Jazz Week History
From April 27 to May 6, Jazz Week returned to the Greater Boston area for the 6th consecutive year with nearly 250 events at 120 venues in and around the city and official proclamations once again from the Mayors of Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville and the Governor of Massachusetts.
In the spirit of UNESCO’s proclamation of April 30 as International Jazz Day, the theme of Jazz Week ’12 was "International," a natural for our city. With its history as an immigrant destination and its leadership in jazz education, Boston and the surrounding area have become the home for generations of talented jazz artists from around the globe, and jazz is spoken with many different accents year round.
A highlight of Jazz Week '12 was the musical celebration of the Japan-U.S. Cherry Blossom Centennial, co-presented by JazzBoston and Scullers Jazz Club and featuring Japanese contemporary jazz star Keiko Matsui. Nobuyuki Watanabe, Japan's Deputy Consul General in Boston and the evening’s guest of honor, spoke to the sold-out house about the friendship between our two countries, and Boston-based flutist Hiroaki Honshuku made a guest appearance.
Another highlight of the week was The Time Is Now, a concert by the MIT Festival Jazz Ensemble premiering five jazz songs by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer John Harbison.
As always, JazzBoston presented a number of free special events in collaboration with both long-standing and new partners:
- NEC Noontime Kickoff Concerts in public spaces around town. In a new Jazz Week tradition, student ensembles from New England Conservatory opened Jazz Week for the third year with free performances at South Station, Downtown Crossing, and the Prudential Center Garden.
- International Jazz Day Party, April 30. Co-hosted by JazzBoston and Darryl Settles and billed as “an intimate celebration with the world’s jazz community,” the event drew a capacity crowd to Darryl’s Corner Bar to celebrate the addition of a day for jazz to the world’s calendar and watch the historic concert at the U.N. General Assembly Hall in New York streamed live on a giant screen.
- Jazz Swarms @ South Station. Returning for a second year, largish ensembles of the same instrument led by prominent Boston-based musicians performed beneath the information board from 12 to 1 PM, Monday – Friday. Saxophones, flutes, clarinets, trombones, and trumpets gathered this year.
- Jazz Week @ the Boston Public Library. In his workshop, "Improvise Your Life," saxophonist and educator Tom Hall led 30+ participants through a series of games designed to increase their awareness of the improvisational possibilities of each moment, no matter what they may be doing.
- Jazz Week @ the Boston Children's Museum. "Riffs & Raps®–Jazz for the Very Young," made a lively museum debut as master teachers/performers Arni Cheatham and Bill Lowe introduced children to the Reed family and their relatives, and everyone, parents and staff included, got into the act on straw kazoos.
Two of the special events presented by JazzBoston and our partners focused on Boston's contribution to the international jazz pantheon and vocabulary:
- Walking Tour of Boston's "Jazz Mecca." Discover Roxbury brought to life a forgotten period in Boston's and America's jazz history with a tour that stopped at the Lower Roxbury locations of some of the most famous clubs and after-hours venues on the East Coast.
- Book Launch and Party at Wally's Jazz Cafe. Wally’s was packed for the launch of Richard Vacca’s long awaited book, "The Boston Jazz Chronicles: Faces, Places, and Nightlife 1937 – 1962," and the author’s annual Jazz Week history talk.
In another nod to Roxbury’s rich cultural history, JazzBoston joined the sponsors of Dudley Square Day by bringing live jazz to the April 28 celebration of the area’s revitalization, spearheaded by Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
Click here to see the photo album of Jazz Week ’12 International on JazzBoston’s Facebook page.
Jazz Week '11 marked the fifth year that the Greater Boston jazz community has come together to celebrate a music that defies definition and recocgnizes no boundaries. Wearing different faces and going by different names, jazz was everywhere in and around the city between April 29 and May 8.
Officially proclaimed by the Mayors of Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville and coordinated and promoted by JazzBoston, Jazz Week '11: This Is Jazz put the spotlight on Greater Boston's vibrant jazz scene with close to 300 events in 90+ venues ranging from clubs, galleries, museums, and churches to librairies, unversities, shopping malls, and hotels. To see the full Jazz Week '11 Schedule of Events, click here.
The centerpiece of Jazz Week '11 was “Eric in Two Evenings,” a two-part stage and screen salute to Eric Jackson, who celebrated the 30th anniversary of his WGBH-FM jazz program in May 2011.
- “For Eric, Evening I” was an all-star jazz jam at Scullers Jazz Club on Monday, May 2, presented by JazzBoston and Scullers and produced by Fred Taylor. Among the many musicians who performed were Walter Beasley, Grace Kelly, Terri Lyne Carrington, Cecil McBee, Rebecca Parris, Phil Wilson, Bill Pierce, George Garzone, Bob Moses, Dominique Eade, Donal Fox, and Laszlo Gardony.
- “For Eric, Evening II” was a night of rarely seen videos of jazz greats selected by Jackson and screened at the Regent Theatre, Arlington Center, on Friday, May 6. The videos came from the collection of jazz historian Hal Miller, owner of the world's largest collection of rare jazz film and video. A reception with Jackson and Miller preceeded the screening.
Other Jazz Week '11 highlights included:
- “Free Friday," a Jazz Week kickoff featuring daytime concerts by NEC student ensembles in public spaces around the city.
- “Jazz Swarms," a series of one-hour noontime public performances in the atrium food court of the State Transportation Building, featuring ensembles of a different instrument on each of the five weekdays — trumpets, flutes, saxophones, percussion, and trombones.
- “Jazz Week @ the Boston Public Library,” which returned for the fifth year to the Main Library in Copley Square with afternoon and evening conversations and performances for audiences of all ages, presented by JazzBoston:
→ "In My Mind” This acclaimed documentary about rising jazz pianist Jason Moran’s 50th anniversary tribute to Thelonious Monk’s historic 1959 Town Hall Concert in New York City had its Boston premiere at the 2010 Roxbury International Film Festival and was introduced by the festival’s director, Lisa Simmons.
→ “On the Edge: Exploring the Creative Music Scene” Top-flight musicians Dave Bryant, Tom Hall, John Kordalewski, and Neil Leonard carried on a lively conversation about current trends, punctuated by live performances.
→ “North Shore Jazz, Then and Now” Henry Ferrini and Jenny Chava Hudson, coordinators of the North Shore Jazz Project, presented an oral and video history of people and places on the North Shore, from Sandy’s Jazz Revival to the scene of today.
→ “Nat Pierce, Jaki Byard, and the Battle of the Bands” Boston jazz historian and author Richard Vacca presented a fascinating portrait, with rare recordings and images, of two modernist big bands that shaped Boston jazz, culminating in the formation of the Herb Pomeroy Orchestra.
The return of the John Payne Saxophone Choir Nearly three dozen saxophonists backed by reedman Payne’s powerful quartet held a just-for-Jazz Week reunion at Ryles Jazz Club.
Jazz Week East East Boston's own celebration included performances by Marlene Jazz Ensemble in a "Jazz for Japan" benefit, Nick Grondin Group and the ZUMIX Jazz All-Stars, Lee Colon Trio, and Bria Skonberg.
In 2011 JazzBoston continued to work closely with MassJazz and the Massachusetts Office for Travel and Tourism (MOTT) to further the state's efforts to make Massachusetts a destination for cultural tourists. In his March 1 Proclamation of Jazz Month in the Commonwealth, Governor Deval Patrick explicitly recognized JazzBoston's support of the state's efforts. Click here to read the Proclamation, and use the maganifying glass to enlarge.
The Governor also conferred a citation on JazzBoston in recognition of the fifth anniversary of our service to the Greater Boston jazz community and in appreciation of our stewardship of Jazz Week. Click here to read the Governor's Citation.
For 10 days from April 23 to May 2, Jazz Week '10: Made in Boston, Played in Boston celebrated the special role the Boston jazz scene plays as an incubator and stage for some of the most creative musicians in the world. More than 230 events at over 80 venues, many of them inspired by this year's theme, offered a look to the music's future and a nod to its past.
With proclamations by the Mayors of Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville and new participants throughout the Greater Boston area, Jazz Week continued to extend its reach musically and geographically. Marking its fourth year, Jazz Week '10 was the biggest and best celebration yet, offering more variety than ever and plenty of free and low-cost events.
Among the highlights:
- "Free Friday" featuring kickoff day concerts by NEC student ensembles in public spaces around the city and an evening kickoff concert at Jordan Hall with the NEC Jazz Orchestra and special guest Ran Blake.
- Concert tributes to two Boston jazz legends, the late renowned teacher, pianist, and composer Charlie Banacos and clubowner Lennie Sogoloff of Lennie's-on-the-Turnpike fame
- Exclusive U.S. preview of "Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench," a Boston-made film about the relationship of music and love, introduced by trumpeter Jason Palmer, who also stars in the film
- Jazz on Film at the Regent, five documentaries of jazz greats and great performances at the Regent Theatre in Arlington
- Jazz Week in the Galleries, live performances at art galleries and studios in Somerville, the South End, Lower Roxbury, Dorchester, and Brookline
- Jazz Week @ the Boston Public Library, 7 days and nights of free seminars and performances for all ages at the Main Library in Copley Square, presented by JazzBoston
- Jazz Week @ Your Neighborhood Library, six interdisciplinary programs including Gifrants at the Hyde Park Branch Library, the Makanda Project featuring Oliver Lake at the Dudley Branch Library, and the Bert Seager Trio at the Newton Free Library
- Jazz Week in East Boston, including performances by Sergio Salvatore at Zumix Sumner Street Firehouse and the Nick Grondin Jazz Band and Infrared Band at 80 Border Street Cultural Exchange
- Jazz Week @ Fenway Park, with vocalist and NEC faculty member Dominique Eade performing the national anthem before the Sox-Orioles game on kickoff day and a jazz ensemble from NEC providing pre-game entertainment inside the gates
- Chefs Jam for Jazz Week, a repeat of the 2009 partnership between JazzBoston and the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau to promote affordable dining and listening experiences with specially priced menus and jazz-inspired dishes at some of Boston's most popular restaurants.
JazzBoston is deeply appreciative of the support of our Sponsors and Partners, who made Jazz Week '10 possible. We also extend a warm personal thanks to the 2010 Friends of Jazz.
Officially proclaimed by both Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons, the third annual celebration of Jazz Week featured nearly 200 events in 86 venues throughout the Greater Boston area. From April 25 to May 3 visiting international artists and Boston-based musicians performed jazz of every style for audiences of all ages. More free events than ever before made Jazz Week '09 the perfect time to answer the question posed by the year's theme, "What's your jazz?"
Some hIghlights of the week:
- Jazz Week @ the Boston Public Library, the third annual series of free weekday and evening programs at the Main Library in Copley Square, which included the well attended Boston premiere of "The Music Inn," the historic film of masters who shaped the course of jazz, and JazzBoston's new program, Riffs & Raps II, an interactive introduction to the sounds and experiences of jazz, presented to an enchanted audience of 200 very young children
- Chefs Jam for Jazz Week, a week of specially priced, jazz-inspired lunches and dinners at some of the city's most popular restaurants, presented by JazzBoston in partnership with the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Jazz Meets Salsa, a special Latin jazz concert and dance party, with a jazz cocktail hour and salsa and swing dance lessons at the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts
- Free jazz at the State House, a performance presented by JazzBoston at the Grand Staircase as part of the Governor's Lunchtime Cultural Series
- Jazz Week @ Fenway Park, with a jazz rendition of the National Anthem by trumpeter and Aardvark Jazz Orchestra Director Mark Harvey and pre-game entertainment inside the gates by a jazz ensemble from the Boston Arts Academy.
Allston joined the Boston neighborhoods hosting Jazz Week events while outside the city Quincy, Salem, Framingham, and Malden also participated for the first time. New Jazz Week venues included Amazing Things Arts Center, Icarus Restaurant, the Java Room, the Squealing Pig, Moonstruck Gourmet & Café, Restaurant Laura, Sky, Tryst Restaurant, the Bar at the End of the World, and Petit Robert Bistro.
For a photo gallery of scenes from Jazz Week '09, click here.
The extensive promotion of this annual area-wide celebration of the music was made possible by the generous support of our Jazz Week '09 Sponsors and Partners. New England Conservatory, celebrating the 40th anniversary of its Jazz Studies Program, was the Primary Sponsor of Jazz Week '09. Media sponsors were the Phoenix Media/Communications Group and WGBH 89.7.
For nine days from April 26 to May 4, thousands of music fans took in over 200 jazz performances in 86 venues throughout the Greater Boston area. Called an event that "has grown in size and stature" by the Boston Herald, Jazz Week '08 offered free concerts of all styles by visiting international artists and Boston-based musicians alike, family and multi-media events, and one-of-a-kind performances.
Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, Dorchester, the South End, Hyde Park, and Back Bay were among the Boston neighborhoods that hosted events, in addition to Cambridge, Somerville, Belmont, Brookline, Acton, Wellesley, and Newton. Participating for the first time were the Plough and Stars, Vernissage Restaurant, Sally O'Brien's Bar & Grill, Starbucks, Roxbury Community College, Boston University, Boston College, ARTSomerville, 711 Bistro & Sushi Bar, Biff's Lounge, the Sherborn Inn, Outpost 186, the Middle East, Redline Restaurant, and the Mission Bar & Grill.
In a rare treat for music and poetry aficionados alike, JazzBoston's second annual benefit concert, "A Kaleidoscopic View of Jazz in Boston," featured former U.S. poet laureate Robert Pinsky in only his second jazz performance ever, with internationally acclaimed percussionist Rakalam Bob Moses and saxophonist Andrew Urbina. The concert's proceeds were shared by the John Coltrane Memorial Concert Educational Outreach Program, New England Conservatory's Community Collaborations, Performances, and Partnerships Program, and the Berklee College of Music City Music Program.
Among the other highlights of the week were a performance at the Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center by 2008 MacArthur Fellow and Marsalis Music recording artist Miguel Zenón; a special intereactive family event, How Jazz Happens, at the Regattabar, featuring pianist Pierre Hurel; a painters' exhibit at the Piano Factory with jazz-themed work by Paul Goodnight, Ralph Beach, Taina Vargas, and others, accompanied by jazz music and dance performances; and a concert by the Semanya McCord Quartet with guest Stan Strickland presented by Highland Jazz at Newton South High School.
Jazz Week @ the Boston Public Library returned with a series of free weekday and evening seminars at the Main Library in Copley Square, including a special interactive presentation for high school students by Emmett G. Price III, From Jazz to Hip-Hop and Beyond: Why Jazz Matters in the 21st Century, which was video-recorded by WGBH for its Forum Network. Jazz Week @ Borders was also back with a series of free concerts at the bookstore's Copley Square location, presented by JazzBoston in partnership with the Berklee College of Music's Professional Performane Division.
Other artists appearing during Jazz Week '08 included Dave Bryant, Terri Lyne Carrington, Eguie Castrillo, Arni Cheatham, Dominique Eade, Garrison Fewell, Laszlo Gardony, Kenny Garrett, Jim Hobbs and the Fully Celebrated Orchestra, Greg Hopkins, Grace Kelly, James Merenda, Yoko Miwa, Myanna, Najee, Jason Palmer, Rachel Price, Kurtis Rivers, Ray Santisi, Al Vega, and Frank Wilkins.
Click here to see photos from the 2008 scene.
To see some of the media coverage of Jazz Week '08, click here.
Boston's first Jazz Week in 25 years kicked off on April 21, 2007, with an "All-Star Jazz Blowout" concert at Berklee Performance Center featuring drummer Max Weinberg, Band Leader of NBC TV's "Late Night With Conan O'Brian," along with Phil Wilson directing an all-star band of faculty and students from Berklee, NEC, Harvard, MIT, Wellesley, Longy, and Brandeis. Also on the program were New Orleans singer Henri Smith with reedman Nat Simpkins and Your Neighborhood Saxophone Quartet with Allan Chase, Cercie Miller, Tom Hlll, and Joel Springer. Part of the proceeds from the show went to the Habitat for Humanity Musicians Village in New Orleans.
Among the other highlights of the week were a free "Perspectives on Jazz" seminar series on weekdays at the Boston Public Library, covering topics such as "Jazz Cross-Currents," "Jazz in the South End: Then and Now," and "Jazz: Black America's Gift to the Nation and the World." Panelists and lecturers included Joe Lovano, Eric Jackson, Ron Gill, Al Vega, Arni Cheatham, Hy Lockhart, Mae Arnette, Dick Vacca, and Emmett G. Price III.
A pair of "JazzBoston Family Initiative: Jazz for All Ages" events bookended Jazz Week 2007, the first at the Center for Latino Arts in the South End, featuring percussionists Anita Quinto and Marcus Santos, and the second at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education with vocalist Dominique Eade.
The Borders bookstore in the Back Bay hosted five nights of free in-store jazz concerts from 7 to 8 PM. Performing in the bookstore's café during "Jazz Week at Borders" were Gypsy Schaeffer, Kevin Harris, Elan Trotman, the Mike DiBari Trio, and 14-year-old Brookline saxophonist Grace Kelly.
A number of unique collaborations punctuated the week. Turkish multi-instrumentalist Mehmet Sanlikol teamed with trumpeter Tiger Okoshi at Suffolk University's C. Walsh Theater for "An Eastern Ritual of Love." "Freex to Geex 2007," presented by the Boston Cyberfest and the Music Synthesis department of Berklee College of Music, explored the worlds of computer music sounds, live video, and improvised music at Fenway Recital Hall. And "A Moment in Chaos," presented in conjunction with the Cambridge Science Festival, featured animated films by Kate Matson with improvisation by Phil Scarff, John Funkhouser, and others at the Volpe Transportation Building in Cambridge.
The Gallery at the Piano Factory hosted a series of performances that featured Frank Wilkins, Valerie Stephens, Cheo Solder, and others.
Other artists based in Boston and beyond who performed during Jazz Week 2007 included Ellis Marsalis, Frank Morgan, Lyambiko, Salim Washington, Marianne Solivan, Jerry Bergonzi, Yoron Israel, Avishai Cohen, Deborah Henson-Conant, Charlie Kohlhase, George Garzone, James Merenda, Eric Hofbauer, Lisa Thorson, Tim Ray, Dave Clark, Jason Palmer, Ray Santisi, Marta Gomez, Carmen Staaf, Ken Field, Ben Monder, Rusty Scott, and Robert Stringer.
Click here to see photos from the 2007 scene.
To see some of the media coverage of Jazz Week 2007, click here.