The first college of jazz celebrates the birthplace of jazz as the 10th annual Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival pays tribute to the music and culture of New Orleans five years after hurricanes Katrina and Rita. From September 15 to 25, world-renowned superstars and popular local acts will perform free and ticketed concerts throughout the city. The 10-day event culminates on Saturday, September 25, in a free outdoor festival on three stages that stretches over six blocks in the South End and brings together people of all ages from every Boston neighborhood, throughout New England, and beyond. Last year's event drew over 80,000, a new festival record.
The festival's largest roster yet includes performances by 30 acts 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 copresented by Target and sponsored by Dunkin' Donuts, Blue Cross Blue Shield, WCVB-TV 5, and others. JazzBoston is a festival partner. The festival is also receiving support from the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information, call 617 747-2261 or visit beantownjazz.org.
"Jazz is one of America's greatest contributions to world culture. Without the music of New Orleans, there is no Berklee," says festival artistic director Terri Lyne Carrington. "So we're celebrating our 10th anniversary by giving Beantown a taste of the Big Easy, with New Orleans music on each stage of the outdoor festival, a traditional jazz band marching up and down Columbus Avenue, delicious Southern cuisine, and activities for the whole family."
Carrington has assembled a diverse and exciting lineup in her second year as artistic director. Among the highlights are Kurt Rosenwinkel and the Orchestra de Jazz de Matosinhos (9/15, BPC); the Bad Plus (9/17, BPC); the John Coltrane Memorial Concert (9/18, Northeastern University); Robert Glasper (9/23, Regattabar); Danilo Perez (9/23–9/24, Scullers); Paula Cole (9/24, BPC); and Terence Blanchard (9/25, Scullers).
The crown jewel is the free outdoor festival on Saturday, September 25, from noon to 6:00 p.m. on three stages on Columbus Avenue, starting at Massachusetts Avenue. Top acts include Al Kooper and the Funky Faculty, the Jonathan Batiste Trio, Greg Osby and Mark Turner, the Wild Magnolias, Nona Hendryx, the Julian Lage Trio, the Boogaloo Swamis, Rhiannon featuring Abraham Laboriel and Alex Acuña, Grace Kelly, Victor Mendoza, and others.
The Target Family Park returns to transform the Carter Playground on Columbus Avenue into a hub of activity for kids of all ages, with inflatables, rides, face painting, balloons, and an instrument petting zoo staffed with Berklee professionals. More than 80 vendor booths will offer arts, crafts, accessories, and great food representing a variety of countries.
To browse a list of Berklee BeanTown Jazz festival concerts, visit beantownjazz.org.