Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival, Sept. 18-26, 2009

By
Nick Balkin
June 8, 2009
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth
Photo by Phil Farnsworth

Now in its ninth year, the Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival—Boston's largest and most popular outdoor festival—has expanded to nine days and nine stages at locations in Boston and Cambridge, and has named world-renowned drummer and Berklee professor Terri Lyne Carrington its new artistic director.

From September 18 to 26, superstars and local artists will come together in free and ticketed offerings that have drawn upwards of 70,000 people of all ages from every neighborhood in Boston and all over New England. The festival's largest roster yet will feature performances by more than 20 bands and 130 musicians at the Berklee Performance Center (BPC), Scullers Jazz Club, Regattabar, Wally's Cafe, Berklee's Cafe 939, and David Friend Recital Hall, and outdoor stages along Columbus Avenue. The Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival is sponsored by Target and Dunkin' Donuts. For a complete list of all events, venues, and performers, visit beantownjazz.org.

Tickets for all shows are on sale now, and will be available at the BPC box office at 136 Massachusetts Avenue, and through Ticketmaster at 617 931-2000 and ticketmaster.com. Call 617 747-2261 or visit berkleebpc.com for more information.

Terri Lyne Carrington, a native of Medford, Massachusetts, was one of the festival's headliners in 2008 before being named its artistic director in 2009. Her deep musical network and knowledge make her an ideal choice to lead BeanTown as it expands its scope and moves towards becoming one of the nation's premier jazz festivals. She has received Grammy nominations both as a performer (for her solo album Real Life Story) and as a producer (for the Dianne Reeves album That Day), and has an extensive touring career of more than 20 years with luminaries such as Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Al Jarreau.

Carrington has assembled an exciting and dynamic lineup in her first year as artistic director. Highlights include three-time Grammy-winning saxophonist and Berklee alumnus Branford Marsalis (September 23, BPC); Kickin' the Blues, a concert featuring six-time Grammy-winning saxophonist David Sanborn and vocalists Amina Claudine Myers and Kevin Mahogany (September 25, BPC); multi-Grammy-nominated vocalist Kurt Elling (September 24-25, Scullers); influential pianist/composer Ahmad Jamal (Sept. 18-19, Regattabar); and Love and Hunger, an original play about the life and work of Billie Holiday, written and performed by Berklee students (September 24, David Friend Recital Hall).

On Saturday, September 26, the free Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival will take place from noon to 6:00 p.m. on three stages over six blocks on Columbus Avenue, starting at Massachusetts Avenue, with a shimmering array of talent.

Also at the Columbus Avenue festival site will be an expanded Target Family Park, returning with even more fun activities for the whole family, including inflatable attractions, photos, face painting, temporary tattoos, coloring and crafts, free snacks and beverages, and an instrument petting zoo. More than 80 vendor booths will offer arts, crafts, accessories, and great food representing a variety of countries.

"This festival is a testament to Boston's reputation as a music hub and its dedication to jazz and producing and nurturing great artists," says Terri Lyne Carrington, BeanTown Jazz Festival artistic director. "As a native and recent returnee to the area, I'm thrilled for this chance to give back to the community by throwing a big party for Boston. I hope people come out to fraternize with their neighbors, enjoy the delicious food, and hear some incredible music."