PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A tribute to the pianist Dave Brubeck is one of the marquee events at the 9th annual Pittsfield CityJazz Festival, which runs from Oct. 11-20 in various venues in the downtown.
This year's music spans the spectrum of jazz: in addition to the Brubeck Brothers Quartet, the lineup includes rising tenor saxophonist Geoff Vidal; Jazz About Town (the annual "jazz crawl" that features local musicians in restaurants and lounges throughout downtown); and a new entry in the Jazz Prodigy series, alto saxophonist Zoe Obadia, Outstanding Soloist Award winner at the 2013 Essentially Ellington festival at Lincoln Center.
Sponsored by Berkshires Jazz Inc., the festival kicks off on Friday, Oct. 11, with the annual jazz crawl that continues through the weekend. Schedule updates will be posted at www.BerkshiresJazz.org.
Fresh from her achievement at the Essentially Ellington festival, Obadia will appear at the Berkshire Athenaeum for a Wednesday, Oct. 16, concert sponsored by the Friends of the Athenaeum. The New Jersey high school junior has been gaining recognition as a soloist and as a member of Jazz House Kids, a big band that also took high honors at the 2011 Charles Mingus Competition and Festival. Obadia's performance in Pittsfield continues the Berkshires Jazz tradition of showcasing young talented musicians who have the potential to become significant figures on the jazz scene.
The headline weekend opens on Friday, Oct. 18, at 8 p.m. with the Geoff Vidal Quartet in Baba Louie's Backroom at 34 Depot St. Tickets at $25 are available at www.BerkshiresJazz.org. There is limited seating and advance purchase is recommended.
After several years touring and performing out of New Orleans, Vidal arrived in New York City to quickly become a tenor-of-choice for a host of notable bandleaders and appear in some of the city's most prominent clubs. While Vidal's sound is comparable to Coleman Hawkins or Sonny Rollins, the years leading up to his first headlining release, "She Likes That," has seen a ripening of his musical character.
The Brubeck Brothers Quartet features two members of one of America's most accomplished musical families, Dan Brubeck (drums) and Chris Brubeck (bass and trombone); guitarist Mike DeMicco and pianist Chuck Lamb complete the quartet. They have performed at concert series, colleges, and festivals across North America and Europe including the Newport, Detroit, Ravinia, Las Vegas, Sedona, Spokane and Monterey jazz festivals.
Their latest CD, "Lifetimes," is a tribute to their father and was issued a few months before his death in 2012. The material on the CD will comprise much of their performance on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 8 p.m. at the Colonial Theatre. Tickets at $18 and $30 are available at www.TheColonialTheatre.org.
The Berkshires Jazz Youth Ensemble, comprising young musicians from Berkshire County, will open for Brubeck; Chris and Dan Brubeck will also appear as guest soloists with the youth ensemble, which is directed by Ronald A. Lively of Pittsfield High School.
Cultural Pittsfield also is collaborating with Berkshires Jazz in presenting Michael Bellar and the AS-IS Ensemble, as part of the Third Thursday block party on Oct. 17 from 5 to 8.
In addition to the two ticketed events, other concerts and performances are free, thanks to the generosity of sponsors and underwriters, including Greylock Federal Credit Union, the Berkshire Bank Foundation, Jamey Aebersold Jazz Books, TD Bank and others.