Concert

Berklee Global Jazz Institute Ensemble

Saturday / April 9, 2011 / 8:00 p.m.
Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center
260 South Broad Street
Philadelphia
PA
United States
19102

Student musicians from the Berklee Global Jazz Institute will perform in a concert celebrating Thelonious Monk's 1959 New York Town Hall concert. Parisian jazz pianist Martial Solal is the headliner.

Admission: 

William Fitzsimmons / Slow Runner

Saturday / April 2, 2011 / 8:00 p.m.
Red Room at Cafe 939
939 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
United States
02115
William Fitzsimmons

William Fitzsimmons draws from those early folks stylings of his mother's music and the embellished instrumentation of his father's. He is often compared to contemporaries Sufjan Stevens, Iron & Wine, and the late Elliott Smith, not only for his unique style and skill in writing and proclivity to deal with substantive and evocative subject matter, but also for his use of organic and colorful melodies and arrangements.

William Fitzsimmons is one of the oddest people you will ever meet. Born the youngest child of two blind parents, he was raised in the outskirts of the steel city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Due to the family's inability to communicate through normal visual means, his childhood home was filled with a myriad of sounds to replace what eyes could not see. The house was suffused with pianos, guitars, trombones, talking birds, classical records, family sing-a-longs, bedtime stories, and the bellowing of a pipe organ, which his father built into the house with his own hands. When his father's orchestral records were not resonating through the walls, his mother would educate him on the folk stylings of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and Simon & Garfunkel. By the completion of his schooling, Fitzsimmons had become well-versed at a variety of instruments, at the minor expense of social standing, interactional skills, and a knowledge of proper shaving technique.

Fitzsimmons's path into music was likewise unusual, forsaking the hobby for many years to work with the mentally ill and pursue an education in the field of mental health. It was during his last semester of graduate school that Fitzsimmons pooled money from past birthdays, holidays, and snow shoveling outings, and bought cheap home recording equipment to begin creating songs again (the first collection of which eventually became his debut album). After finally achieving his goal of becoming a practicing therapist, Fitzsimmons returned again to his love of crafting and playing songs. Somewhere between a singing therapist and a counselor who writes songs is where Fitzsimmons endeavors to be, using songs to address matters that he believes need to be addressed.

His first two records were completely self-produced, and his new album, The Sparrow and the Crow, produced by Marshall Altman at Galt Line Studios in Los Angeles, is his first studio recorded work. While his lyricism deals often with darker undertones (his most recent album is said to have been written following his own divorce), a measure of hopefulness is always carefully blended in. Even with his short tenure as a songwriter, Fitzsimmons has already received mention in noted publications such as Billboard, Paste, and Performing Songwriter Magazine, and his music has been featured on several television programs such as Grey's Anatomy and Army Wives.

Also appearing is Slow Runner. The group started in 2003 when singer-songwriter Michael Flynn and multi-instrumentalist Josh Kaler began musically fornicating together after college.

Admission: 
general admission, $15, advance, $17.50 day of show

Convey / Noize Tank / The Bloodline

Friday / April 8, 2011 / 8:00 p.m.
Red Room at Cafe 939
939 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
United States
02115

Whether the inspiration comes from light and color, from social concerns, from cathartic moments, or simply from any one of the bands' diverse musical influences, Convey uses music to reach its audience at a level both personal and deep. Convey's music is a dynamic, jarring, chaotic, controlled, melodic, and meaningful glimpse into the band's personal and collaborative sensitivities.

Formed in the spring of 2010 from students at Berklee College of Music, each member of Noize Tank has a unique background and influence, drawing all the way from Art Blakey to Muse. Since then, they've worked to develop an inspiring sound: not so much defined by its bright grooves, lush harmonies, or blaring intensity, but by the way it makes gets a person moving and to tell their friends about it.

Consisting of Elliott Klein (guitar/voice), Mike Ball (bass) and Shawn Crowder (drums), the Bloodline provides a fresh new face to Rock delivering powerful riffs and solos combined with a soulful voice. The band just released its debut album, with simple lyrics that cut deep set to a infectious groove. Over the past year, they've played such showcases as the Levi/Fader Fort at SXSW and NYRP's NYC Grows Festival. Make sure to stay tuned for shows coming this fall.

Admission: 
Free

Columbus / China Fox

Thursday / March 31, 2011 / 8:00 p.m.
Red Room at Cafe 939
939 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
United States
02115
Columbus

Columbus is an authentic '70s funk/soul band, celebrating the '70s music legacy, paying homage to funk pioneers like James Brown, George Clinton, and Sly and the Family Stone. Columbus guarantees a funky performance you will not forget.

Starting as merely an idea conceived from a number of influences, China Fox has grown to become a pop/soul/R&B band, playing music for whoever wants to share in the experience. They have reinvented the meaning of diversity, bringing in sounds from all over the world, while maintaining old-school, "get up and dance" kind of grooves.

Admission: 
$5

The Be-Bop Guitars

Sunday / April 17, 2011 / 4:00 p.m.
Shalin Liu Performance Center
37 Main St.
Rockport
MA
United States
01966

The Be-Bop Guitars is an all-faculty guitar ensemble featuring five guitars and rhythm section performing specialized compositions and arrangements written specifically for the band. The group is celebrating its 20th year of existence. Trumpet/flute, vibes, bass, and drums are also from the esteemed Berklee faculty. The nine members of the band have a combined total of more than 200 years of Berklee jazz educator experience and an equal number of years in which the individuals have performed in numerous musical settings throughout the world.

The group began in 1991 by performing arrangements from Supersax and other similar ensembles. Later, the group expanded their repertoire by adding to the book,  writing new arrangements and compositions. Although rooted in the bop tradition, the band plays a variety of materials that reflect the long history of jazz music. Over the years, the ensemble has garnered a steady following of fans that enjoy guitar-oriented jazz.

The band has released two albums:  The Be-Bop Guitars . . . And More! (2000) and Freshly Painted Blues (2007).

Members are John Baboian (guitar and music director), Larry Baione (guitar), Jon Damian (guitar), Garrison Fewell (guitar), John Marasco (guitar), Jerry Seeco (trumpet/flute), Rich Greenblatt (vibes), Ron Mahdi (bass), and Larry Finn (drums).

Admission: 
$18, $24, $32

Syncopation

Monday / April 11, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
Arsenal Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street
Watertown
MA
United States
02472

The Boston Globe calls Syncopation "the 21st-century Manhattan Transfer or Lambert, Hendricks and Ross," and it is easy to see why. Like those legendary vocal groups, Syncopation performs jazz and pop music in four-part harmony with a style that is both timeless and up-to-the-minute. As an added treat, each of the singers also plays an instrument or two—trumpet, trombone, piano, and percussion—providing the excitement of a band much larger in size.

You may have seen Syncopation on WBZ-TV singing with the Boston Pops on their 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular (2009). The group often performs with instrumental accompaniment of piano, bass, and drums, but it is equally renowned for its a cappella singing, which has earned it regional and national awards from Harmony Sweepstakes.

In its inception, Syncopation was mentored by Cheryl Bentyne of the Manhattan Transfer. Its first album, A New Dance, featured contributions from bebop trombone legend Phil Wilson, formidable jazz fusion trumpeter Tiger Okoshi, and Paul Stiller of the groundbreaking vocal group Vox One.

After signing a record contract with Geneon Entertainment in Japan, Syncopation's album Of Blue was recorded in Tokyo with some of Japan's hottest jazz musicians such as pianist Satoru "Salt" Shionoya.

On Wonderful You, Syncopation's most recent CD, the group interprets pop songs from the past 40 years. R&B, soul, folk, fusion and electropop are transformed by jazz harmonies, rhythms, and style. "A unique spin on classic syncopated music with great voices," says Jordan Rich (WBZ).

A collaboration with Gold and Platinum award–winning producer Anthony Resta has produced several Syncopation singles which have been released as digital downloads.

Syncopation has performed at the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, the Tri-C Vocal Jazz Festival, the Boston Globe Jazz Festival, the Meihou Music Festival in Japan, and the International Association for Jazz Education Conference. The group regularly plays jazz clubs in New England like Scullers, Ryles, the Hi-Hat, the Sahara Club, and the Press Room. Media appearances have included radio (WBZ, Jordan Rich; WBUR, Robin Young's Here and Now; WGBH, Eric Jackson's Eric in the Evening) and TV (CN8's Backstage with Sara Edwards).

All About Jazz calls Syncopation "a thoroughly modern, bright, and fresh take on ensemble jazz vocals that effectively updates the entire genre."

Syncopation is: Aubrey Johnson, Christine Fawson, David Thorne Scott, and Tsunenori "Lee" Abe, accompanied by Mark Shilansky- on piano, Greg Holt on bass, and Steve Langone on drums.

Admission: 
$18, $15 students/seniors/Arsenal members

Field Trip

Thursday / March 24, 2011 / 1:00 p.m.
Steve Heck Room
1140 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
United States
02215

Field Trip is an exciting instrumental band blending influences of blues, funk, jazz, reggae, and more. The band has been booked at numerous clubs and festivals in the Boston area and will be touring Sweden in October 2011. Field Trip is completing its first album of all-original material, scheduled for release in late spring 2011. Led by Ryan Fleming '03 (guitar), the March 24 appearance will feature Tim Paul Weiner '03 (bass) and Nadjim Kebir (drums and percussion).

Admission: 
Free

Tall Heights / Darlingside

Thursday / May 5, 2011 / 8:00 p.m.
Red Room at Cafe 939
939 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
United States
02115
Tall Heights

Boston's favorite acoustic duo, Tall Heights, have wowed countless audiences on tour around Massachusetts, New England, New York, and D.C. With their catchy and refreshing flavor of acoustic folk/pop, these two have driven themselves past the banal indie-rock drums-and-bass setup, eliciting comparisons to Andrew Belle, Bon Iver, and Glen Hansard.

Classically trained cellist Paul Wright soars with soulful vocals over his antique cello, which he rocks standing up. Guitarist Tim Harrington sports a striking vibrato over folk- and rock-influenced fingerpicking and strumming. But critics agree: It's the harmonies—vocal and instrumental alike—that create something larger than expected from the two quiet hipsters in their mid-20s.

The longtime acquaintances began writing and performing together in 2006. They found themselves instantly inspired by each other's writing styles, passion for vocal harmonies, and musical craftsmanship. Since releasing the full-length Smoke Signals in 2009, Tall Heights have taken to the streets, wowing the thousands of visitors to Boston's Faneuil Hall Marketplace by day and touring by night.

Darlingside is a Western Massachusetts "string-rock" quintet that is exploding onto stages across the northeast. Together only a year, the group has already played to packed houses from Portland to D.C. Lush five-part vocal harmonies, classical cello/violin duets, and compelling breakbeats characterize the band's sound. Darlingside keeps audiences on their toes with exuberant stage presence, spontaneous a cappella, frequent instrument switches, mind-boggling covers, and a widely eclectic, cross-genre blend of original material. The quintet's unquestionable originality comes from an unlikely hodgepodge of musical backgrounds, which encompass busking, classical trios, ethnomusicology, a cappella groups, boy choirs, and Maine sunset boat cruises.

 

 

Admission: 
$8 advance, $10 day of show. General admission.

Lucy Woodward / Rachel Platten

Saturday / April 30, 2011 / 8:00 p.m.
Red Room at Cafe 939
939 Boylston Street
Boston
MA
United States
02115
Lucy Woodward

Lucy Woodward, raised on plenty of opera music, as well as jazz, classic soul, pop, and rock, has just released her third album. Her influences include her father (a composer and conductor), her mother (a music teacher who sang opera), Etta James, and Big Mama Thornton.

Beautiful, but not brazen. Passionate, but never preachy. Populist, but definitely not prosaic. New York singer-songwriter, pianist, and beatboxer Rachel Platten is by no means your average headliner-in-the-making. Her Rock Ridge Music debut, Be Here, is a bewitching collection of ten wise-beyond-their-years piano-driven pop songs that echo elements of Alanis Morissette, Carole King, Tori Amos, and Regina Spektor, while retaining a singular sense of self that is rarely found in such a young performer.

Admission: 
$12, general admission

Alan Benzie Quartet

Friday / April 1, 2011 / 7:30 p.m.
Next Generation Festival
1 Portola Plaza
Monterey
CA
United States
93940
Alan Benzie Quartet

The Alan Benzie Quartet will perform as part of the Monterey Jazz Festival's Next Generation Jazz Festival, April 1–3 at the Monterey Conference Center in downtown Monterey, California. The group, led by former BBC Scotland Young Jazz Artist of the Year Alan Benzie and featuring acclaimed Lafayette, California trumpeter Aaron Bahr, will perform four times on the festival.

On Friday, April 1, the Alan Benzie Quartet will perform as part of the festival's welcome concert, at 7:30 p.m. in the Conference Center's Serra Ballroom. On Saturday, April 2, at 2:00 p.m., also in the Serra Ballroom, the group will give a performance clinic for the assembled high school musicians, devoted to the subject of highly tuned group interaction, entitled Music: The Whole Experience. Also on Saturday: a 5:00 p.m. performance at Gilbert's Seafood Grill, 30 Fisherman's Wharf; and from 10:00 p.m. to midnight, the group is back in the Serra Ballroom to anchor the festival's popular student jam session, supporting and providing pointers to the assembled high school musicians.

The Alan Benzie Quartet is composed of four top scholarship students from Berklee. 

Described early on by leading U.K. jazz critic John Fordham as "a very bright prospect," pianist/composer Alan Benzie is one of the U.K.'s most exciting young talents. Named BBC Scotland Young Jazz Musician of the Year at just 17, he moved to Boston to attend Berklee, where he has won several high-profile awards, most recently the prestigious 2010/2011 Billboard Magazine Endowed Scholarship. Benzie's combination of percussive virtuosity and flowing lyricism has earned him widespread critical praise, and he has toured in the last year in France, Hungary, Poland, and the U.K., as well as appearing at the London Jazz Festival. He has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, Joe Locke, and Valery Ponomarev, and has studied with JoAnne Brackeen, Laszlo Gardony, Joe Lovano, and Hal Crook.

Trumpeter and composer Aaron Bahr first came to Berklee in 2008 as the Monterey Jazz Festival's 12th Jimmy Lyons Scholar; recipient of a full scholarship presented each year to one student living in the Western U.S. Before beginning at Berklee he was selected for national and regional honors, including the Gibson/Baldwin Grammy Jazz Ensemble, the Brubeck Institute Summer Jazz Colony, and the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Orchestra. Bahr has had the pleasure of studying and/or performing with such musicians as Maria Schneider, Ron Carter, Mulgrew Miller, Tiger Okoshi, and Greg Hopkins. He is dedicated to creating music with harmonic and rhythmic interest, without sacrificing beautiful melody.  

Dylan Coleman is a bassist from Townsend, Massachusetts. He studied classical piano at a young age before switching to electric bass to join a local band. After performing in the Massachusetts All-State Jazz Ensemble in high school, he switched to the double bass and attended Berklee, graduating in May 2010. At Berklee, he studied with John Lockwood, Bruno Raberg, and Oscar Stagnaro, and also won the Norm Nathan Award for Outstanding Musicianship. The love of music and the arts has inspired Coleman to work in a variety of settings, from completely improvised to through-composed, and with dancers, filmmakers, and spoken word. He has had the opportunity to perform throughout his native New England and has toured extensively throughout Europe, where he plans to move to continue his studies.

Jun Young Song is a drummer from Seoul, Korea. From early childhood, he was exposed to his father's classical music collection, and he started studying classical piano at age five. He switched his principal instrument to drum set at 17. In 2003, Jun began his mandatory two years in the Korean military and joined the Army Band as a percussionist, performing at events like the Jeju International Brass Festival and the Wonju Tattoo. At Berklee, he has studied with Darren Barrett, Terri Lyne Carrington, Hal Crook, Ian Froman, Jamey Haddad, Dave Samuels, and Dave Santoro. He also received the Tony Lada Award in May of 2008 and, in 2009, the Zildjian Award for outstanding percussionist at Berklee.

Admission: 

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