Slideshow: Beantown Jazz Festival 2016
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.