Beantown Jazz Festival Announces 2015 Lineup
On September 26, music lovers of all ages will gather for the 15th annual Beantown Jazz Festival in Boston’s historic South End – home to several legendary clubs during Boston’s jazz heyday. The all-day, free outdoor event will offer contemporary jazz, funk, Latin, pop, and soul acts on three stages. Natixis Global Asset Management, one of the world’s leading asset managers, is the presenting sponsor of the festival for the fifth year in a row and will present a $5, 000 George Wein Jazz Ambassador Scholarship to a high school student musician.
The Beantown Jazz Festival – Boston’s biggest block party – takes place on Saturday, September 26, from noon to 6 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 berklee.edu/beantownjazz for updates and a full schedule of events.
Highlights include nine-time Grammy-nominated R&B artist Ledisi; tenor saxophonist Javon Jackson with legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb; 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; singer/songwriter Paige Bryan; rising funk bassist Alissia Benveniste and the Funketeers; and others.
Faculty and alumni also play a major role with performances by faculty artists George Garzone Quartet with the Teros String Quartet; Eguie Castrillo and the Palladium Nights Orchestra; Omar Thomas Large Ensemble with Stefon Harris; David Gilmore and Energies of Change; Marty Walsh and the Total Plan; and alumni acts Caili O’Doherty; ChoroBop; Carlos Averhoff Jr. and iRESI featuring Francisco Mela; and Felix Peikli and the Royal Flush Quintet.
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.”
During the Beantown Jazz Festival, Natixis will award a $5, 000 George Wein Jazz Ambassador Scholarship for a graduating high school senior to attend Berklee’s Five-Week Summer Performance Program. The scholarship is named in recognition of one of the original jazz ambassadors who has spent his life working to bring people together through the power of jazz. Natixis recently presented two additional music scholarships during the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island.
“Keeping jazz alive and harnessing its power to bring people together is important to Natixis, ” said Hailer. “Through our music scholarship program, we assist the next generation of artists in their musical and college pursuits as they strive to enhance the world through their music.”
The Natixis Family Park at the Beantown Jazz Festival will transform Carter Playground on Columbus Avenue with activities including inflatables, face painting, and an instrument petting zoo staffed by Berklee professionals. The park also hosts KidsJam, an interactive program led by Berklee’s Music Education department, introducing young children to a variety of musical activities, including singing and sound exploration, playing rhythm instruments, and creating, listening, and responding to music.
The outdoor celebration also features a variety of vendor booths offering foods and crafts from all over the world.
Discover 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.
Berklee College of Music, for the sixth year, is the proud recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to support the Beantown Jazz Festival and its theme. In awarding the prestigious Art Works grant to Berklee, the NEA cited the festival as a celebration of Boston’s diversity as reflected in the attendees, music, food, and crafts.
Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music is through the study and practice of contemporary music. For 70 years, the college has evolved to reflect the current state of the music industry, leading the way with baccalaureate studies in performance, music business/management, songwriting, music therapy, film scoring, and more. With a focus on global learning, Berklee in Valencia, a new campus in Spain, is hosting the college’s first graduate programs, while Berklee Online serves distance learners worldwide with extension classes and degree-granting programs. The Berklee City Music Network provides after-school programming for underserved teens in 47 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. With a student body representing nearly 100 countries and alumni and faculty that have won more than 325 Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards, Berklee is the world’s premier learning lab for the music of today—and tomorrow.