Tanglewood Jazz Festival Calling for Submissions

Four young artists will be chosen to perform at the festival’s Jazz Cafe

John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey
Kurt Elling

1 of 2   Next

A slight twist has been added to this fall’s annual Tanglewood Jazz Festival. A call is currently out for video submissions and four relatively unknown musicians will be chosen to perform at the festival’s well-regarded Jazz Café. The festival will take place Sept. 4-5, 2010 in Lenox, Mass.

This is the first time a contest has been held to fill the Jazz Café performance positions, which are presented prior to each main stage concert in a relaxed, cabaret style setting. The Café performances are free with a ticket to the main stage concert, and have been instrumental in launching the careers of Esperanza Spalding, Grace Kelly and Sachal Vasandani, among others.

Artists may submit a link to a video of their work and electronic press kit through the Web site Sonicbids from May 6 through June 15. The four winners will be announced July 1. A ten dollar submission fee will be charged, thus guaranteeing the artist’s consideration by the judges and a status response from the festival’s judging panel.

Dawn Singh, manager of the Tanglewood Jazz Festival, said the focus of the Jazz Café has always been to highlight rising talent, and that throughout the course of every year there are a collection of people who catch her eye. She figured this would be a great way to gather eager musicians all together in one place.

“I’ve wanted to do this for quite a few years,” Singh said. “There is such a wealth of talent out there and nobody can pay attention to everything.”

Although there are no age restrictions, artists who have headlined a jazz festival or played at a major venue-such as Carnegie Hall-will not be considered. Similarly, hip hop and funk groups will not be considered for this particular contest.

Both vocalists and instrumentalists, soloists and groups will be considered for the contest. “We can accommodate just about anybody at Tanglewood,” Singh said, noting that they could even house groups up to eight pieces.

The following jazz professionals will be joining Singh on the judging panel: Lois Gilbert, the managing director of Jazzcorner.com; jazz writers James Gavin and Christopher Loudon; Steve Schwartz, host of Jazz on WGBH with Steve Schwartz; and jazz vocalists Sachal Vasandani and Jane Monheit.

“The judges are very excited about this,” Singh said. “I have been blown away by their enthusiasm. They will be paying very close attention.”

The Tanglewood Jazz Festival will open on Saturday, Sept. 4 with an encore performance of John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey taping their nationally broadcast radio program, “Radio Deluxe.” Later that evening the Laurence Hobgood Trio will perform, followed by Grammy winning vocalist Kurt Elling. On Sunday the festival will continue with the Legendary Count Basie Orchestra followed by the Eddie Daniels-Bob James Quartet in a special program they call “Broadway Boogie.” The festival closes Sunday evening with performances by the Julian Lage Group followed by the Donal Fox Quartet with a special guest yet to be announced.