Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival in Full Swing in Boston

For jazz fans in the New England area, this week promises to be a very busy time with lots of choices for entertainment, thanks to the Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival which runs through September 26. The festival is now in its 9th year and has expanded to 9 days and 9 stages. And, for the first time, drummer and Boston native Terri Lyne Carrington served as artistic director for the festival. Carrington, who grew up in nearby Medford before moving to Los Angeles as a young musician, decided to give the festival a blues theme of sorts. On Wednesday night, Berklee alum Branford Marsalis goes back to his old school for a show at the Berklee Performance Center, which plays host the following evening to a show called “Kickin’ the Blues” with performances from David Sanborn, Kevin Mahogany and Amina Claudine Myers. On Friday and Saturday nights at Scullers, Kurt Elling performs his show dedicated to the Coltrane/Hartman collaboration. The festival’s culminating event is a free outdoor concert from noon to 6 PM on Saturday, on three stages over six blocks on Columbus Avenue. Among the performers scheduled to perform in that day-long event are Jane Bunnett (featuring Elio Villafranca), Donald Harrison, Defenders of the Groove (with Ernie Andrews, Plas Johnson and Melvin Sparks), Joe Louis Walker, Yoron Israel’s tribute to David Fathead Newman and various ensembles from Berklee.

In a press release from Berklee, Carrington said that, “This festival is a testament to Boston’s reputation as a music hub and its dedication to jazz and producing and nurturing great artists.” She added, “As a native and recent returnee to the area, I’m thrilled for this chance to give back to the community by throwing a big party for Boston. I hope people come out to fraternize with their neighbors, enjoy the delicious food, and hear some incredible music.”

For a complete schedule, go to the Beantown Jazz Fest site .