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24th annual
Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest

March 28-April 6, 2014

Newsletter: Volume 10


Andrew Lepley's photo from last year's 'Gospel According to Jazz Celebration' finale.

Whalum's 'Gospel Celebration' to end fest on high note
Last year, the Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest finale featured Kirk Whalum's Gospel According to Jazz Celebration.
    The concert was amazing -- one of those
special moments in festival history.
This year, the fest finale once again will be Kirk Whalum's Gospel According to Jazz celebration, featuring special guests Oleta Adams (photo), Rick Braun, Gerald Veasley, John Stoddart, Kevin Whalum, and the DOXA Gospel Ensemble.
    The concert is set for Sunday, April 6, 7 p.m., at the Scottish Rite Cathedral.
    "It's going to be another special night," said Kirk Whalum. "Last year's concert was an amazing night of music, a great way to end the Berks fest."
    An ordained minister, Kirk has earned his Masters of Art in Religion. It’s in this spirit that he serves his community, performing at nursing homes, schools and missions.
    In addition to music and ministry, Kirk has a passion to educate young, aspiring musicians and as such he currently serves as Chief Creative Officer of the STAX Music Academy and the STAX Museum of American Soul Music in his hometown of Memphis.
    Kirk is the recipient of numerous awards and acknowledgements for his musical excellence including three Dove Award nominations, an NAACP Image Award nomination and has won two Stellar Awards-Gospel music’s highest honor. An 11-time Grammy nominee, Kirk won his first Grammy for Best Gospel Song (“It’s What I Do” featuring Lalah Hathaway).
    CLICK HERE to view video of Kirk Whalum gospel performance.

Preview series: Frank Bey at Building 24 Live on Feb. 7
     While waiting for the Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest, fans can get their jazz and blues fix at Building 24 Live located in Wyomissing just outside of downtown Reading.
     The festival and B24 Live have teamed up to present a special series of preview concerts, featuring the best in jazz and blues.
     Friday, Feb. 7: Soul, Blues icon Frank Bey (photo), 7:30 p.m.
     Saturday, Feb. 8: "Remembering Frank Scott" featuring Tim Warfield Organ Band with special guest Bootsie Barnes, 7:30 p.m.
     Thursday, Feb. 27: Blues guitarist Popa Chubby, 7:30 p.m.
     Thursday, March 6: Iconic blues band Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, 7:30 p.m.
     Friday, March 14: Contemporary jazz super group Four 80 East featuring Matt Marshak, 7:30 p.m.
     Saturday, March 22: Banjo master Tony Trischka, 7:30 p.m.
     Call 610-375-2700 for tickets and dinner reservations.
     For more info on B24 Live, check out

Katona's 'Stevie Ray Vaughn' show added to blues lineup
     The Berks Jazz Fest has got the blues this year -- and lots of it.
     The fest's original lineup featured some of the biggest blues artists in the business. And now, the fest has added another blues concert, featuring Tommy Katona & Texas Flood and their amazing "Stevie Ray Vaughn Tribute."
    Katona (photo) and Texas Flood will perform on Saturday, March 29, 2 p.m., at Building 24 Live.
    Tickets for this show are not available on Ticketmaster. You can purchase tickets at Building 24 Live or online at Ticketfly.
    Tommy Katona & Texas Flood has become one of the premier blues bands in all of North Texas. Evolving from the original tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Texas Flood pays tribute to the legends as well as the future of the blues through their own music and style. With an in-your-face show and raw high-energy playing, Tommy Katona takes the listener on a journey through the blues.
    Here is the complete schedule of blues shows during the fest.
    Friday, March 28, 7:30 p.m.: Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King and Bonerama (opening act), Building 24 Live.
    Saturday, March 29, 2 p.m.: "Stevie Ray
Vaughn Tribute" featuring Tommy Katona & Texas Flood, Building 24 Live.
    Wednesday, April 2, 7:30 p.m.: John Nemeth & The Bo-Keys, Building 24 Live.
    Thursday, April 3, 7:30 p.m.: Berks All-Star Blues Jam featuring Blues Factor & Friends, Building 24 Live.
    Friday, April 4, 7:30 p.m.: Ana Popovic and Steve Guyger & The Excellos (opening act), The Inn at Reading.
    Saturday, April 5, 7:30 p.m.: Shemekia Copeland (photo) and Albert Cummings (opening act), The Inn at Reading.
    Sunday, April 6, 10 a.m. (buffet)/11 a.m. (concert): Sunday Gospel Blues Brunch featuring Alexis P. Suter Band.

Berks Jazz Fest updates:
Veasley's Boot Camp set

   Gerald Veasley's annual Bass Boot Camp will be held Friday, Feb. 28, Saturday, March 1, and Sunday, March 2, at the Crowne Plaza Reading.
   Whether you're a seasoned bassist or novice, Gerald and his world-class faculty will plug you into the joy of bass playing -- technique, theory and of course, those funky bass lines!
   For more information and to register, CLICK HERE.
    The Crowne Plaza Reading, the host hotel of the fest, will be using a Mardi Gras theme again during the 10-day feat, featuring decorations, special menus -- and, of course, plenty of beads for guests and fest fans.
    WRTI-FM in Philadelphia is giving away two Berks Jazz Fest Weekend Getaway packages during its upcoming on-air fundraising campaign.
    Tune it and make a pledge on either Monday, January 27, and Wednesday, Feb. 5, between 6 p.m.-midnight and you could win a two-night stay, VIP tickets for the fest.

Video of the Week:
Nick Colionne
    When it comes to showmanship on stage, Nick Colionne is in a class by himself.
    Colionne has become a Berks Jazz Fest favorite and he is back this year with his band to perform on Saturday, April 5, 2 p.m., at Crowne Plaza Reading ballroom.
    The co-bill also features The Sax Pack featuring Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole and Marcus Anderson.
    With a jazz style that is both urban and contemporary, Colionne has blazed a trail to the top of the ranks of today's stars.
    Combining jazz, R&B, blues and funk, he has an unmistakable sound and vibe that is instantly recognizable. Nick takes the guitar to unexpected places every time he performs and his rich baritone vocals delight his audiences.
    As for his showmanship -- you have to experience a Nick Colionne show for yourself. With style and energy to spare, unparalleled musicianship and a natural comedic flair, he is one of a kind.
    CLICK HERE to view video of a Nick Colionne performance.

Berks Jazz Fest

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Berks Arts Council
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Reading, PA 19601