Saturday, April 9 / 1:00 p.m.
WHUR 96.3 FM presents
hosted and produced by CHRIS “BIG DOG” DAVIS
DoubleTree by Hilton Reading / Grand Ballroom
Tickets: $59 (Reserved Seating)

Women who play and sing jazz will be spotlighted in Chris “Big Dog” Davis’s special Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest event on Saturday, April 9th at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading.

“Celebrating the Women in Jazz” will feature headliners Patti Austin and Maysa (see their individual bios below), and six other women who are making their marks as accomplished vocalists and instrumentalists in jazz and other genres.

Davis, a Grammy-nominated writer, producer and pianist, has created this concert to help bring awareness to the impact of women on the jazz world. While these women, who have been innovating and performing ever since the 1920s, haven’t often received the public accolades given their male counterparts, early recordings show just how talented they were. Since Judy Chaiken’s popular 2011 documentary, “The Girls in the Band,” more people are realizing that when it comes to jazz, gender doesn’t matter.

Singer/songwriters Lindsey Webster and Selina Albright are members of the younger generation of jazz singers, following in the footsteps of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, but putting their own eclectic stamps on the genre. Webster, Billboard’s Artist of the Year in 2016 and 2017, released her fifth album, “A Woman Like Me,” in March 2020, showing her roots in R&B, pop, rock and jazz.

Albright is known for her energy, her powerful multi-octave wailing, and her sultry tone. She has recorded with her father Gerald Albright, Peter White, Rick Braun, David Benoit and many others, as well as collaborating with electronic dance music DJs. Albright has released several hit singles, including the number-ones, “Discover” and “Holding On,” in 2020. She boasts an extensive international performing history with a long list of great artists.

Saxophonist Jessy J (Jessica Arellano) has brought a Tex-Mex flavor to her jazz performances and albums. She celebrated 10 years of recording with her 2018 “Live at Yoshi’s—Ten Year Anniversary Special,” at the famed Oakland venue. She has done sessions with Michael Buble; toured with The Temptations, Jessica Simpson and Michael Bolton, among others; and was cast in the off-Broadway “Blast” touring company. She has also performed on “American Idol” and “The Voice.”

Karen Briggs, violinist, started out as a classical musician, but spent her career playing gospel, R&B, Latin, New Age, rock, hip-hop and jazz. She has conducted improvisation violin workshops at Berklee, the Kennedy Center and other venues, and has been an advocate for the use of violin in contemporary music and music education in the schools. She has performed internationally, and made a cameo appearance in the 1999 film, “Music of the Heart.”

Another classical musician who made the transition into contemporary jazz is flutist Althea Rene, who played jazz clubs while working as the Wayne County deputy sheriff in Detroit, Mich. She is now a full-time performing and recording artist whose 2013 album, “In the Flow,” gave her a number-one hit (the title song) on the Billboard and Smooth Jazz charts. Her eighth CD, “Flawsome” (2019) features Maysa, Gerald Albright, Euge Groove and more.

Marcia Miget is a quintuple threat, as a flutist, saxophonist, pianist, arranger and composer. She toured at an early age with her musical family through the Midwest, then majored in classical music at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa while performing multiple genres at clubs with Midwest Express, Dartanyon and Miget-Miget.

She has opened for Grover Washington Jr., Chick Corea, Country Joe and the Fish and many others. She is a music educator and proponent of the use of non-Western instruments in jazz; and she founded the Miraflores Academie, a non-profit in San Rafael, Calif.

Patti Austin
Fans of fine vocal jazz will have two chances to hear Patti Austin during Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest: as a special guest artist at the Chuck Loeb Memorial All-Star Jam on Thursday, April 7 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, and as part of Chris “Big Dog” Davis’s “Celebrating the Women in Jazz” in the same venue on Saturday, April 9.

Austin, a celebrated singer/songwriter who was inspired by Judy Garland and Ella Fitzgerald, started her singing career early. She performed at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem at age 4, then spent her teens as a professional soul and R&B singer. At 19 she broke out with a hit single, “Family Tree” (1969), and sang backup for Paul Simon’s 1975 hit, “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover.”

Her debut album, “End of a Rainbow,” came out shortly after in 1976, and she has since recorded more than two dozen albums, winning a Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album for her “Avant Gershwin” in 2008. She will share the stage at the DoubleTree with Maysa, Lindsey Webster, Karen Briggs, Althea Rene and Marcia Miget.

The brilliant, magnetic vocalist Maysa is returning to Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest for Chris “Big Dog” Davis’s “Celebrating the Women in Jazz” on Saturday, April 9 in the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading, along with vocalists Patti Austin, Selina Albright (Gerald’s daughter), Jessy J and Lindsey Webster; violinist Karen Briggs; flutist Althea Rene; and multi-instrumentalist Marcia Miget. It’s bound to be a memorable concert.

Maysa Leak was singled out by Stevie Wonder from the Morgan State University Choir when she was a junior; after she graduated, she became part of his backup ensemble, Wonderlove. A few years later, she auditioned by telephone for the British acid-jazz band Incognito, and became their lead singer for their 1992 hit single, “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” giving her international recognition.

In 2019, Maysa celebrated 29 years with the band, and marked her 26th year as a solo artist. Her career has included international tours, major TV appearances, national awards and chart-topping hits. She now has her own record label, Blue Velvet Soul Records, named for her 2013 album.