This weekend is Boston's largest, and only free jazz festival, the Beantown Jazz Festival (Globe article here). For one afternoon, three blocks by Northeastern give way to multiple stages featuring many local and national acts. While I thought last year's bill was a little better, there are certainly good things to see this year, and I plan to be there. Especially notable:
- The Charles Tolliver Big Band. I know Tolliver only by reputation, but he did win a couple of Downbeat Awards this year. NEC and Berklee will have big bands there as well, and one local pro big band of note, the Greg Hopkins Orchestra, will also play.
- The legendary Bobby Hutcherson's quartet. Nuff said.
- Mike Stern. Not usually my cup of tea, but the honey-voiced Richard Bona is on the bill with him, so it could be interesting.
- Not officially part of the festival, but very intriguing. Tomorrow night the Either/Orchestra plays at the Somerville Theatre with three Ethiopian musicians as part of the WorldMusic series. Russ Gershon, the E/O leader, has become borderline obsessed with this Ethiopian folk and pop music over the past few years, and the results have been interesting. (And a huge shift from the E/O I grew up with.)
If you're over in the South End tomorrow and see me, please do say hello. Review to come. Full gigs of note for October- and there are quite a few- to come.