Festival Fever: Pittsfield CityJazz Festival Heats Up

The Robert Woodard Heath Trio
The Robert Woodard Heath Trio

The tenth annual Pittsfield CityJazz Festival kicked off last weekend at a variety of smaller Pittsfield venues, but things really heat up this week. In addition to the region’s top big band, this week’s line-up of fest performances also includes four of jazz’s top female vocal and instrumental performers; the annual “jazz crawl” with local musicians in restaurants and lounges throughout downtown; the screening of a documentary film; and a new entry in the Jazz Prodigy series.

One of the fest highlights is the Jazz Prodigy concert at 7pm tonight (Wednesday, October 15), featuring 17-year-old Battleboro pianist-organist-composer Franz W. Robert, who will perform with bassist Eli Heath and drummer Benny Woodard in the Robert Woodard Heath Trio at the Berkshire Music School.

Acclaimed jazz vocalist Stephanie Nakasian steps up to the microphone at Baba Louie’s Backroom on Friday, October 17. She’ll be accompanied by a trio led by pianist Hod O’Brien with bassist Jeff Link and drummer Jereme Vinette. Tickets are $20 in advance; $25 at the door.

The final concert of the fest features Schenectady’s own Empire Jazz Orchestra with three very special guest saxophonists – Claire Daly, Sharel Cassity and Ada Rovatti – in concert at the Colonial Theatre. Opening for EJO will be the Berkshires Jazz Youth Ensemble. Tickets are $20 & $35.

The festival winds down with the screening of the 2011 documentary film, “The Girls in the Band,” chronicling the difficulties that women musicians have faced before being welcome into the jazz field. The film will be screened at the Berkshire Museum at 2pm on Sunday, October 19. Admission is $10.


Bridge Jazz Fest @ Troy Savings Bank Music Hall & College of St. Rose’s Massry Center, Troy & Albany, 2/27&28/14

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