Pittsfield CityJazz Festival

Lineup for Events Oct. 10-19

By: - Sep 29, 2014



Berkshires Jazz, Inc. today announced the final lineup for the tenth annual Pittsfield CityJazz Festival, Oct. 10-19, 2014 throughout the City’s Upstreet Cultural District. A signature cultural event of the fall foliage season in western Massachusetts, the music spans the spectrum of jazz. In addition to the region’s top big band, the lineup includes four of jazz’ top female vocal and instrumental performers; the annual "jazz crawl" with local musicians in restaurants and lounges throughout downtown; the screening of a documentary film; and a new entry in the Jazz Prodigy series.
The festival kicks off on Thursday, Oct. 9, with Jazz About Town, with sponsored and affiliated events that span the long Columbus Day weekend and including a "jazz craw,” when venues present Berkshires’ established performers in casual settings. Schedule updates are posted at
One of the highlights of the 10-day festival is the Jazz Prodigy concert on Oct. 15; sponsored by the Friends of the Athenaeum, this concert introduces a young artist who is expected to become a force in jazz. This year’s prodigy is Franz W. Robert, a Brattleboro, Vermont-based pianist, organist and composer. 17 years old, he is a junior at Brattleboro Union High School. A collaboration with Eli Heath (bass) and Benny Woodard (drums), the Robert Woodard Heath Trio will be playing selections from various jazz repertoires.
There are only two ticketed concerts, on Oct. 17 and 18. Opening the headline weekend is vocalist Stephanie Nakasian, featured with a trio headed by pianist Hod O’Brien, and including two local musicians: Jeff Link on bass, and Jereme Vinette on drums. The performance ($20 in advance, $25 day of concert) takes place in the intimate setting of Baba Louie’s Backroom, a popular speakeasy-type room.
The final concert is Saturday, Oct. 18, with the Empire Jazz Orchestra and three guest artists: saxophonists Claire Daly, Sharel Cassity, and Ada Rovatti. This concert ($35/20) will be held at Pittsfield’s Colonial Theatre. Opening for the Empire Jazz Orchestra, the region’s reigning big band, will be the Berkshires Jazz Youth Ensemble, comprising student musicians from Herberg Middle School and the Rock On Workshop.
The Festival winds down with the screening of the widely acclaimed documentary film, “The Girls in the Band.” Chronicling the difficulties that women musicians faced before being welcome into the jazz field, the film will be screened at The Little Cinema at the Berkshire Museum. Starting time is 2pm.
A record number foundations, companies, and private individuals provide the financial underpinning for this tenth annual festival. They include first-time sponsors North Coast Brewing Co. and The Feigenbaum Foundation; returning marquee supporters Greylock Federal Credit Union, Jamey Aebersold Jazz Books, TD Bank, Cultural Pittsfield, The Friends of the Berkshire Athenaeum, and Pittsfield  Cooperative Bank; and private individuals such as Doug and Deborah Moody and Brent and Carolyn Banulis.
Schedule updates and box office information can be found at