Weekend of Jazz in the Berkshires, Lee MA
Headline performers include regional favorites Wanda Houston and Samirah Evans, singing classic duets, plus a night of Brazil-flavored jazz with guitarist Diego Figueiredo and saxophone legend Ken Peplowski.
The weekend opens on Friday, June 14, with a 7:30pm concert of “Classic Duets and More.” The concert entails a rare pairing of Samirah Evans and Wanda Houston, two of the region’s most exciting and accomplished vocal artists. They will be accompanied by three of the Berkshires most noted instrumental artists: Benny Kohn, piano; Andy Wrba, bass; and Conor Meehan, drums. The weekend continues on Saturday June 15 (7:30pm) with a night of Brazilian-tinged jazz, featuring the fiery guitarist Diego Figueiredo, legendary reedman Ken Peplowski, plus special guest Chiara Izzi. The musical approach for Saturday has been described as “bossa nova with a fiery modern flavor”.
The headline concerts take place in the Lee Meeting House, a venue of extraordinary audio quality and visual appeal. Also known as Lee Congregational Church, it is located on the Common in downtown Lee, Massachusetts, the gateway to the Berkshires. Tickets for each concert are $25 in advance, $30 on the day of the event. Details, and the online box office, are available at www.BerkshireGatewayJazz.org
On Saturday afternoon, the park in front of the church becomes an outdoors music fair, with jazz being performed between 11:30am and 4pm (see website for update on performers). Along with the free music, food vendors will be on hand, plus a display of vintage automobiles.
Starving Artist Café will have jazz brunches on both days. Saturday, June 15 (10am-noon) will feature the music of Gary Miller’s Release the Penguins; Sunday, June 16 (11am-2pm), the Rich Vinette Quintet holds sway.
The online box office is open for the two ticketed events, at www.BerkshireGatewayJazz.org. Tickets will be available locally on June 1, in Pittsfield at Wood Brothers Music, and in Lee at the Chamber of Commerce information booth on Park Square.
The festival is made possible through the support of several organizations and sponsors, including the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Adams Community Bank, Berkshire Bank, Canna Provisions, Consolati Insurance, Greylock Federal Credit Union, the Lee Chamber of Commerce, and Onyx Specialty Papers.