WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
@brianbingaman on Twitter
Running April 1-10, the Berks Jazz Fest has a new major venue in the DoubleTree by Hilton in downtown Reading.
In addition to six major concerts in the 1,200-seat grand ballroom, the DoubleTree will host six other events — including two brunches — in its smaller ballroom, said John Ernesto, the festival’s general manager, in a press release.
Who can I see there?
The opening night celebration April 1 at the DoubleTree will feature a show billed as “The Summit,” with The Manhattan Transfer and Take 6, which will include the two groups singing together. Tickets are $59.
April 2 will feature Keb’ Mo’, who is back at the festival for the first time since 2007, and Gerald Albright.
The hotel will host the 25th anniversary tour of Fourplay — with Bob James, Nathan East, Harvey Mason and Chuck Loeb — on April 3.
BWB — Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum and Rick Braun — will perform at 7 p.m. April 8, and saxophonist Boney James is featured April 9.
But that’s not the only place they have concerts.
Right. Three noteworthy shows at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, 301 S. Seventh Ave., West Reading, are: Mavis Staples, with guest vocalist Amy Helm and The Handsome Strangers, at 7 p.m. April 8; Chick Corea and Bela Fleck — who recently collaborated on an album titled “Two” — at 7 p.m. April 9; and the “Gospel According to Jazz” finale concert with Kirk Whalum and friends at 7 p.m. April 10. Whalum will be performing with his brother Kevin Whalum, gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, Jonathan Butler, John Stoddart and the local DOXA Gospel Ensemble.
In addition, the Crowne Plaza Reading will host 15 concerts; Building 24 Live will host 13 concerts (including four Gerald Veasley’s Midnight Jams); Reading Area Community College’s Miller Center will host five concerts; the Inn at Reading will host three; and the Abraham Lincoln Hotel will host two.
Sounds like I really need to plan ahead. How much are tickets?
They vary. There are some free concerts too. Click on the concerts tab at www.berksjazzfest.com to have it all in front of you.
What if I need to stay overnight?
Besides the convenience of having overnight accommodations at the DoubleTree by Hilton and the Crowne Plaza, there’s several hotels in the Reading and Wyomissing areas to choose from. Take a look at www.berksjazzfest.com/where-to-stay.