BeanTown Jazz Festival, Dominique Eade Quartet
January 1, 1970This week's column was a news story: the Berklee College of Music is taking over production of the annual BeanTown Jazz Festival, which should mean that the trend toward booking actual jazz for the festival — as opposed to smooth and Latin jazz — should continue. Already this yesr's festival will be bringing McCoy Tyner, Kenny Garrett, Christian McBride to Boston for the three-day festival at the end of September.
The Calendar pick was Dominique Eade, whose set last night was again a winner. Her three sideman — Bill Pierce, Jed Wilson, and John Lockwood — all played brilliantly. Dominique's singing was superb, and she introduced a bunch of new material. And it was a good, long set — my wife and I had to skip the encoore and rush back to the baby sitter.
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Berklee to take reins of BeanTown Jazz Festival
By Bill Beuttler, Globe Correspondent | May 5, 2006
The six-year-old BeanTown Jazz Festival will get a welcome boost with the official announcement today that the Berklee College of Music is taking over production duties from founder Darryl Settles, with Settles staying on as "corporate ambassador" to the city, past and potential business sponsors, and assorted community groups.
Last year's festival drew more than 40,000 to the South End for the all-day outdoor event in late September, which added more mainstream jazz to the mix of smooth and Latin jazz that had dominated previous BeanTown festivals. That trend should continue under Larry Simpson, Berklee's senior vice president for academic affairs, who joined Berklee's faculty last fall after having overseen production of the respected Tri-C Jazz Festival-Cleveland while president of Cuyahoga Community College's metropolitan campus. Simpson's Tri-C associate Willard Jenkins will serve as the BeanTown festival's artistic director. One of the highlights of the festival will be a performance by the great McCoy Tyner.
"One won't be able to argue with the artistic quality," says Simpson of this year's festival, which runs Sept. 29-Oct. 1. "But I think we have something that will appeal to a broad range of people. I mean, we have some great talent coming to BeanTown at the end of September. We kick it off with McCoy Tyner and 'The Story of Impulse! Records,' featuring [trumpeter] Nicholas Payton and Steve Turre, whom I really love on trombone, and [saxophonist] Donald Harrison, who's a Berklee alum. So I think that's going to have a good deal of fire."
The Tyner set, honoring the seminal Impulse! jazz record label, is scheduled for the Berklee Performance Center on Sept. 29, opening the festival. The main portion of the festival takes place Saturday, Sept. 30, near the corner of Massachusetts and Columbus avenues, with three stages offering continuous music from noon until 7 p.m. Headlining the main stage, sponsored by Sovereign Bank, will be the quartets of saxophonist Kenny Garrett and vocalist Carmen Lundy, followed by the Christian McBride Situation, featuring saxophonist Oliver Lake, keyboardist Patrice Rushen, and turntablist DJ Logic.
New this year will be the Marsalis Music Stage, which will feature three artists from the Cambridge-based record label Marsalis Music: veteran drummers Jimmy Cobb and Michael Carvin, whose CDs launched the label's honors series earlier this year, and vocalist-guitarist Doug Wamble. A Global Stage will feature Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueke, who passed through town earlier this year in the band of Terence Blanchard and is on the cover of the May issue of Jazziz magazine; Cuban pianist Omar Sosa; and the jazz/ hip-hop fusion of the Unwrapped All-Stars.
"I think the surprise will be Omar Sosa," says Simpson. "He is quite inventive. I really like his music an awful lot."
Local musicians will get time onstage Saturday as well, according to Simpson.
As in past years, a family area, sponsored by Target, will feature amusements, clowns, face painting, and a host of other activities to keep children entertained throughout the day Saturday. The Saturday events will be free, though volunteers will be on hand to solicit contributions.
A feature being introduced this year is a Sunday gospel brunch at the Colonnade Hotel, where the gospel-edged big band Kendrick Oliver's New Life Orchestra will perform, joined by vocalist Kevin Mahogany. (Ticket prices for Friday's festival opener and the Sunday brunch have not been determined, but will be announced on the festival website: www.beantownjazz.org .)
Settles, who runs the Columbus Avenue restaurant Bob's Southern Bistro, says he's delighted to be turning over the BeanTown production reins to Berklee.
"I've done it for five years," says Settles, "and each year it has just grown and grown and grown. And it has just gotten so large and so demanding that it just can't continue to grow with a small operating team. I knew that Berklee is right here in our own backyard, and they're known around the world. Who better to run a jazz festival in Boston?"
© Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company
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Calendar Jazz Picks
Fri 5-5 The Dominique Eade Quartet with Bill Pierce, Jed Wilson, and John Lockwood
The Real Deal Jazz Club & Café, Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, 41 Second St., Cambridge. 617-876-7777. 9:30 p.m. $16. ($8 if combined with $12 ticket to 7 p.m. Cercie Miller Quartet performance the same night.)
Dominique Eade's shows last year in this same room, with three-quarters of this same group, were among the best local jazz performances of 2005. The absence of drums gave the music a quiet, chamber-like feel. Eade's singing was marvelous, whether singing actual words or applying her voice to instrumental lines. Pierce yet again proved himself a saxophonist as adventurous as he is tasteful. Wilson's piano work was skilled and subtle, and made plain why a guy so young has become Eade's duo partner of choice. The only thing missing was Ben Street's bass, owing to a delayed flight. Eade (above) gamely sang the bass part on one tune last year, but this time she's taking no chances: Boston-based bass standout John Lockwood will complete the quartet. A separate 7 p.m. set the same night will feature the Cercie Miller Quartet.
Thurs 5-4 Cyrus Chestnut A strong Reggatabar week begins with pianist Chestnut touting his swingingly accessible new CD, "Genuine Chestnut," tonight and tomorrow. Then Dave Douglas and his standout working quintet - Douglas, trumpet; Donny McCaslin, tenor sax; Uri Caine, Fender Rhodes electric piano; James Genus, bass; Clarence Penn, drums - arrive to plug their new CD, "Meaning and Mystery," Wednesday and next Thursday. Regattabar, Charles Hotel, One Bennett St., Cambridge. 617-395-7757. 7:30 p.m. $22. Repeats Fri, 7:30 & 10 p.m., $25. (Douglas sets Wed at 7:30 p.m. $22, Thurs at 7:30 & 10 p.m. $24.)