PITTSFIELD -- A tribute to the legendary pianist Dave Brubeck is among the headline events at the ninth annual Pittsfield CityJazz Festival, opening tonight and running through Oct. 20 in various venues in downtown Pittsfield.
In addition to the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, the lineup includes the rising tenor saxophonist Geoff Vidal; Jazz About Town (the annual "jazz crawl" that features local musicians in restaurants and lounges throughout downtown); and a new entry in the Jazz Prodigy series -- alto saxophonist Zoe Obadia, Outstanding Soloist award winner at the 2013 Essentially Ellington festival at Lincoln Center.
Sponsored by Berkshires Jazz, Inc., the festival kicks off on Columbus Day weekend with "Jazz About Town," the annual jazz crawl featuring local performers.
The crawl begins today, continues through Monday and includes solo pianists, vocalists and combos of various sizes.
Seven venues, all within walking distance of each other, are presenting ‘live' jazz Saturday between 5:30 and 11 p.m.
The festival gets back into high gear on Wednesday with its popular "Jazz Prodigy Concert." Alto saxophonist Zoe Obadia, fresh from her achievement at the Essentially Ellington festival, will perform at the Berkshire Athenaeum in a concert sponsored by the Friends of the Athenaeum. A high school senior from New Jersey, Obadia has been gaining recognition as a soloist and as a member of Jazz House Kids, a big band that also took high honors at the 2011 Charles Mingus Competition and Festival. Obadia's performance in Pittsfield continues the Berkshires Jazz tradition of showcasing young, talented musicians who have the potential to become significant figures on the jazz scene.
In addition to these free programs, Cultural Pittsfield is collaborating with Berkshires Jazz in presenting Michael Bellar and the As-Is Ensemble, as part of the Third Thursday block party on Oct. 17 (5-8 p.m., free, downtown Pittsfield).
The headline weekend then opens at 8 p.m. next Friday with the Geoff Vidal Quartet at Baba Louie's Backroom, 34 Depot St.
After several years touring and performing out of New Orleans, Vidal arrived in New York to quickly become a tenor-of-choice for a host of notable bandleaders and appear in some of the city's most prominent clubs.
Tickets for the Geoff Vidal Quartet concert are available online at www.BerkshiresJazz .org. There will be limited seating, and advance purchase is strongly advised.
The Brubeck Brothers Quartet performs at 8 p.m., Oct. 19 at the Colonial Theatre. The group features two members of one of America's most accomplished and distinguished musical families, Dan Brubeck (drums,) and Chris Brubeck (bass and trombone). Joining them are guitarist Mike DeMicco and pianist Chuck Lamb. They have performed at concert series, colleges and festivals across North America and Europe including the Newport, Detroit, Ravinia, Las Vegas, Sedona, Spokane and Monterey Jazz Festivals.
Of the group's many and varied CDs, their latest, "Lifetimes," is a tribute to their father, and was released a few months before his death in 2012.
SCHEDULE | 9th Annual Pittsfield CityJazz Festival
The Berkshires Jazz Youth Ensemble, comprising students from the Pittsfield High School jazz band and Herberg Middle School, will open the concert. Chris and Dan Brubeck will also appear as guest soloists with the youth ensemble, which is directed by Ronald A. Lively of Pittsfield High School.
Tickets now available at the Colonial Theatre's box office, 413-997-4444, or online at www.BerkshiresJazz.org.
Aside from the two ticketed events, all other concerts and performances are free, thanks to the generosity of sponsors and underwriters.
Berkshires Jazz, Inc. is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to present jazz events and encourage jazz education in Berkshire County. It was formed in 2008, as an outgrowth of the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival.