Swing into Spring

Jazz in the Berkshires

By: - Mar 01, 2024

Our first program of 2024 was a memorable one, indeed, as anyone who was there will attest. Pittsfield’s 10x10 Upstreet Winter Arts Festival was the occasion for many creative offerings, and our “10 x Duke” was one of the best-received. The fact that the selections were played in the style that Django Reinhardt might have played them didn’t hurt. Nearly 200 turned out for the concert at the Berkshires Museum.

Spring fast approaches, with good news from our friends at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, and the opening of the box office for our own Pittsfield CityJazz Festival.

Long-time followers of Berkshires Jazz will recognize Bria Skonberg, who headlines the Mahaiwe’s program. You will also be delighted to know that prodigy Brandon Goldberg is headed back to the Berkshires, and that Marcus Roberts makes his first visit for one of our programs.

Chronologically, the Mahaiwe is next up. Trumpet and vocal sensation Bria Skonberg made her local debut as a rising artist at the 2016 Berkshire Gateway Jazz Weekend. Now a headliner in her own right, Bria joins Benny Benack III at the Mahaiwe to re-live and re-imagine some of the classic partners in jazz and popular song. Their March 23 concert recalls the works of Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland and Bing Crosby and Dean Martin and Peggy Lee, featuring songs composed by Gershwin, Ellington, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and many more. Each armed with prodigious trumpet talent and vocal charm, the Bria and Benny duo will be joined by a who’s who of New York all-stars. 

In her rapid rise to jazz heights, Skonberg was the leader of Bria’s Hot Five and The Big Band Jazz Band, and was a co-founder of the New York Hot Jazz Festival. Benack was voted 2023’s #2 Male Jazz Vocalist “rising star” in Downbeat Magazine, where he also appeared in the trumpet “rising star” category, a rare distinction. 

The show is one of the many initiatives of Jazz at Lincoln Center Presents, a leading advocate for jazz, culture, and arts education globally. This touring project celebrates the Great American Songbook in all of its playful — and sophisticated – glory. We’re happy to share the news from our friends at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center. 


Click here for tickets.

Come April, Berkshires Jazz rolls-out our flagship event, the Pittsfield CityJazz Festival. Spanning 11 days, April 18-28, this year’s offerings include the ever-popular jazz crawl, jazz prodigy concert, and jam session, plus a swing dance, jazz brunches, and two headline concerts. The day-to-day schedule will be posted soon, but the box office is already open for both the Brandon Goldberg Trio (appearing at the Common Room at Zion Lutheran Church) and Marcus Roberts Trio (Colonial Theatre). Two separate box offices, both available on our home page [click here].

You’ll note a new link on our home page: “apparel”. People have been asking us where to buy Berkshires Jazz logoed attire, and we’re happy to announce a manufacturing and e-commerce site hosted by 413Fundraising. When you go to our website, just click on “Apparel”. They will ship your purchases to you, or if you are local to the Berkshires, you can pick up your purchase in person, details on the website.

Anyone receiving this newsletter is on our mailing list because you have attended one of our events. If you’re enjoying our news, please feel free to pass this along to your friends and associates and others who might want to support the local jazz scene.

It’s jazz season, happy to have you aboard.

Ed Bride, President

Berkshires Jazz, Inc.

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