Berklee Students Kick off Salem Jazz and Soul Festival

Nick Balkin
April 30, 2009
Carlos Averhoff Jr. IRESI Project
Cole DeGenova
Roy Guzman (center) and his band
Manami Morita

For the second straight year, the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival (August 15-16) will kick off in May with the Berklee Summer Series, featuring the college's top student ensembles. The lineup includes Cole DeGenova and the Peoples Republic (soul, funk), Carlos Averhoff Jr. IRESI Project (Latin jazz), Roy Guzman (modern jazz), and Dopapod (funk, r&b). Another Berklee act, the Manami Morita/Randy Runyon Group (modern jazz), will be featured performers at the Salem Jazz and Soul Festival on August 15. 

All concerts are free and open to the public. The series will take place one Saturday a month, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., May–August, at Derby Square, in front of Old Town Hall, Front Street, Salem, Massachusetts. The rain location is in the lobby of the Museum Place Mall, off Essex Street. The Salem Jazz and Soul Festival is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that produces free concerts for the public and raises money to support music education programs. For more information, visit or call 978 744-8258. 

Full schedule: 

May 9 - Cole DeGenova and the Peoples Republic

Cole DeGenova is a pianist, vocalist, percussionist, and the leader of Peoples Republic. A native of Chicago, DeGenova has performed with or opened for many of the city's top jazz and blues artists—Kurt Elling, Patricia Barber, Jon Faddis, and more. Though he plays classical, jazz, blues, Cuban, and Brazilian styles, his greatest influences are soul and r&b artists like Stevie Wonder, D'Angleo, Erykah Badu, and the Roots. Career highlights include touring the Midwest and Mississippi with blues band Hal Reed and the Mob; touring Switzerland with his funk/r&b band Apollo Jones; and being selected by the Jazz Institute of Chicago to perform at the world-renowned Auditorium Theatre. 

June 13 - Carlos Averhoff Jr. IRESI Project

Carlos Averhoff Jr. is a saxophonist, composer, arranger, and educator whose sound combines the rhythms of his native Cuba with modern styles of jazz and funk. Born in Havana, Averhoff began his musical training at the Manuel Saumell Music Conservatory, following in the footsteps of his father, also a renowned musician and educator. He graduated from Amadeo Roldan School of Music and also studied at the Superior Institute of Art (ISA). He has recorded with Buena Vista Social Club, Roberto Fonseca, Elmer Ferrer, Jorge Reyes, and others. In 2004, he settled in Spain, where he began leading his own quartet, and the following year, he took first place honors at the SGAE Awards for Jazz Interpretation and Composition. He came to Berklee in 2008 after receiving several scholarships, including the prestigious Charlie Parker Scholarship. 

July 11 - Roy Guzman 

Roy Guzman is a 21-year-old guitarist and composer from Cupey, Puerto Rico. He has released two albums with his group Orbits12-6-5 (2005) and Desahogo (2008), and has performed at the Heineken, Carolina, San Juan, and Xalapa jazz festivals. He currently attends Berklee on scholarship where he has studied with Greg Osby, Hal Crook, Mick Goodrick, Tim Miller, Dave Tronzo, and Dave Santoro. 

August 8 - Dopapod 

Dopapod is an experimental funk four-piece led by Berklee student Eli Winderman. From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Winderman has played Hammond organ and other keyboard instruments in a variety of bands throughout the Northeast, performing with the likes of G Love, Melvin Sparks, Sam Kininger, Toussaint, Stanton Moore, and many others. 

August 15 - The Manami Morita/Randy Runyon Group 

Japanese pianist Manami Morita was selected as one of the top four pianists at Berklee in 2007 and was awarded the Mary Jane Earnhart Endowed Scholarship for outstanding musicianship. Guitarist Randy Runyon, from Washington, DC, came to Berklee on scholarship in 2005. He has performed with Terri Lyne Carrington at the Blue Note and Iridium jazz clubs in New York, as well as with Bob Mintzer, Randy Brecker, Mark Walker, Joe Lovano, and Tiger Okoshi. Runyon currently plays in the jazz/rock/funk band Animal Zoo