Sep 24, 2015
The Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival—Boston's biggest block party—takes place from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., on Columbus Avenue between Massachusetts Avenue and Burke Street in Boston's South End. The outdoor performances, which have drawn as many as 80,000 music fans, are open to the public free of charge. Check here for updates and a full schedule of events.
This year’s festival theme is Jazz: the Voice of the People. “Jazz is a universal language that unites cultures and brings communities together,” said John Hailer, president and chief executive officer of Natixis Global Asset Management in the Americas and Asia. “As one of the world’s premier cultural centers, Boston is a natural home to showcase this amazing American musical tradition, and we are proud to partner with Berklee again this year.”
The outdoor celebration also features a variety of vendor booths offering foods and crafts from all over the world. “Roxbury's High Notes of Jazz” Roxbury Walk is offering tours throughout the day for a nominal fee, exploring the area around the Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival. The site was once the epicenter of music, food, and nightlife for Boston's jazz community during the 1930s through 1950s. Tours will organize from the Discover Roxbury booth at the festival.
Musical highlights from multiple outdoor stages include nine-time Grammy-nominated R&B artist Ledisi; tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson with legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb; Marcus Miller; the Mosaic Project, a collective led by three-time Grammy-winning drummer and producer and Beantown artistic director Terri Lyne Carrington, with Philly-based soul/R&B vocalist Jaguar Wright; rising funk bassist Alissia Benveniste and the Funketeers; and many others, including our guest in this podcast, Berklee instructor and guitar ace David Gilmore.
David took some time from his schedule to talk with me about Berklee, the Festival and his current musical explorations. Musical selections from Festival artists include tracks from Javon Jackson & We Four (“Freddie Freeloader”); Marcus Miller (“Water Dance”); and Gilmore, here with his band Numerology (“Five, Change”). Tracks from recordings Gilmore made during his career with other artists include Ron Blake (“Sonic Tonic”); Don Byron (“Powerhouse”); and Molè (“Grass”).