Jazz Week '11

Jazz Week

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.

For a history of Jazz Week since its 2007 revival by JazzBoston, including a photo gallery of each year's scene, 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.

“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. Among Jackson’s picks were clips of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sarah Vaughan, Herbie Hancock, Duke Ellington, Wes Montgomery, Pharoah Sanders and Sonny Rollins. A reception with Jackson and Miller preceeded the screening.

Other Jazz Week ’11 highlights:

  • “Free Friday” (Apr. 29), a Jazz Week kickoff featuring daytime concerts by NEC student ensembles in public spaces around the city.
  • “Big Bands Afire — Swing to Beyond” on kickoff weekend, featuring the JCA Orchestra at the Cambridge Family YMCA Theatre (April 29);  Hal McIntyre Orchestra at Amazing Things Arts Center (April 29);  “An Ellington Celebration: From Standards to Sacred” with the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra and special guest Dominique Eade at Emmanuel Church (April 30); and the Fourth Annual Herb Pomeroy Memorial Concert with special guest Frank Tiberi at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium (April 30).
  • “Jazz Swarms” (May 2-6), a series of one-hour noontime public performances in the first floor 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” (May 3) An 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. The 97-minute film 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” (May 4) 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” (May 5) 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” (May 6) 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 (May 3), featuring a just-for-Jazz Week reunion of nearly three dozen saxophonists backed by reedman Payne’s powerful quartet, at Ryles Jazz Club.

  • Jazz Week East, East Boston's own celebration, including performances by Marlene Jazz Ensemble in a "Jazz for Japan" benefit (April 29), Nick Grondin Group and the ZUMIX Jazz All-Stars (May 5), Lee Colon Trio (May 6), and Bria Skonberg (May 7).

Hundreds of Artists, Scores of Styles

Among the wide range of performers who appeared during Jazz Week '11 were: David Maxwell, Matthew Shipp, Louise Woodard, Walter Beasley, Grace Kelly, George Garzone, Cecil McBee, Dominique Eade, Phil Wilson, Bill Pierce, Leonard Brown, Wannetta Jackson, Emmett Price, Frank Wilkins, Amanda Carr, Rakalam Bob Moses, Kevin Harris, Donal Fox, the JCA Orchestra, Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, Bert Seager, Yoko Miwa, The Fringe, Your Neighborhood Saxophone Quartet, Dave Bryant, Billy Novick, John Payne Saxophone Choir, Stan Strickland, Joe Morris, Deborah Henson-Conant, Peter Eldridge, Bo Winiker Band, Laszlo Gardony, Myanna, Rollins Ross, Shawnn Monteiro, Ken Field and the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble, Quartet of Happiness, Ottmar Liebert, Curt Newton, Bruno Raberg, Charlie Kohlhase, the Hal McIntyre Orchestra, Pablo Ablanedo, Phyllis Fallon, Al Vega, and Frank Carlberg.

Collaboration with MassJazz and MOTT

With the fifth annual celebration of Jazz Week, 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.

JazzBoston is proud to be able to contribute to the campaign to promote jazz in Massachusetts. We would love to see other communities across the state come together to celebrate the music.