Members of The Eagles Stage Band perform on the steps of Pittsfield City Hall to help launch Jazz Week in 2007.
Members of The Eagles Stage Band perform on the steps of Pittsfield City Hall to help launch Jazz Week in 2007. (Eagle File Photo)
Thursday October 4, 2012

PITTSFIELD - The 8th annual Pittsfield City Jazz Festival kicks off tonight with an appearance by the Pittsfield Sister City Jazz Ambassadors at Patrick's Pub, 6:30 to 9:30.

This is the first in the festival's Jazz About Town series of "jazz crawl" performances through Monday that features local musicians in restaurants and lounges throughout downtown ( see schedule in box).

The festival, which runs through Oct. 13, spans the spectrum of jazz, and includes performances by the New England Jazz Ensemble with guest soloists Giacomo Gates and Ali Ryerson, Oct. 13, 8 p.m., at Colonial Theatre; and The Jazz Arts Trio, Oct. 12, 7:30 p.m., at Barrington Stage Company's Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center, 36 Linden St.

The festival's Jazz Prodigy series will feature trumpet player Adam O'Farrill, son of renowned pianist Arturo O'Farrill, in his Berkshires debut Wednesday evening at 7 at the Berkshire Athenaeum in a concert sponsored by the Friends of the Athenaeum. His quartet has appeared at significant jazz venues in New York.

Immediately following the Jazz Prodigy concert, Berkshire Theatre Group, in collaboration with Berkshires Jazz, will present Michael Bellar and the AS-IS Ensemble, at The Garage in the Colonial Theatre. This performance begins at 8:30.

The headline weekend opens on Friday, Oct. 12 with the Jazz Arts Trio, headed by the concert pianist Frederick Moyer.


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The Jazz Arts Trio, through note-for-note transcriptions of historic moments in piano jazz, is keeping alive music that otherwise would live on only in recordings. Their latest CD, "Swing of Many Colors," includes a full re-performance of Ahmad Jamal's landmark album "But Not For Me: Live at the Pershing."

The New England Jazz Ensemble is a 16- piece big band whose repertoire will include material from the band's latest CD, recorded live in performance in Hartford, Conn. They appeared at the first Pittsfield CityJazz Festival in 2006, putting the festival on the map when they issued a recording from that performance.

A renowned jazz/ blues vocalist, Giacomo Gates will be a guest artist with the New England Jazz Ensemble. His CD "Luminosity" spent over three months in the top 20 of the Jazz Week charts. Gates has been nominated as Jazz Vocalist of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association.

Guest soloist Ali Ryerson has emerged as one of the most versatile flutists on the scene.

She has performed with such diverse talents as Billy Taylor, Kenny Barron, Stephane Grappelli, and Frank Wess. She put alto flute in the spotlight in her years of duet concerts and recordings with guitarist Joe Beck.

The New England Jazz Ensemble with Gates and Ryerson will appear with the Williams College Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of Andy Jaffe.

The 18-piece Williams College band first appeared at the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival in 2008, with special guest artist drummer Winard Harper. Jaffe, a renowned educator, composer and performer, is Lyell B. Clay, artist- in- residence in jazz and director of jazz performance/ senior lecturer in music at Williams College.



2012 Pittsfield City Jazz Festival

TONIGHT Sister City Jazz Ambassadors

Patrick's Pub Park Square

6:30-9:30 p.m.

FRIDAY Woody Stroebeck Duo

Spice Dragon

297 North St.

6:30-9:30 p.m.

Fran Tokarz Guitar Trio

The Lantern

455 North St.

9-11 p.m.

Sister City Jazz Ambassadors

Mission Tapas Bar and Restaurant

438 North St.

7:30-10:30 p.m.

SATURDAY Rob Fisch Quartet

Patrick's Pub Park Square

7-10 p.m.

ohnny Pontoon Quintet

Baba Louie's Backroom

34 Depot St.

7-10 p.m.

Ted Murray Trio

Port Smitt Restaurant Pecks Road

7:30-10:30 p.m.

SUNDAY Benny Kohn Piano Brunch Dottie's Coffee Lounge

444 North St.

11 a.m.-1 p.m.

MONDAY Andy Wrba and Friends

Mission Tapas Bar &Restaurant

438 North St.

8-11 p.m.