Slideshow: Beantown Jazz Festival 2016

Belinda Huang
September 30, 2016
Mili sings passionately over the crowd.
Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival crowd
Drum group Grooversity entertains Beantown audience.
Berklee President Roger H. Brown and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh
In the instrument petting zoo at Beantown, getting introduced to the upright bass
Billy Hart plays drums with his trio.
Vendors and crowds at Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival 2016
Bassist Lenny Stalwarth performs.
A couple dances along to the Al Jarreau tribute band.
A cappella group Pitch Slapped excites the crowd.
Latin jazz vocalist Mili Bermejo performs on the Capital One stage at the 2016 Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival, known as "Boston's biggest block party."
The festival attracted tens of thousands of music lovers from the region, offering three performance stages, local vendors, and kids activities on Saturday, September 24.
Marcus Santos' Brazilian drum group, Grooversity, entertains the crowd through engaging, upbeat street performances, inviting the audience to participate and dance.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh (right) and Berklee President Roger H. Brown (left) welcome attendees to the 2016 Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival.
A young festival attendee is introduced to the upright bass at the instrument petting zoo.
Legendary jazz drummer Billy Hart, who has performed alongside Otis Redding, Wes Montgomery, and Wayne Shorter, among others, lit up the Berklee Stage with his trio.
A vast array of local vendors lined Columbus Avenue, attracting a plethora of festival-goers to enjoy food and drink as well as arts and crafts.
Berklee associate professor and bassist Lenny Stallworth performed with his band, Black Steel, on the Capital One Stage, bringing funk- and R&B-fused jazz to the field.
A couple joyfully dances along to “We’re in This Love Together,” performed by the Al Jarreau Tribute Band, featuring Jeff Ramsey, associate voice professor, and Berklee students.
Berklee student a cappella group Pitch Slapped performs energetic original arrangements of current and past pop hits such as “The Way” by Ariana Grande and “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder.
Mike Spencer
Kate Flock
Mike Spencer
Mike Spencer
Mike Spencer
Mike Spencer
Mike Spencer
Mike Spencer
Mike Spencer
Kate Flock

Music lovers enjoyed a breezy fall day in Boston—packed with music, food, and crafts—at the 2016 Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival on Saturday, September 24. Known as “Boston’s biggest block party,” the free annual event featured three performance stages—the Beantown Stage, Capital One Stage, and Berklee Stage—and showcased more than 15 groups. This year’s theme was “Jazz: A Peace Supreme,” a nod to John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme (the late Coltrane would have turned 90-years-old the weekend of the festival).

The festival kicked off on the night of Friday, September 23 with a performance by acclaimed jazz guitarist John Scofield ’73 at the Berklee Performance Center. Saturday’s outdoor stages primarily highlighted jazz acts, although other styles, including R&B, funk, Latin, and rock, were also represented. The lineup included everyone from legendary jazz journeymen such as Billy Hart and his trio to fast up-and-coming cats like the Edmar Colón Quartet.

Many talented Berklee faculty also performed, including the Mili Bermejo Sextet, Lenny Stallworth and Black Steel, and Mark Shilansky and Fugue Mill, among others. Berklee students also delivered crowd-pleasing performances with Jeff Ramsey, associate voice professor, in a tribute to Al Jarreau, and with the college’s renowned a cappella group, Pitch Slapped (view full lineup).

The all-ages event included kid-friend activities such as an instrument petting zoo—in which kids are encouraged to try out assorted musical instruments—and KidsJam, an opportunity for the littlest festival-goers to dance, play percussive instruments, and sing as a group. Local arts, food, and craft vendors lined the festival’s Columbus Avenue stretch, providing multicultural flavors and treats.

The festival captured the spirit of Boston throughout, as the sounds of jazz filled the crisp fall air and brought smiles to tens of thousands of faces that call Beantown home.