The Frank Vignola Trio

Friday, June 15 2018 at 7:30 pm

Frank Vignola is one of the most extraordinary guitarists performing before the public today. His stunning virtuosity has made him the guitarist of choice for many of the world’s top musicians, including Donald Fagen, Wynton Marsalis, Tommy Emmanuel, the Boston Pops, and guitar legend Les Paul, who named Vignola to his “Five Most Admired Guitarists List” for the Wall Street Journal. Vignola’s jaw dropping technique explains why the New York Times deemed him “one of the brightest stars of the guitar”.

Read More →

The Jeff Holmes Big Band, with vocalist Dawning Holmes

Saturday, June 16 2018 at 7:30 pm

Pianist, composer, arranger and trumpeter Jeff Holmes is a nationally published and commissioned composer/arranger, and a multiple recipient of National Endowment For The Arts Jazz Composition Grants. He has written music for renowned jazz musicians including John Abercrombie, Max Roach, Sheila Jordan, Yusef Lateef, Rufus Reid, and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.

In addition to its impressive library of big-band standards and originals, the Jeff Holmes big band’s repertoire will include a tribute to Leonard Bernstein, whose 100th birthday is being celebrated this year by many musical organizations across the globe. Bernstein’s music touched all genres, from classical to pop, opera to jazz, and Hollywood.

Read More →

Ella Fitzgerald Centennial Celebration: Vermont Jazz Center Big Band with Wanda Houston

Friday, June 16 2017 8:00 PM

Wanda Houston

The Berkshire Gateway Jazz Weekend celebrates Ella Fitzgerald’s centennial birthday with a concert of arrangements she performed with Count Basie, Duke Ellington and others. Leading the way is the Vermont Jazz Center Big Band, a 16-piece ensemble of area professionals, directed by Rob Freeberg. Acclaimed vocalist Wanda Houston will front the band for this tour-de-force of the great American songbook.

Dubbed “The First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald was the most popular female jazz singer in the United States for more than half a century…and perhaps the first jazz artist to become a household name. One of today’s outstanding interpreters of vocal jazz and blues, Wanda Houston has loved and sung along with Fitzgerald’s music since she was a young girl. Originally from Chicago, Wanda grew up singing gospel music in church and with her family’s theater group.  She has led an active career as an actress performing on the grand stages of Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Broadway. Like Fitzgerald, she is a great singer as well as a superb storyteller; she colors the spaces between her songs with fascinating stories of her youth and the trials and tribulations of life on the road.

Read More →

The New Black Eagle Jazz Band with Duke Robillard

SATURDAY, JUNE 17 2017 8:00 PM

BEagles Robillard CD cover

One of the longest-standing, best-known and highly-respected traditional jazz groups, The New Black Eagle Jazz Band returns to the Berkshires after a three-year hiatus. Celebrating their 45th anniversary in 2016, the band has dozens of recordings to its name, including a Grammy nomination. Of their prowess and creativity, the late N.Y. Time critic John S. Wilson wrote that the band is “So far ahead of other traditional bands…there is scarcely any basis for comparison.”

In 2009, the Black Eagles teamed-up with famed guitarist Duke Robillard for a recording called “Nothing But the Blues.” After many years, they are reunited exclusively for the Berkshire Gateway Jazz Weekend.

Read More →