Berklee Series Brings Gypsy, Swing, Latin, and Jazz to Cambridge

By
Nick Balkin
July 1, 2008
Pat Carroll
Eleonora Bianchini

Berklee presents the Regattabar Courtyard Series (a.k.a. "Burger Eats and Berklee Beats"), featuring rising young artists from a variety of styles-including Gypsy, swing, Latin, and contemporary jazz-with executive chef Peter Davis flipping burgers on the grill. It takes place Wednesdays - August 6, 13, 20, and 27-from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Charles Hotel Courtyard (behind the hotel) at One Bennett Street, Cambridge. The concerts are wheelchair accessible. For more information, call 617 661-5000 or visit regattabarjazz.com.

August 6 - Pat Carroll: Carroll, a saxophonist from Pleasanton, California, has been dedicated to music since he began studying with noted San Francisco musician Dann Zinn at 12. In his junior year of high school, Carroll was awarded the Jimmy Lyons scholarship at the 2004 Monterey Jazz Festival. In 2005, he was commissioned to write and perform original music as a member of the SFJAZZ Young Composers Project, a group that rehearsed with Ravi Coltrane, Miguel Zenon, Vijay Iyer, and Maria Schneider. At Berklee, Carroll has studied with Hal Crook, Ralph Peterson, and Joe Lovano. His composition "Mighty Aphrodite" appears on the new Jazz Revelation Records release, Common Ground. For more information, visit myspace.com/pcmus1c.

August 13 - Alex Meek and Shine: From Texas, Meek was first inspired by his father, renowned glass artist Bill Meek. At 8, he started to play the guitar and soon discovered an interest in bluegrass, Texas swing, and gutbucket roadhouse blues. Meek went on to study with Brandon Gist, a noted blues guitarist from Memphis, as well as Austin-based Gypsy and Western swing guitarist Django Porter, who invited Meek to join his trio for a series of dates in Texas. After enrolling at Berklee in 2005, Meek started Shine, a quartet that performs Gypsy jazz, traditional Gypsy music, original compositions, and swing. The band includes bassist Greg Albert, violinist Claudio Olacella, and clarinetist Mike Sachs. For more information, visit myspace.com/romipen.

August 20 - Eleonora Bianchini: Originally from Perugia, Italy, Eleonora Bianchini is a young singer whose voice creates a warm and charming atmosphere. She is inspired by many Brazilian and Latin American artists, including Rosa Passos, Caetano Veloso, Mayte Martin, and Eva Ayllón. Bianchini has collaborated with artists and Berklee faculty members such as Oscar Stagnaro, Leo Blanco, and Dan Moretti, and has also recorded with Danilo Perez's Big Band project. She is currently lead vocalist of Peru Mestizo with band leader Oscar Stagnaro and is recording a project that features her own compositions in different South American styles, with lyrics in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. For more information, visit myspace.com/eleonorabianchini.

August 27 - Berklee Monterey Quartet: Each fall, Berklee chooses four of its finest students to play the Monterey Jazz Festival, where they perform to standing-room-only audiences, like this group did in 2007. Members of the Berklee Monterey Quartet are already highly sought after, with dozens of professional credits, major awards, and concerts. Leader Mika Nishimura, from Tokyo, holds the coveted piano chair in the IAJE Sisters in Jazz Quintet and was chosen to perform at the Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center.