Fall for Jazz in the Berkshires
Grace Kelly at Stationary Factory
By: Jazz - Sep 26, 2023
If you’re a follower of the regional jazz scene (and, the fact that you are on our mailing list suggests that you are), you may have already noticed that it is shaping up to be a busy autumn in the Berkshires. Starting with saxophone titan Grace Kelly this Friday at the Stationery Factory, something is going on every week…and often weekdays. Here’s a look at the first half of the season.
In what we hope will be an annual autumnal visit, Grace Kelly hits the stage at The Stationery Factory in Dalton Friday evening, Sept. 29, at 8pm. She is touring with her quartet and performing new and familiar material, a not-to-miss concert by the Los Angeles-based saxophonist and vocalist. Details at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/an-evening-with-grace-kelly-tickets-695344051777
Two area venues have regular jazz on weekdays. Methuselah Bar and Lounge, 391 North Street, Pittsfield, continues with its Monday Jazz series, with rotating artists. It’s great to see this tradition, which started at Mission Restaurant in downtown Pittsfield a dozen years ago, continuing.
Speaking of Mission, the person who launched and curated that music series, Andy Wrba, starts a month-long residency at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge next month. He will be performing each Thursday in the Lion’s Den, with various artists, starting Oct. 5 with Todd Reynolds (violin), Luke Franco (guitar) and Conor Meehan (drums). This is the same ensemble that blew-away the audience at this year’s Fresh Grass Festival in North Adams. During the other Thursdays, he will be joined by a who’s-who of Berkshires-area musicians, including Kris Allen, Wanda Houston, Benny Kohn, Peter McEachern, Don Mikkelsen, George Schuller, and others.
Andy Wrba kicks-off the month of October this Sunday, Oct. 1 with a jazz brunch at Race Brook Lodge in Sheffield. Noon-3pm. Notable for its food as well as music programming, the venue presents a wide variety of performing artists, see their calendar at https://rblodge.com/events.
Come mid-October, a tribute to Art Blakey will include three of the original Jazz Messengers who performed with the legendary drummer. Pianist George Cables, tenor saxophonist David Schnitter, and trombonist Steve Davis will be featured in the Oct. 14 (7pm) concert at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown. This is a unique opportunity to witness these performers on a Berkshire stage. Hear some of Blakey’s most familiar tunes, as well as original music. Joining the Messengers are trumpeter Haneef Nelson, and bassist Matt Dwonszyk. Drummer Ryan Sands steps into the big man’s shoes. Music, photos, and stories of this monumental band leader Details at www.JazzInTheBerkshires.org.
Dottie's Coffee Lounge (444 North Street, Pittsfield) serves music with its Domingo Brunch, every Sunday. Last weekend, it was the remarkable young trumpeter Richard Stanmeyer. The first Sunday of every month will be a jazz affair, with Oct. 1 featuring the duo of Dave Bartley and Pete Toigo. You can follow their schedule by clicking here. We look forward to their expansion into the space formerly occupied by Mission: watch for the opening of Dorothy's, a restaurant with a promising enhancement to the downtown culinary and music scene.
Finally, our favorite presenting organization, Berkshires Jazz --that's us, of course-- brings yet another legendary group to the area, with the Django Festival Allstars. Their Sunday evening performance takes place Nov. 12, 8pm at the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center (Barrington Stage’s facility at 36 Linden Street, Pittsfield). It’s the only New England appearance of this group, who will be en route to their 5-day residency at the annual Django Reinhardt New York Festival at Birdland. Tickets and other details at https://secure.barringtonstageco.org/django-festival-allstars/2395
There will surely be more.
To keep up to date, check our calendar page at www.BerkshiresJazz.org.
And, for a wider and perhaps the most comprehensive source for information
about live local performances, check Music In The Berkshires, https://musicintheberkshires.com/