Empire Jazz OrchestraThe tenth annual Pittsfield CityJazz Festival runs from Oct. 10-19, 2014 in various venues in downtown Pittsfield. 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 the top female jazz performers, the annual “jazz crawl” that features local musicians in restaurants and lounges throughout downtown; and a new entry in the Jazz Prodigy series.

Sponsored by Berkshires Jazz, Inc. , the festival kicks off on Friday, Oct. 10, with Jazz About Town, more casually known as a “jazz crawl,” which continues through the Columbus Day weekend. As many as a dozen local restaurants and lounges present the best of Berkshires established performers, at no cover or minimum. Schedule updates will be posted at www.BerkshiresJazz.org

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 (artist to be announced). Most of the festival’s events are free, including the jazz crawl and the jazz prodigy concert.

Stephanie Nakasian with pianist Hod O’BrienThere are only two ticketed events, on Oct. 17 and 18. Opening the headline weekend is vocalist Stephanie Nakasian, featured with a trio headed by pianist Hod O’Brien.

The performance takes place in the intimate setting of Baba Louie’s Backroom, a popular speakeasy-type room that is becoming one of the more popular jazz venues in the Berkshires. $20 in advance, $25 at the door. (Please include name for your reservation, in lieu of actual ticket(s))


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The final concert is Saturday, Oct. 18. The performers are the Empire Jazz Orchestra, the region’s top big band, and will feature three guest artists: saxophonists Claire Daly, Sharel Cassity, and Ada Rovatti. This concert will be held at Pittsfield’s historic Colonial Theatre (and offers discounts to AAA members). Buy tickets.

The weekend winds down with a jazz brunch on Sunday, Oct. 19, details to be announced.

More about the performers: