The annual influx of music lovers from near and far is expected to once again crowd Boston's historic South End this fall to celebrate with a mix of jazz, Latin, blues, and soul acts. Natixis Global Asset Management (NGAM), one of the world's leading asset managers, is the presenting sponsor of Berklee's 2012 BeanTown Jazz Festival, scheduled for September 27-30. Past festivals have drawn as many as 80,000 music fans.
"This landmark Boston event is an extraordinary and meaningful opportunity to hear free world-class concerts in a family-friendly environment," said John Hailer, president and chief executive officer, Natixis Global Asset Management – the Americas and Asia. "Music inspires. It fosters creativity, discipline, and commitment, and that's a winning combination that few would dispute. To support the Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival is to help support an incredible environment where families from Boston's diverse neighborhoods can be introduced to top-notch artists who may serve as role models for the music world's future stars."
The festival opens September 27 at 8:00 p.m. with singer-songwriter Melody Gardot. On September 28 at 7:30 p.m., the festival continues with jazz pianists Geri Allen and Joanne Brackeen with special guests. The celebrations close on September 30 at 7:30 p.m. with banjo master Béla Fleck and the Marcus Roberts trio. All three concerts are ticketed events at the Berklee Performance Center (BPC). Tickets for the concerts are available at berkleebpc.com or at the Berklee Performance Center box office.
Boston's biggest block party takes place on Saturday, September 29, from noon to 6:00 p.m. on Columbus Avenue between Massachusetts Avenue and Burke Street in Boston's South End. This year, the festival celebrates women in jazz, featuring free performances by some of the genre's most acclaimed female artists. A festival highlight will be a performance by Boston native and festival artistic director Terri Lyne Carrington's The Mosaic Project, featuring Geri Allen, Lizz Wright, Tia Fuller, Ingrid Jensen, Helen Sung, and Nir Felder. Carrington won the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album for The Mosaic Project. Additional performers on the three outdoor stages include Best New Artist Grammy Award winner Paula Cole, Lalah Hathaway, Hey Rim Jeon, and Hailey Niswanger.
The outdoor celebration also features an intriguing variety of family activities at the Natixis Family Park and vendor booths offering foods and crafts from all over the world. The Natixis Family Park will transform Carter Playground on Columbus Avenue into a hub of activity including inflatables, face painting, and an instrument petting zoo staffed by Berklee professionals.
Students and faculty play a major role in the festival with performances from faculty member Mark Walker and the Rhythm of the Americas Nonet, Summer in the City concert series standout artists, and current Berklee students Lihi Haruvi and Caili O'Doherty, the Neo Soul Ensemble, and the Berklee City Music All Stars.
Additional ticketed events will soon be announced. Stay updated by checking beantownjazz.org/schedule.html.
The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded a grant to Berklee College of Music to support the Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival for the third year in a row. Subaru of New England is also a festival sponsor.
In a recent announcement, NGAM was also named as the presenting sponsor of the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival®.