Berklee Today

Berklee to Produce BeanTown Jazz Festival

  Jazz Alliance: Darryl Settles (BeanTown Jazz Festival Founder), Joe Campanelli (CEO of Sovereign Bank, the festival's lead sponsor), Larry Simpson (festival executive producer), and Berklee President Roger Brown

President Roger Brown announced on May 5 that Berklee will assume the duties of producing Boston's annual BeanTown Jazz Festival. After drawing 40,000 jazz aficionados last year, the festival will be expanded this year and, for the first time, will produce musical events spanning three days.

Jazz pianist McCoy Tyner will kick off the festival on Friday, September 29, at the Berklee Performance Center with the all-star ensemble the Story of Impulse, featuring Nicholas Payton, Donald Harrison, and Steve Turre. Appearing Saturday on the outdoor stages will be alto saxophone giant Kenny Garrett and vocalist Carmen Lundy with their quartets. Also on the bill are "A Christian McBride Situation," featuring Oliver Lake, Patrice Rushen, and turntablist DJ Logic.

Branford Marsalis will have a stage dedicated to the artists on his Marsalis Music record label. Expected to appear on the Marsalis Music Stage are drummers Jimmy Cobb and Michael Carvin and guitarist/vocalist Doug Wamble. The Global Stage will showcase Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueke, who has worked with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Terence Blanchard since leaving Berklee in 1992. Loueke will perform with his Gilfema trio. Cuban pianist Omar Sosa will also appear on the Global Stage, followed by the jazz/hip-hop fusion of the Unwrapped All-Stars.

Pianist McCoy Tyner will perform with his ensemble the Story of Impulse  

Popular Boston-based bands, including some affiliated with the Berklee label Jazz Revelation Records, will perform throughout the day on Saturday. A family area, sponsored again this year by Target, will feature amusements, clowns, face painting, and a host of other activities for children.

The Sunday Gospel Brunch at the Colonnade Hotel is the newest addition to the festival and will round out the third day of music. Berklee alumnus Kendrick Oliver and his New Life Jazz Orchestra, a high-energy, gospel-inflected big band, will perform for the Sunday audiences.

Berklee Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Lawrence Simpson will serve as the ferstival's executive producer. Simpson came to Berklee last year from Cleveland, where he was president of Cuyahoga Community College's Metropolitan Campus, and was responsible for the production of the Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland. BeanTown Festival event production will be directed by Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs/Special Programs Rob Rose, whose staff, the Yo Team, oversees the production of hundreds of Berklee Performance Center concerts yearly. Simpson and Rose will work with festival founder Darryl Settles and artistic director Willard Jenkins.

Once again, Sovereign Bank is the festival's lead sponsor. A portion of the festival proceeds will support prostate cancer research and awareness, and Berklee City Music, the college's youth-outreach program.