Berkshire Gateway Jazz begins


LEE -- The third annual Berkshire Gateway Jazz Weekend will fill the downtown with music, art and sweet flavors, when the Sounds of Shearing, the New Black Eagles Jazz Band and Sonny & Perley come to town.

Festivities also include a jazz brunch Sunday, an outdoor art show Saturday and "jazz about town," local performers in an outdoor setting.

Sonny Daye and Perley Rousseau will open the festival at 8 tonight, June 5, at the Spectrum Playhouse with a blend of jazz, bossa nova, American songbook standards and international cabaret.

"The Sounds of Shearing," will make its Northeast debut at 8 p.m. Friday, June 6, at the First Congregational Church.

For nearly 30 years, the George Shearing Quintet created a distinct jazz sound that defines a U.S. musical movement. Today, five master musicians -- including members of the original quintet -- are bringing back Shearing's sound in the town where he spent his summers for 10 years. (In fact, the band will be staying at the house where Shearing stayed.)

The ensemble, led by Charlie Shoemake on vibraphone, includes Joe Bagg on piano; Ron Anthony, guitar; Luther Hughes, bass; and Bill Goodwin, drums.

The New Black Eagle Jazz Band returns to the Berkshires after a five-year hiatus at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 7 at the First Congregational Church. This seven-piece band has performed jazz from the 1920s and ‘30s for more than 30 years.

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