The Big 3-0 is going to be something extra special indeed.
The 30th annual Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest as presented by the Berks Arts Council March 27-April 5, 2020 features a panorama of peerless performers befitting its remarkable run of excellence and longevity.
Berks Jazz Fest once again is epic in scope, talent and genres — with a multiplicity of concerts throughout Berks County at venues ranging from small churches and clubs to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Reading, the Santander Performing Arts Center, the Miller Center for the Arts and the Scottish Rite Cathedral and encompassing contemporary jazz, traditional jazz, pop, crossover, blues, funk, R&B, gospel and uniquely creative collaborations.
When Berks Jazz Fest began with a few concerts over a three-day weekend in 1991, it was unimaginable that it would grow into one of the premier jazz festivals on the East Coast, a supernova of a festival that has its audiences riding endless waves of awe and appreciation.
The 30th Anniversary All-Star Celebration on Saturday, March 28, at 6 p.m. at the Santander Performing Arts Center glitters with a constellation of marquee artists such as trumpeter Rick Braun, guitarist Peter White, saxophonist/vocalist Mindi Abair, guitarist Nick Colionne, vocalist Larry Braggs, bassist Brian Bromberg and saxophonist Euge Groove.
The Opening Night Concert on Friday, March 27, at 7 p.m. at the Santander Performing Arts Center showcases superstar saxophonist Chris Botti while multi-platinum-selling saxophonist Boney James performs on Friday, April 3, at 6 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Cathedral.
Superstar multi-instrumentalist Brian Culbertson’s The XX Tour concert is the 30th Anniversary Finale on Sunday, April 5, at 6 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Cathedral. His latest album XX – those X’s are Roman numerals — is a remarkably diverse mix of things that he has done throughout his 20-album catalogue.
Celebrating the Music of Stevie Wonder as he nears his 70th birthday are Chris “Big Dog” Davis, Rick Braun, Maysa, Kimberly Brewer, Eric Darius, Nick Colionne, Ragan Whiteside, Glenn Jones, Art Sherrod Jr. and the DOXA Gospel Ensemble on Saturday, April 4, at 1 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Grand Ballroom.
Dean Brown’s Summer of Love Evolution showcasing classic music from 1968-1972 that was spawned from the original Summer of Love in 1967 in San Francisco’s Haight Asbury district is Friday, April 3, at 7 p.m. at the Miller Center for the Arts.
Brown, known for his powerful virtuosic rhythm guitar work and his passionate melodic soloing, has put together a dynamic array of artists for this concert in multiple Grammy-winning trumpeter Randy Brecker; multiple Grammy-winning saxophonist Eric Marienthal; profoundly diverse vocal musician Honey Larochelle; extraordinary drummer Keith Carlock; jazz pianist/keyboardist Jim Beard; Billy Joel- and Michael Bolton bassist Schuyler Deale; vocalist/guitarist Devon Patterson; master-of-all-trades Mino Cinelu (percussion, drums, bass, guitar, keyboards, singing) and the Berks Horns (Mike Anderson on saxophone, Rob Diener on trumpet and John Loos on trombone).
Bela Fleck, considered by many to be the world’s premier banjo player, and The Flecktones featuring Victor Wooten, Roy “Futureman” Wooten and Howard Levy perform on Sunday, March 29, at 6 p.m. at the Santander Performing Arts Center.
The Brubeck Brothers Quartet celebrates the centennial of American jazz icon Dave Brubeck led by his sons, bassist/trombonist/composer Chris and drummer Dan on Saturday, April 4, at 7 p.m. at the Miller Center for the Arts.
Brilliant pianist David Benoit and charismatic vocalist Lindsey Webster perform on Sunday, April 5, at 3 p.m. at the Miller Center for the Arts.
Bass legend Marcus Miller’s Laid Black Tour concert featuring Surprise Special Guests takes place at the Scottish Rite Cathedral on Saturday, April 4, at 6 p.m.
Exquisite pianist Keiko Matsui and soulful, stirring saxophonist Kirk Whalum perform on Saturday, March 28, at 2 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Grand Ballroom.
Acclaimed saxophonist/bassist/keyboardist Gerald Butler and gifted guitarist/vocalist Jonathan Butler share the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Grand Ballroom stage on Friday, April 3, at 9:30 p.m.
Damien Escobar, one of the most revered violinists in the world for his ability to freestyle within multiple genres like classical, jazz, pop, R&B and hip-hop, performs on Saturday, March 28, at 9:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Grand Ballroom.
Pieces of a Dream with special guest Maysa and introducing piano prodigy Justin-Lee Schultz take the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Grand Ballroom stage on Friday, March 27, at 9:30 p.m.
Incognito, recognized as one of the best funk/jazz/soul groups in the world for over 40 years, and fabulous vocalist Maysa perform on Saturday, April 4, at 9:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree by Hilton Reading Grand Ballroom.
Then there are the signature Chuck Loeb Memorial All-Star Jam, the 30th Anniversary Berks Bop Big Band and Gerald Veasley Midnight Jam shows, concerts populated with regiments of talented artists.
And there are the blockbuster blues shows at the Inn at Reading featuring Kenny Neal & The Neal Family Revue with special guest Frank Bey, Billy Price Charm City Rhythm Band, Eric Clapton Retrospective as performed by Craig Thatcher Band, Popa Chubby and Tab Benoit plus Greg Sover Band.
Other notable concerts include:
Gerald Veasley Unscripted at Berks featuring Nelson Rangell, Alex Bugnon and Marc Antoine the first Saturday of the festival and featuring Bobby Lyle, Chieli Minucci and Jazmin Ghent the second Saturday.
Manhattan Transfer founding member Janis Siegel with John di Martino.
Jazz Funk Soul featuring Jeff Lorber, Everette Harp and Paul Jackson Jr.
Soul Patrol featuring Larry Braggs, Blake Aaron and Tom Braxton.
Zaccai Curtis & Albert Rivera Latin Jazz Band with special guest Trading Four.
Reading Pops Orchestra Celebrates the Spirit of Django with Julien Labro, Frank Vignola, Vinny Raniolo, Josh Taylor and Tom Strohman.
The Peter Rogan Band: Nashville Edition featuring special guest Phil Madeira and Cliff Starkey, Fred Moreadith, John Fundyga, Charise Rogosky, Dawn Blandford and Charlene Holloway.
Fabulous Equinox Orchestra: Big Band for a New Generation.
Pat Bianchi Quartet featuring Joe Locke, Paul Bollenbach and Byron Landham.
Felix Pastorius & Hipster Assassins.
Brian Bromberg’s Unapologetically Funky Big Bombastic Band featuring Everette Harp, Ray Fuller, Tony Moore, Tom Zink and the Berks Horns.
The Royal Scam with The RS Horns.
Dance Hall Docs with special guest Tom Bowes.
Reggie Brown & Bunch-A-Funk.
U.S. Air Force Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble featuring special guest Eric Marienthal plus the Berks High School All-Star Jazz Band directed by Albert Rivera in one performance and featuring special guest Randy Brecker in the second concert.
RMF Project Penske Jazz Jam hosted by Mike Eben, Albert Rivera, Gerald Veasley, Brian Bromberg, Eric Marienthal, Aubrey Logan and Bobby Lyle.
Bobby Lyle & The Ladies of Song featuring Toni Lynne, AnNette Hines and more.
Doc Mulligan Get JazzED Day with the Middle School Big Band Festival and the High School Big Band Festival.
The Groovemasters featuring Bennie Sims, Cliff Starkey and Erich Cawalla.
Anne Walsh & Tom Zink featuring Brian Bromberg and Special Guests.
Andrew Neu & Rob Zinn.
For the complete festival lineup and ticket information, visit berksjazzfest.com
Through the creation and support of varying art events, community collaborations and grants, the Berks Arts Council positively impacts our community cultural and economic well-being. The mission of the Berks Arts Council is to inspire, unite and grow our community through arts collaboration, education and presentations. Our vision is to support community and economic growth, promote positive change and create a more connected community. Today, in everything the Berks Arts Council does and supports, we seek to make Berks County, PA a more creative, more desirable and a more resilient community.
Visit www.BerksArts.org for more information.