George Shearing tribute at Berkshire Gateway Jazz
Article by Dave Read
The 3rd Annual Berkshire Gateway Jazz Weekend, scheduled for various venues in Lee, MA June 5-8,2014, features The Sounds of Shearing, paying the music of former Lee resident Sir George Shearing. Sounds of Shearing is led by Charlie Shoemake on vibraphone, a member of one of Shearing’s Quintets, and includes Joe Bagg on piano; Ron Anthony, guitar; Luther Hughes, bass; and Bill Goodwin, drums. Concert is Fri. June 6 at 8pm, First Congregational Church; tickets are $20 advance; $25 at the door. Tickets & info.
Berkshire Gateway Jazz Weekend is ponsored by Berkshire Gateway Preservation, Inc., in collaboration with Berkshires Jazz, Inc.
The Sounds of Shearing starts its first-ever northeast tour in the town where Sir George spent his summers for 10 years (in fact, the band will be staying at the very residence where Shearing stayed, the home of Dee Dee Fraser). Sir George Shearing was one of the most beloved and honored jazz pianists of all time. His widow Ellie will introduce the band via video.
Sonny and Perley Thursday June 5
The festival opens on Thursday, June 5 with the exciting duo of Sonny Daye and Perley Rousseau. After a successful performance at last year’s event, Sonny & Perley return by popular demand. The duo achieves a rare musical symbiosis, having spent the last several years developing and perfecting their unique blend of jazz, bossa nova, American songbook standards, and international cabaret, which has become their musical signature. (Spectrum Playhouse, 8pm, $15 advance seating, $20 at the door). Tickets & info.
New Black Eagle Jazz Band, Saturday June 7
The June 7 concert marks the return of the New Black Eagle Jazz Band to the Berkshires after a five-year hiatus. Perhaps the country’s most renowned exponent of traditional jazz, this seven-piece band has delighted audiences all over the world for more than 30 years, with their huge and eclectic repertoire of jazz from the 1920s and 30s. (First Congregational Church; $20 in advance; $25 at the door).
The Black Eagles have a mature mastery of this great American music, from Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton to early Duke Ellington to Cole Porter; from blues to rags to popular songs of the era. In fact, the New York Times’ John Wilson wrote that the Black Eagles are “so far ahead of other traditional bands…there is scarcely any basis for comparison.”