazz Fest, including Gerald Veasley, Chuck Loeb Chieli Minucci & Special EFX, LA Chillharmonic, Soul Summit II, Rick Braun, Gerald Albright, Brian Bromberg, Jeff Golub, Jeff Kashiwa and Clarence Spady.
 



Incognito featuring Maysa
Saturday, April 6, 7 p.m.
Sovereign Performing Arts Center
Tickets: $49    ORDER TICKETS
    Incognito is recognized as one of the best funk/jazz/soul outfits in the world, a pioneer of the acid jazz movement who has delighted listeners and dancers for decades.
    Last year, Incognito was a major hit at the festival.
    The band is a 15-piece ensemble formed in 1980 by Jean Paul 'Bluey' Maunick who has been at the core of the band ever since.
    Over the years he has been joined by a host of UK and US artists including Carleen Anderson, Tony Momrelle and Gavin Harrison.
    Their debut album, Jazz Funk, was released in 1981, with 14 more albums following, the last of which, Surreal, was released in 2012.
    Surreal is Incognito's look into the future, featuring two of the brightest young stars on the British Soul scene, Mo Brandis, who is being hailed as England's John Legend, and soul diva Natalie Williams.
    Longtime Incognito lead singer, the incomparable Maysa, also is featured on this latest offering.
    Maysa has been thrilling R&B and Jazz audiences for decades. She released her latest solo offering, Motions of Love, in 2011. This album represents the pinnacle of Maysa brilliant recording career.
    It’s a 14-track R&B album colored with funk, jazz, disco and a little New Orleans gumbo.
    Maysa has collaborated with well-known jazz performers like Gerald Veasley, Rick Braun, Will Downing, Jason Miles' Soul Summit, Rhythm Logic, Jonathan Butler and Pieces of a Dream.
 


 

Kurt Elling
plus the Kutztown University Jazz Ensemble I
Saturday, April 6, 7:30 p.m.
Miller Center for the Arts
Tickets: $39    ORDER TICKETS
    Grammy winner Kurt Elling is among the world's foremost jazz vocalists.
    Elling has won every DownBeat Critics Poll for the last 12 years and has been named "Male Singer of the Year" by the Jazz Journalists Association eight times in that same span.
    Every one of Elling's nine albums has been nominated for at least one Grammy.
    In recent months, Elling has been presented several international Grammy equivalents, including Germany's ECHO Award, The Edison Prize from the Netherlands, and the Scottish Jazz Award (International) and was named Ambassador Jazzu to the City of Katowice, Poland.
    Elling's rich baritone spans four octaves and features both astonishing technical mastery and emotional depth. His command of rhythm, texture, phrasing, and dynamics is more like a virtuoso jazz instrumentalist than a vocalist.
    The New York Times declared: "Elling is the standout male vocalist of our time."
    The Washington Post said: "Since the mid-1990s, no singer in jazz has been as daring, dynamic or interesting as Kurt Elling. With his soaring vocal flights, his edgy lyrics and sense of being on a musical mission, he has come to embody the creative spirit in jazz."
    He has been featured in profiles for CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, on Ramsey Lewis' Legends of Jazz, and in hundreds of publications.
    With his new album -- 1619 Broadway: The Brill Building Project -- Elling celebrates a legendary legacy from outside the jazz world. The CD project honors a locale that the London Telegraph called "the most important generator of popular songs in the Western world."
    The Kutztown University Jazz Ensemble I, under the direction of Dr. Kevin Kjos, will open the concert and feature several of Elling's big band arrangements.
 



Eric Clapton Retrospective
featuring Craig Thatcher Band
Saturday, April 6, 9 p.m.
Abraham Lincoln Hotel Ballroom
Tickets: $22    ORDER TICKETS
    The Craig Thatcher Band will be performing "An Eric Clapton Retrospective," a show that traces the career of Eric Clapton, beginning with the Yardbirds and continuing with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek & the Dominos and the various solo periods, up to and including today.
    Based in the Lehigh Valley, the Craig Thatcher Band has been entertaining audiences with their exciting brand of blues/rock music since 1993.
    The band has released two CDs – Because of You (1996) and Temptation (2000). Most of the recorded material is original, written by Craig.
    This is a must-see-live performing band; their on-stage energy and confidence is explosive!
 



Kim Waters
featuring special guests Chante Moore and Phil Perry
Saturday, April 6, 10 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Reading Ballroom
Tickets: $40    ORDER TICKETS
    Kim Waters and Chante Moore recently were added to the lineup for the Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest.
    The "Kim Waters featuring special guest Chante Moore" concert replaced Will Downing, who had to cancel his performance due to an unexpected conflict with his schedule.
    Kim Waters is no stranger to Berks Jazz Fest fans, having performed several times with his own band and as a member of The Sax Pack.
    Kim Waters has been heralded as “simply one of the planet’s best saxophonists” by JazzTimes and touted as a “romantic pied piper” by The Washington Post. Waters has built an impressive and enviable career giving his fans what they want, along the way garnering praise from critics and fans.
    Since the release of her 1992 debut CD -- Precious -- Chante Moore has been a mainstay R&B diva, her popularity spreading around the world. She has outlasted lesser female artists with her own mix of soul and jazz, and has the ability to set your heart racing with her looks and lyrics.
Moore continues to enjoy success, winning Soul Train Music, American Music and NAACP Image awards.
    Although her style has changed over the years as she explored different artistic styles, Chante is known best for her classy, soulful R&B style that harkens back to the music that she refers to in her hit Old School Lovin' -- the sounds of Motown and Philly sounds.
Phil Perry's bright, multi-octave range has played a supporting role on dozens of albums by such acts as Anita Baker, Boz Scaggs, Rod Stewart, Peabo Bryson and George Duke.
Perry and Moore will debut their new duet of the classic "Where Is The Love," which will be on Perry's new CD Say Yes, to be released by Shanachie Records on March 12.


 

Sunday Jazz Brunch
Élan Trotman & Friends
Sunday, April 7, 10 a.m. buffet/11 a.m. show
Abraham Lincoln Hotel Ballroom
Tickets: $39    ORDER TICKETS
    Saxophonist Élan Trotman, quickly becoming one of jazz’s dynamic performers, continues to stand out and push boundaries as a composer, performer, teacher and recording artist.
    For the Sunday Jazz Brunch, Trotman will be joined by his band and a few special guests.
    Trotman’s playing, though inspired by Grover Washington, Jr. and Kirk Whalum, among others, displays his own fresh ideas and distinctive tone. So much so that the New England Urban Music Awards named him best male jazz performer. He also has been nominated for Boston Music Awards in the jazz category.
    Born and raised in Barbados and educated at the world-renowned Berklee College Of Music in Boston, Trotman approaches jazz in his own way. Blending Caribbean rhythms from his roots with skillful horn textures, his playing is full of surprises.
    For his upcoming CD project, set for a mid-February release -- Tropicality -- Élan proudly showcases his Caribbean heritage.
   Trotman said: "We 'islanders' are happy people by nature, and that quality has always been evident by the way our music grooves. It’s a story of my journey from Bridgetown to Beantown, and features rhythms and grooves from not just Barbados, but surrounding Caribbean Islands, Cape Verde, and Latin America.
 


 

Lee Ritenour
with special guest Michael Lington
plus opening act Joey Sommerville
Sunday, April 7, 2 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Reading Ballroom
Tickets: $40    ORDER TICKETS
    In a career that spans five decades and more than 40 albums, Lee Ritenour has become a true guitar legend.
    From one of his first sessions at 16 with the Mamas and Papas to accompanying Lena Horne and Tony
Bennett at 18, his storied career is highlighted by a Grammy Award win for his 1986 collaboration with Dave Grusin -- Harlequin; 17 Grammy nominations; numerous No. 1 spots in guitar polls and the prestigious “Alumnus of the Year” award from USC.
    Ritenour is touring celebrating
the release of his latest CD project -- Rhythm Sessions.
   
In the 1990s, Ritenour was a founding member of Fourplay, the most successful band in contemporary jazz, with keyboardist Bob James, bassist Nathan East and drummer Harvey Mason.
    Saxophonist Michael Lington is an emerging force in contemporary jazz.
    Lington's latest CD -- Pure -- was released in 2012 to strong reviews. He continues to win over audiences with his high energy and serenading of audience members.
    Trumpeter Joey Sommerville’s musical essence lies in the Baptist church. When he was a teenager, he would judge the caliber of his playing by the number of people in the congregation who 'got happy.'
    Sommerville has performed and recorded with a wide range of artists, including mega-rock group Phish. He was the featured instrumental soloist on the Cirque de Soleil's Grammy-nominated and Juno Award winning album -- Alegria.

    His latest offering -- The Get Down Club -- is forward-thinking contemporary jazz, featuring funk, gospel and bop influences delivered with pop sensibilities.
 


 

Fourplay featuring Bob James, Nathan East,
Harvey Mason, Chuck Loeb
with special guest Lalah Hathaway
Sunday, April 7, 7 p.m.
Sovereign Performing Arts Center
Tickets: $49    ORDER TICKETS
    For two decades, the contemporary jazz quartet Fourplay has enjoyed consistent artistic and commercial success by grafting elements of R&B, pop and a variety of other sounds to their unwavering jazz foundations.
  
The band is always exploring new musical ideas.
   For this Berks Jazz Fest performance, Bob James, Nathan East, Harvey Mason and Chuck Loeb have invited vocalist Lalah Hathaway to be a special guest.
   In the course of a dozen recordings – six of which have climbed to the top of Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Album charts -- the group has continued to explore the limitless dimensions and permutations of jazz, while at the same time appealing to a broad mainstream audience.
    Fourplay recently released Esprit de Four on the Heads Up label. For this project, the band mates have tapped into the creative force that emerges when four brilliant players commit themselves to a singular goal. That symmetry and creativity are at the heart of Esprit De Four.
    Her name is legendary. Her music is timeless. Her lyrics touch you at the core. Her voice possesses rich warmth that soothes your ears and holds you close.
    She is Lalah Hathaway.
    Born to R&B/Soul music royalty, most people know her simply as the daughter of late soul music legend, Donny Hathaway. But there is more to her than that. A trained pianist and vocalist, she is a graduate of the Berklee School of Music and her career has spanned two decades and it continues to thrive.
 



Arturo Sandoval
Sunday, April 7, 7:30 p.m.
Miller Center for the Arts
Tickets: $45    ORDER TICKETS
    A protégé of the legendary jazz master Dizzy Gillespie, Sandoval was born in Artemisa, a small town in the outskirts of Havana, Cuba, in 1949, just two years after Gillespie became the first musician to bring Latin influences into American jazz.
    Sandoval pays tribute to Dizzy with his latest CD -- Dear Diz: Every Day I Think of You -- which showcases many of the bebop legend’s greatest compositions.
    Dear Diz: Every Day I Think of You has been nominated for two Grammy Awards.
    Sandoval began studying classical trumpet at the age of 12, but it didn’t take him long to catch the excitement of the jazz world. He has since evolved into one of the world’s most acknowledged guardians of jazz trumpet and flugel horn, as well as a renowned classical artist, pianist and composer.
    Sandoval has been awarded 11 Grammy Awards, and nominated 20 times; he has also received 6 Billboard Awards and one Emmy Award, the latter for his composing work on the entire underscore of the HBO movie based on his life -- “For Love or Country” -- starring Andy Garcia.
    Sandoval’s versatility can be heard on recordings with everyone from Gillespie, Woody Herman, Woody Shaw, Michel Legrand, Bill Conti and Stan Getz to Johnny Mathis, Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka, Rod Stewart and Alicia Keys and many others.
    The New York Times recently said: "Sandoval's playing is unabashedly spectacular, yet he uses his technique with dramatic finesse."

   


Reading Eagle Community Concert
U.S. Army Jazz Ambassadors
plus Berks High School All-Star Jazz Band
Monday, April 8, 7 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Reading
Free

 
The Jazz Ambassadors is the official touring big band of the United States Army. Formed in 1969, this 19-member ensemble has received great acclaim at home and abroad performing America's greatest original art form, jazz.
  Concerts by the Jazz Ambassadors are programmed to entertain all ty
pes of audiences. The band’s diverse repertoire includes big band swing, bebop, Latin, contemporary jazz, standards, popular tunes, Dixieland, vocals, and patriotic selections, many of which are written or arranged by members of the Jazz Ambassadors.
  The Jazz Ambassadors has appeared in all 50 states, Canada, Mexico, Japan, India, and throughout

Europe. Recent notable performances include concerts at the Toronto Jazz Festival, the Richmond Jazz
Festival at Maymont, the Kennedy Center Honors, the Jazz Education Network Conference, and an
appearance on the Colbert Report.
  The band has attracted the attention of Gordon Goodwin, Bobby Shew, Ernie Watts, and the Dave Brubeck All-Star Quintet, just a few of the outstanding jazz artists who have shared the stage with the Jazz Ambassadors.
  The band has been featured in joint concerts under the direction of Marvin Hamlisch with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony Orchestra, the Seattle Symphony Pops, the Colorado Pops Orchestra, and the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall.
The band’s rigorous touring schedule and reputation for excellence has earned the name “America’s Big Band.”
 


 

Esperanza Spalding
Radio Music Society
Tuesday, April 9, 7:30 p.m.
Scottish Rite Cathedral
Tickets: $49    ORDER TICKETS
    It has not taken Esperanza Spalding long to emerge as one of the brightest lights in the musical world.
    Listeners familiar with her stunning 2008 Heads Up International debut -- Esperanza -- and her best-selling 2010 release Chamber Music Society, were well aware that the young bassist, vocalist and composer was the real deal, with a unique and style-spanning presence, deeply rooted in jazz yet destined to make her mark far beyond the jazz realm.
    That judgment was confirmed on February 13, 2011, when Spalding became the first jazz musician to receive the Grammy Award for Best New Artist.
    In early 2012, Spalding released -- Radio Music Society -- her most diverse, ambitious and masterful recital yet. Each of the 12 songs are accompanied by conceptual music videos, which further express Esperanza’s inspiration and story behind each track.
   Radio Music Society has earned her three Grammy Award nominations: Best Jazz Vocal Album, Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists for the song “City of Roses,” and Best Long Form Video.
    “Art doesn’t thrive with too much analyzing and explaining,” Esperanza Spalding notes. “The idea of ‘radio music’ is very broad.”
    Radio Music Society is destined to expand the concept even further, not to mention the horizons of the music world’s most exceptional young artist.
 


 

Berks Bop III
Chuck Loeb, Rick Braun, Brian Bromberg,
Gerald Albright, Eric Marienthal,
Jeff Lorber, Lionel Cordew
Wednesday, April 10, 7 p.m.
Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base
Crowne Plaza Reading
Tickets: $39    ORDER TICKETS
    What began as a new concept a few years ago has now become a unique tradition for the Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest.
    This is the third year for the Berks Bop project, which features an all-star group of contemporary jazz artists -- headed by guitarist Chuck Loeb -- coming together to play some swinging, straight-ahead, bebop jazz.
    For this installment, Loeb will joined by a mix of old and new beboppers -- Rick Braun on trumpet, Brian Bromberg on bass, Gerald Albright on sax, Eric Marienthal on sax, Jeff Lorber on keyboards and Lionel Cordew on drums.
    Marienthal and Lorber are first-time fest boppers.
    "I really look forward to this concert," said Loeb. "It's a chance for all of us to play a style of music we normally do not get to perform live."
    Don't miss this intimate collaboration!
 



Dave Stahl Big Band
with special guests
Bobby Caldwell and Andrew Neu
Wednesday, April 10, 7:30 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Reading Ballroom
Tickets: $39    ORDER TICKETS
    For the past 35 years, the Dave Stahl Big Band has been entertaining audiences throughout eastern Pennsylvania.
    Under Stahl's leadership, the band has become one of the best big bands in the business.
   
For the fest, Stahl and the band will be joined by two specials guests -- legendary vocalist Bobby Caldwell and saxophonist Andrew Neu.
    Stahl's musical career began officially following his discharge from the Army in 1973. Yet, during his enlistment, he performed as a soloist with The Army Band, held the position of lead trumpet in the "Army Blues" and was principal trumpet in the White House Herald Trumpets.
    Stahl has performed as lead trumpet and as a soloist with many of the top bands in America -- Woody Herman, Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Larry Elgart and Toshiko Akiyoshi, among others.
    Stahl has backed up notables like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Mel Torme, Jack Jones, Sarah Vaughan, and Englebert Humperdinck.
    From blue-eyed soul to pop, R&B and standards, Bobby Caldwell is truly one of the most respected members of the music industry.
    Caldwell's live performances are always electrifying.
    Drawing from his vast repertoire of rousing R&B, intimate smooth jazz stylings, and big band songs, Bobby has the ability to entertain at any venue, for fans of all ages.
    From his appearances with Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, Brian Pastor Big Band and Philadelphia Orchestra to his live performances with Diane Schuur and Smokey Robinson, Andrew Neu is one of the most exciting, multi-genre musicians today.
   Andrew, a fixture at the Berks Jazz Fest, also is a member of Caldwell's touring band and, when his schedule allows, he also performs with the Dave Stahl Big Band.

 



Tim Price Jazz-A-Delic
Thursday, April 11, 7 p.m.
Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base
Crowne Plaza Reading
Tickets: $15    ORDER TICKETS
    Berks native Tim Price is no stranger to the Berks Jazz Fest.
    Price has appeared at the festival for over two decades and counting!
    For the upcoming fest, Price will showcase his Jazz-A-Delic project, featuring v
ibraphonist/percussionist Randy Sutin, who has been creating music with Tim for over 26 years; drummer/composer/educator Sean Kennedy; and bassist Mark Amentt.
    Within the band structure of jazz, world-beat, R&B and a special musical nod to the essence of jam bands, give this unit musical scope and emotional power -- not to mention the commercial appeal -- expanding the repertoire beyond labels to embrace works that redefines ethereal grooves of the 1960s.

    Price is a musician who lives locally but plays globally. He travels the world playing jazz and has had the good fortune to have bands of his own featuring world-class players such as  Lew Tabackin, Bennie Green, Carl Allen, Ray Drummond, Rachel Z, Richie Cole, Stanton Moore, and Bill Goodwin.
    Price also has been a special guest with Grateful Dead member Bob Weir's RATDOG.
    When he is not performing or teaching, Price keeps busy writing about jazz and playing the saxophone. He has authored three books published through Hal Leonard. His also writes a weekly blog for Rico Reeds.
    Houston Person, Jay Migliori and Sean Kennedy, featuring Yellowjackets saxophonist Bob Mintzer, have recorded music written by Price, who also teaches at the New School University in New York City. He has been part of the jazz education department for over a decade.
    Dutch and contemporary sax star Candy Dulfer refers to Price as her mentor.
   



 


 

Berks All-Star Jazz Jam
featuring
Chuck Loeb, Norman Brown, Peter White,
Marc Antoine, Rick Braun, Gerald Veasley,
Brian Bromberg, Gerald Albright, Eric Marienthal, Andrew Neu, Jeff Lorber, Lionel Cordew, Dave Samuels, Bobby Caldwell and more!
Thursday, April 11, 8 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Reading Ballroom
Tickets: $45    ORDER TICKETS
    Anyone familiar with the Berks Jazz Fest knows that this is a big night.
    Not only is it the kickoff to the big final weekend, but it's also the unpredictable, off-the-hook gathering of some of the biggest names in jazz.
    You never know what will happen when musical directors Chuck Loeb and Rick Braun get together with jazz stars like guitarists Norman Brown, Peter White and Marc Antoine; bassists Gerald Veasley and Brian Bromberg; saxmen Gerald Albright, Eric Marienthal and Andrew Neu; keyboardist Jeff Lorber; drummer Lionel Cordew; Dave Samuels on vibes; and vocalist Bobby Caldwell, plus a few other surprises.
    This evening of improvisation and collaboration gives the artists a chance to really let down their collective hair and show their true love of their craft, all while allowing them the rare chance to hang out and jam with their peers.
   This must-see show always sells out fast -- so be sure to get a seat!
 


 

30th Anniversary Tour
Steve Smith & Vital Information: NYC Edition
featuring Vinny Valentino, Mark Soskin,
Andy Fusco, Baron Browne
Friday, April 12, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base
Crowne Plaza Reading
Tickets: $38    ORDER TICKETS
    In a musical world where keeping a working band has proven difficult for many bandleaders, drummer-bandleader Steve Smith has managed to keep several bands thriving on the road.
    Smith’s jazz/rock/fusion band Vital Information, has been working and recording for three decades, while his straight-ahead group Jazz Legacy (which began as a Buddy Rich alumni group called Buddy’s Buddies) has been touring and recording since 1999.
    Therefore, it makes perfect sense for this prolific bandleader, who has made a career out of amalgamating the many twists of his musical calling, to create a new band, Vital Information: NYC Edition, which Smith refers to as, “The best of both worlds!”
    The lineup of Vital Information: NYC Edition brings together members of both bands -- saxophonist Andy Fusco (from Jazz Legacy); guitarist Vinny Valentino (from Vital Information), pianist Mark Soskin (from Jazz Legacy), bassist Baron Browne (from Jazz Legacy and Vital Information), and Steve Smith manning the drums.
    The “best of both worlds” is a theme for Steve Smith’s career that has taken him from rock stardom with the band Journey to the legendary fusion band Steps Ahead, his recent collaborations with Raga Bop Trio with George Brooks and Prasanna, touring with Hiromi: The Trio Project, to supporting musical icons Ahmad Jamal, Zakir Hussain, and Jean-Luc Ponty.
    Smith’s constantly evolving drumming career has earned him Modern Drummer magazine's All-Around Drummer award five years in a row, which led to him being voted one of the Top-25 Drummers of All Time.
    In 2002 Smith was also voted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame. The readers of Drum! Magazine have voted Smith Top Jazz Drummer of 2008, 2009 and 2010.

 


 



Jazz Attack
featuring Richard Elliot, Rick Braun,
Peter White, Jeff Lorber
Friday, April 12, 7 p.m.
Scottish Rite Cathedral
Tickets: $49    ORDER TICKETS
    What do you get when you bring together saxman Richard Elliot, trumpeter Rick Braun, guitarist Peter White and keyboardist Jeff Lorber?
    One serious JAZZ ATTACK! And one great concert!
    This special lineup was put together just for the Berks Jazz Fest, which features artists who are regulars at the event.
    Smooth jazz and R&B tenor saxophonist Elliot has partnered in the past with Braun on the RnR Tour. When they get together, you know it's going to be a lot of fun.
    Elliot was a member of the legendary funk band Tower of Power before embarking on a solo career.
    Braun isn't afraid to branch out musically. The release Rick Braun Sings with Strings saw Braun trying his hand at singing backed by a full orchestra.
    Over the years, White has maintained a reputation as one of the most versatile and prolific acoustic guitarists on the contemporary jazz landscape. Armed with an unparalleled combination of lyricism and energy, he combines elements of jazz, pop and classical guitar to create a sound that is singular and at the same time accessible to a broad audience.
    Trailblazing keyboardist/composer/producer Jeff Lorber was a pioneer in the new movement of jazz fusion in the 1970s. After leading his own group, The Jeff Lorber Fusion, he went on to pioneer the smooth jazz genre.
    Don't miss this first-class show and its easy camaraderie and amazing musicianship!
 


 

WRTI presents New Faces of Jazz
Cyrille Aimée & The Surreal Band
plus the Eldar Djangirov Trio
Friday, April 12, 7:30 p.m.
Miller Center for the Arts
Tickets: $38    ORDER TICKETS
    The Berks Jazz Fest is pleased to be able to present two of the rising young stars of jazz.
    This dynamic co-bill will feature the Eldar Djangirov Trio and Cyrille Aimée & The Surreal Band.
    Last year, Eldar stunned a Miller Center for the Arts audience with his amazing performance during the Berks Jazz Fest. There was a serious buzz about Eldar after the show. But the music world has been singing his praises for years.
   
The New York Times described the New York-based pianist as "a blend of musical intelligence, organizational savvy, enthusiasm and prowess that was all the more impressive for seeming so casual… an ebullient impressionist."
    Dr. Billy Taylor said: "Eldar Djangirov's playing shows brilliancy, complexity, and discipline"
    JazzTimes said: “Maybe he made a pact with Lucifer to be the greatest pianist ever."
    Dave Brubeck called Eldar "a genius beyond most young people I've heard."
    Cyrille Aimee has proven herself to be an unstoppable, undeniable talent in the modern age of jazz.
    The voices inside Aimée, whose father is French and whose mother is Dominican, come from all over. One minute she is a French chanteuse, the next a playful salsa singer, the next she dabbles in Bobby McFerrin-like electronics with a loop pedal.
    During her live performances, everything is connected and integrated into an internationalist concept of jazz that has no stylistic hierarchy. Curiosity and open-heartedness characterize singing that runs from adventurous, free-form scat to lightly torchy.
    Cyrille recently won the inaugural Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition held in New York.
 


Blues at the Inn
Debbie Davies & The Uptown Swingers featuring Crispin Cioe and Roy Rodriques
plus the Chris Bergson Band
Friday, April 12, 7:30 p.m.
Inn at Reading Ballroom
Tickets: $38    ORDER TICKETS

 Due to a family illness, Smokin’ Joe Kubek has canceled his Northeast tour, including hiDebbie Daviess April 12 show at Berks with Bnois King.
 But don’t fret; we have an amazing blues band coming in for Smokin’ Joe!

 We are thrilled to announce that Debbie Davies is returning to the festival, and wil
l be joined by The Uptown Swingers, featuring Crispin Cioe and Roy Rodriques. The Chris Bergson Band will perform as scheduled.
 Debbie Davies is an award-winning singer, songwriter, guitar player of extraordinary talent. A professional musician since the early 1980s, Debbie ranks among the top blues artists in the country.
 She has received ten nominations for Blues Music Awards, and in 1997 and 2010 won the award for Best Contemporary Female Blues Artist.

 Davies will be joined by saxophonist/composer/producer Crispin Cioe.
 Cioe has performed, recorded, and toured with The Rolling Stones, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Joe Cocker, R.E.M., J. Geils Band, Robert Plant, the B-52's, Tom Waits, B.B. King, R
ay Charles, Joan Osborne and many more. Over the past two years Crispin’s own band, Cracked Ice, has become a constantly in-demand party-music unit, performing at night clubs, corporate events, and private affairs in the metro-NYC area, New England, the Caribbean, and beyond.
Organ pla
yer Roy Rodriques recently played with the Allman Brothers Band at the Beacon Theater.
 
Chris Bergson made a name for himself in New York backing jazz singers Annie Ross, Dena DeRose, Sasha Dobson and Norah Jones.
    In 2002, Bergson was appointed a Jazz Ambassador of the USA by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and he toured Africa with his trio. In 2007, he released the widely acclaimed Fall Changes  -- that established him as an eloquent, evocative and lyrical songwriter with a sharp urban vision.
     Recorded at Levon Helm's Woodstock studio, it led to Bergson being personally invited to perform at the famed drummer's Midnight Rambles.



Berks County Parrot Head Club Night
Dave Samuels & The Caribbean Jazz Project
plus the Catonsville High (Md.) Steel Drum Band
Friday, April 12, 7:30 p.m.
Abraham Lincoln Hotel Ballroom
Tickets: $35    ORDER TICKETS
    Dave Samuels has established himself as the top mallet player of his generation.
    Samuels formed The Caribbean Jazz Project back in 1993 and it has become the most thoroughly inventive Latin Jazz ensemble of this or any era.
    Winning two Grammy Awards, The Caribbean Jazz Project has set a new standard in original improvised music based on the rich musical traditions of the Caribbean, where music from Africa, Europe and the Caribbean Islands first joined and spread its roots into
North and South America.
   
The current lineup includes Dave Samuels, vibes and marimba; Oscar Feldman, alto and soprano saxes; Vince Cherico, drums; Lincoln Goines, bass; and Arturo Stable, percussion.
    Earlier in his career, Samuels had a longtime association with Spyro Gyra which lasted from 1977 to 1994 and includes 20 recordings.
   
Samuels has been voted “Best Vibes Player” in both Jazziz and Modern Drummer magazines.
    The fest is pleased to have the Catonsville High (Md.) Steel Drum Band open for The Caribbean Jazz Project.
    Under the direction of Jim Wharton for over 20 years, the Catonsville band, featuring 15 kids on steel pans, is an amazing, must-see concert.
    You can bet that Samuels and the Catonsville band will perform together during during the show.
 



Gerald Albright & Norman Brown
Friday, April 12, 10 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Reading Ballroom
Tickets: $40    ORDER TICKETS
    Who could forget the great jazz collaborations between Miles Davis and Gil Evans or Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie?
    The tradition lives on with the pairing of contemporary jazz icons Gerald Albright and Norman Brown -- two longtim Berks Jazz Fest favorites.
    Albright-Brown is a match made in jazz heaven: saxophonist Albright and guitarist Brown. They recently released their first collaborative CD Project -- 24/7 -- which features unny melodies, surefire R&B grooves, dovetailing exchanges between two genre stars.
    The duo first met in the 1980s while performing at a jazz club in Redlands, California.
    Albright, who is 14 years older than Brown, got a head start on his solo recording career, releasing his debut album in 1987. In addition to mastering soprano, alto and baritone saxophones, he is equally skilled on keyboards, flutes, percussion and bass guitar. According to Albright, the title 24/7 springs from their dedication to making music.
    “Even when we sleep we’re thinking about melodies, recordings, concerts and whatever we’re going to do next,” he confides.
    It's the 20th anniversary of Brown’s debut album, Just Between Us. In 2003, he won a Grammy Award in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category for Just Chillin’. Brown currently hosts his own weekend radio show on the Smooth Jazz Network. He credits guitarists Jimi Hendrix and George Benson as his two most important musical influences.
 



Kirk Whalum featuring Kevin Whalum
plus Marcus Johnson
Saturday, April 13, 2 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Reading Ballroom
Tickets: $40    ORDER TICKETS
    Soulful, passionate, stirring -- these are the words most often used to describe Kirk Whalum’s music.
    Forged from his Memphis gospel roots and his 1980s initiation into the thriving Houston club scene, Kirk’s big, rich tenor sound is unmistakably his.
    The 80s were highlighted by Kirk’s stepping out of his blossoming sideman role and forming his own band. It was there that Kirk ultimately developed both his “voice” and songwriting in the crucible of the local club scene –– especially at a rooftop club called Cody’s.
    It was also in Houston where jazz pianist Bob James “discovered” him and brought him on tour, which led to
five successful albums with Columbia Records.
   
As well, Kirk and Bob received a Grammy nomination for their collaboration album, Joined at the Hip. After moving to Los Angeles, Kirk became an in demand session player for top artists like, Barbara Streisand, Al Jarreau, Luther Vandross, Larry Carlton, Quincy Jones and most notably, Whitney Houston, amongst many others. It’s his sax heard on the mega-hit, I Will Always Love You. Kirk soon followed that career high point with his phenomenal hit album released on Warner Bros. Records, For You, perhaps the most successful of over 25 solo recordings to date.
    His latest release is perhaps his most ambitious to date. On Romance Language, Kirk pays homage to the much revered 1963 ballads album, John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. Kirk's release features the brilliant and lush vocals of his brother Kevin.
    Kirk has a sound that is uniquely his; it is a sound that leaves an indelible imprint on the listener.
    Throughout his career, jazz keyboardist, composer and producer Marcus Johnson continues to stand steady and unbowed.
    Johnson's artistic journey with music reflects his entrepreneurial spirit, his maverick approach to composing and performing as well as his principled dedication to God, family and community.
    Marcus Johnson has developed a reputation as a stellar showman, wowing audiences with his emotive displays of keyboard dexterity, while mixing his jazzy beats with R&B, go-go, Latin funk, a taste of salsa and a sip of hip hop. It's an unbridled genre that has allowed him to cultivate both mature smooth jazz fans as well as the younger urban-contemporary audiences.
 



Brecker Brothers Band Reunion
featuring Randy Brecker, Ada Rovatti,
Oli Rockberger, Mitch Stein, Neil Jason,
Rodney Holmes
Saturday, April 13, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Gerald Veasley's Jazz Base
Crowne Plaza Reading
Tickets: $38    ORDER TICKETS
    The loss of tenor saxophone titan Michael Brecker from leukemia in 2007 left a gaping hole that can not be filled.
    Michael's longest running collaboration was with his older brother, trumpet great Randy Brecker.
    They were already well-traveled jazz improvisers when first joining forces as the Brecker Brothers in the mid-1970s, infusing the era’s predominant jazz/rock fusion with a heaping helping of funk.
    The Brecker Brothers reunited in 1992, recording two superb albums that picked up where they left off, combining sensational chops with infectious electronic grooves. Their final release, 1994’s Out of the Loop, won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Performance.
    Randy Brecker has now assembled the Brecker Brothers Band Reunion, featuring Oli Rockberger, Mitch Stein, Neil Jason and Rodney Holmes for the Berks Jazz Fest show. Walking in Michael’s huge footsteps is Randy's wife and rising star saxophonist Ada Rovatti.
    Randy Brecker has been shaping the sound of jazz, R&B and Rock for more than four decades. His trumpet and flugelhorn performances have graced hundreds of albums by a wide range of artists from James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen and Parliament-Funkadelic to Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, David Sanborn, Jaco Pastorius, Horace Silver and Frank Zappa.
   Randy's history is as varied as it is distinguished. As a composer, performer and in-demand Yamaha clinician, Randy continues to influence and inspire young musicians around the world.
 



Dynamic New Show!
Brian Culbertson
Saturday, April 13, 7 p.m.
Scottish Rite Cathedral
Tickets: $49    ORDER TICKETS
    Brian Culbertson has become a mainstay with the Berks Jazz Fest, making his debut  back in 1996 when he was a young, shy performer trying to find his way in the business.
    Things sure have changed for Culbertson, who will be making his 12th festival appearance this year.
    Culbertson's loyal fans have seen the keyboardist's career skyrocket as he has become one of the biggest stars in the R&B, contemporary jazz genre.
    The thing that makes Culbertson successful is that he never gets complacent. He always is looking ahead, working on ways to reinvent himself, taking chances on new projects and collaborations, and creating new and dynamic live shows.
    That will be the case when Culbertson takes the stage at the Scottish Rite Cathedral on Saturday, April 13, at 7 p.m.
    The producer/arranger/trombonist is putting the finishing touches on a new live show that will feature some old and some new faces in the band.
    Last year, Culbertson and David Benoit brought their "Piano2Piano" project to the fest, plus Culbertson performed with his own band.
    As soon as details are finalized with Brian's band for the fest, you will be the first to know.
    Stay tuned!
 





Jazzin' Up the Pops

David Benoit, Chuck Loeb, Brian Bromberg,
Eric Marienthal and the Reading Pops Orchestra
Saturday, April 13, 7:30 p.m.
and
Sunday, April 14, 3 p.m.
Miller Center for the Arts
Tickets: $40    ORDER TICKETS
    The Reading Pops Orchestra has been a big part of the Boscov's Berks Jazz fest for many years, performing with many major artists, including the New York Voices, Chuck Mangione, Jim Brickman, Ramsey Lewis, Dianne Schurr, Rick Braun, and others.
    This year, the Reading Pops, under the direction of Dr. Willis Rapp, will be collaborating with an all-star ensemble featuring David Benoit on piano, Chuck Loeb on guitar, Brian Bromberg on bass, and Eric Marienthal on saxophone.
    Not only will the four special guest artists be part of the Pops' rhythm section for the entire program, they each will contribute orchestra charts for the concerts set for Saturday, April 13, 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, April 14, 3 p.m., at the Miller Center for the Arts.
    "This will be a first," said Brian Bromberg. "As artists, having the opportunity to perform with the Reading Pops Orchestra is very special. Having the opportunity to work with the other special guests and the Pops is very, very special."
    "David, Eric, Chuck and myself are really looking forward to collaborating with Will (Rapp) and the entire Reading Pops Orchestra."
 



Blues at the Inn
Ana Popovic
plus Steve Guyger & The Excellos
Saturday, April 13, 7:30 p.m.
Inn at Reading Ballroom
Tickets: $38    ORDER TICKETS
    Jazz News magazine recently described Ana Popovic as "proof that the reincarnation of Jimi Hendrix is a woman."
    Ana Popovic, a big fan of Jimi, was naturally honored, but she laughed and said: "There is only one Jimi, just like there is only one Stevie Ray Vaughan."
    Ana was right, of course, but with her unique blend of blues, tinged with jazz, funk and rock, there is also only one Ana Popovic.
    
Popovic and her band are bringing their red-hot act to the Berks Jazz Fest, performing Saturday, April 13, 7:30 p.m., at the Inn at Reading. Steve Guyger & The Excellos will open the dynamic co-bill.
    Popovic is coming off an amazing 2012. She was nominated for three Music Blues Awards: Best Contemporary Blues Female Artist; Best Contemporary Blues Album (Unconditional); best DVD of the Year (An Evening at Trasimeno Lake).
   
Philadelphia is a city that has a great musical heritage when it comes to forms of music other then blues.
    However, The City Of Brotherly Love can and does boast of having a legendary blues harmonica master that many feel is one of the best in the world today.
    For over thirty years Steve Guyger has been honing his skills on the harmonica and delighting Blues audiences world-wide with his great band The Excellos.
    Evidence of his prowess on harp can be heard on any of the many well received and superbly reviewed products listed in Steve’s discography.
   



A Tribute to Steely Dan
The Royal Scam
Saturday, April 13, 9 p.m.
Abraham Lincoln Hotel
Tickets: $22    ORDER TICKETS
    The world's premiere Steely Dan tribute band -- The Royal Scam -- is back!
    The popular band's repertoire of more than 40 of the legendary duo masterpieces has helped to keep the compositions of Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, the spirit of rock/jazz, and the enthusiasm of fine musicianship alive in small clubs and concert venues throughout the northeast, including SRO crowds at past Berks Jazz Fests.
    The band features lead vocalist Michael Caputo, guitarist Al Egizi, vocalist Deb De Lucca, keyboardist and synth programmer Gino Amato, saxophonist Joe Montini, vocalist Wendy Gordy and Carla Culkin, drummer Phil Long.
    Jazz, R&B, Latin and pop are among the major elements which make up Steely Dan’s music, and all of the many musicians who work with the core band from time to time have played most of these various styles and have contributed some very memorable musical moments for the band.
    The band is named after The Royal Scam, the fifth album by Steely Dan, originally released in 1976. The album went gold.
 



Jonathan Butler
Saturday, April 13, 10 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Reading Ballroom
Tickets: $40    ORDER TICKETS
    A life well lived is often the best foundation for compelling art and there is no denying guitarist/singer Jonathan Butler has been blessed with a fascinating life.
    A South African native whose expansive musical gift has earned accolades in the R&B, contemporary jazz and gospel fields, Butler’s music is filled with the soulful sounds and insightful lyrics fans have come to expect from the veteran performer.
    A key word in Butler’s life is balance and after years of touring the globe, he has learned just how important time away from the spotlight can be.
   
Butler’s albums and worldwide concert tours have afforded him fame and a lifestyle far from what he ever could have imagined as a child performer, but more importantly, it brought him the freedom to follow his passion -- music -- on his own terms.
   
“Our struggles shape and define us," said Butler. "Growing up under Apartheid helped fashion me into the man I am today.  I’m here to serve; I’m willing to serve at a moment’s notice.  I feel blessed to be in the (music) business this long and to able to use my gifts beyond the church to entertain, to uplift, and to inspire."

 



Sunday Jazz Brunch

Marc Antoine
Sunday, April 14, 10 a.m. buffet/11 a.m. show
Inn at Reading ballroom
Tickets: $39    ORDER TICKETS
    The Sunday Jazz Brunch at the Inn at Reading has become a popular event during the Berks Jazz Fest.
    This year, dynamic guitarist Marc Antoine and his band will headline the concert.
    Antoine transcends categorization. He journeys into the tejano, urban and pop arenas, but doesn't limit himself to only these forms. He has lent his fluid stylings to artists as diverse as Sting, Basia, Queen Latifah and DJ Greyboy.
    In his youth, Antoine soaked up the African influence of Paris, playing with renowned world music artist Lokua Kanza.
    Antoine is a global citizen. His strong belief in music as a bonding force for otherwise disparate cultures comes through clearly on albums like Urban Gypsy and Universal Language. The ability to tap into a wide variety of musical roots has brought Antoine acclaim from critics and fans alike.
 



Maysa & Her Jazz Funk Soul Symphony
Sunday, April 14, 2 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Reading Ballroom
Tickets: $40    ORDER TICKETS
    Maysa Leak has been performing at the Berks Jazz Fest for many years, but this year's performance marks the first time she will headline with her own band.
    And Maysa is going all out, bring her dynamic, 11-piece Jazz, Soul, Funk Symphony ensemble to back her up. The Crowne Plaza Reading Ballroom definitely will be rocking.
    The band features Angela Phillips and Sol Edler, background vocals; Carl Cox, saxophone; Leon Jordan Jr., trumpet; Paul Aborgast, trombone; Richard Tucker, guitar; Charles Baldwin, bass guitar; Will Brock and Damon Bennett, keyboards; Kevin Prince, percussions; and Timothy Hutson, drums.
    Unlike many R&B singers, Maysa was not raised in the church, so her musical style was not shaped from the choir loft. Her early influences were her mother’s favorite soul records. When she was about 14, Maysa’s uncle took her aside and turned her on to jazz.
    Maysa studied music at Morgan State University before heading to California to sing back-up for music icon Stevie Wonder.
    During a break from the Wonderlove Tour, she auditioned for Scottish drummer, Steve Harvey, who was best friends with Jean-Paul “Bluey” Manunick of Incognito fame.
    Bluey was looking for an American singer to front his band and asked Harvey to compile a list of prospects. He put Maysa on that list.
    Bluey asked her to sing Stevie Wonder’s tune “Don’t Worry About A Thing” over the phone. He told her the official audition would be the next day. The following day, however, Bluey’s manager called her and said she did not need to audition. Bluey had hired her and was not considering anyone else for the spot.
    The next few years were a whirlwind as Incognito reached new levels of fame with Maysa at the forefront.
    Motions Of Love, Maysa's latest CD release, received great reviews and has been called the pinnacle of her recording career.
   



Gospel According to Jazz Celebration
Kirk Whalum and Jonathan Butler
featuring special guest Donnie McClurkin
plus the DOXA Gospel Ensemble
Sunday, April 14, 7 p.m.
Scottish Rite Cathedral
Tickets: $49    ORDER TICKETS
    As the Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest committee planned the 2013 event, its goal was to create a special concert to end the 10-day festival.
    A conversation between Kirk Whalum and the fest management in January of 2012 planted a seed that has grown into what promises to be an amazing finale -- "Gospel According to Jazz Celebration."
    The concert will feature Whalum and his band, Jonathan Butler, and legendary gospel vocalist Donnie McClurkin (photo at right), plus the Reading-based DOXA Gospel Ensemble.
    "This is going to be an awesome concert," said Whalum, who will serve as musical director for the show. "I feel blessed to have the opportunity to work and perform with Jonathan and Donnie. We definitely will end the Berks Jazz Fest on a high note."
    Whalum and Butler have been blending jazz and gospel music throughout their outstanding careers.
    Whalum, an ordained minister who has earned his Masters of Art in Religion, has released a series of three Gospel According to Jazz CDs, winning Grammy Awards along the way.
    Butler's latest CD -- Grace and Mercy -- delivers the kind of Biblically grounded, emotionally uplifting songs the guitarist has become known for, yet musically he says fans might be caught slightly off guard.
    “It’s going to surprise people a little bit coming from me because I think it’s much more of an edgier gospel record,” he says of the project. “It’s more urban."
    Vocalist and minister McClurkin is one of the biggest names in gospel music. He has won three Grammy awards, 10 Stellar awards, two BET awards, two Soul Train awards, a Dove award and a NAACP Image award for his work.
    His radio show, The Donnie McClurkin Show, is heard all over the United States.

 





 

 

 

The Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest is presented by The Berks Arts Council