Superstars Honor Bassist

By 
Peter Gordon
January 16, 2009
WestFest 4: A Concert to Benefit the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship at Berklee includes world-renowned musicians and professors, playing tribute to Wehmiller.

The Allan Holdsworth/Alan Pasqua Group featuring Chad Wackerman and Jimmy Haslip, a supergroup of four legends from the jazz/fusion music scene, will headline WesFest 4: A Concert to Benefit the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship for Berklee College of Music at the Knitting Factory in Los Angeles on February 26, 2009.

WesFest 4 is cosponsored by Mike Lull Custom Basses and D'Addario & Co. Doors open at 7:00 p.m. at the Knitting Factory, 7021 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles. Advance tickets are available through February 23 for $30 a pair or $20 per ticket ($30 per ticket at the door). Ticket orders and donations will be accepted via check or credit card.

"We're so grateful to Jimmy Haslip for helping to bring this incredible group of musicians into the WesFest concert series," said Peter Gordon, director of the Berklee Center in Los Angeles. "Though we've grown and exceeded our goals every year so far, this has exponential potential for the WesFest community."

The scholarship fund honors Wes Wehmiller (1971–2005), a Berklee graduate ('92) and highly accomplished bassist, athlete, and photographer who died of thyroid cancer in 2005. Established by his family and friends, the Wes Wehmiller Endowed Scholarship is awarded annually to a continuing student at Berklee who best exemplifies the excellence and grace Wehmiller showed as a bassist and as a human being. The WesFest concert series has raised more than $32,000 for the fund to date and this fourth annual concert is the centerpiece of an annual fundraising drive for the scholarship fund.

WesFest 4's headliner, the Allan Holdsworth/Alan Pasqua Group featuring Chad Wackerman and Jimmy Haslip, features four virtuoso musicians and artists in their own right, joining forces for a set of high-powered jazz/fusion. With the trailblazing, iconoclastic Holdsworth on guitar, the jazz/pop crossover threat Pasqua on keys, the Latin-influenced jazz/fusion stalwart (and Yellowjackets cofounder) Haslip on bass, and unpredictably creative Frank Zappa vet Wackerman on drums, it's an embarrassment of musical riches that can't adequately be described in a paragraph.

"All of the musicians involved in this show are leading by example in making a difference for the musicians of tomorrow," said WesFest 4 producer Stacey Ferguson. "And they're all fantastic players. It's going to be an amazing night!"

The event will feature four additional acts: the power trio of Keneally-Minnemann-Beller (featuring material from each of the band's renowned members, guitarist/composer Mike Keneally, bassist and founding WesFest producer Bryan Beller, and drummer Marco Minnemann); Los Angeles singer/songwriter Tamara Silvera; the WesFest All-Stars (featuring the music of Mother Eff, FlynnFernquistKonnerth, soul/r&b artist Kira Small, singer/songwriter Ali Handal, and the return of Wes's original rock band, I, Claudius); and Danny Mo and the Exciters, featuring Wehmiller's Berklee bass professor and close friend Danny Morris, as well as 2008 Wehmiller scholarship award winner, Steffie Willis, performing with a band of all-Berklee graduates.

From 1997 through 2001, Wehmiller toured worldwide with the multi-platinum pop band Duran Duran, and appeared on many TV shows with them as well, including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Today Show, VH-1's Storytellers, and Hard Rock Live. He performed with Missing Persons and several other L.A.-based bands, and his work appears on numerous recordings produced in the L.A. area and in Vancouver. He gained endorsement deals with SWR bass amplification systems and La Bella Strings.

For additional biographical information on Wes Wehmiller and the WesFest concert series, as well as new details about WesFest 4 as they become available, visit the official Tribute to Wes Wehmiller website at weswehmiller.net. For questions about tickets or donating to the fundraising drive, contact Peter Gordon at 818 380-3041 or pgordon@berklee.edu.