It's becoming the new "Jazz Space"! Every first Thursday of the month, the Neag Planetarium at the Reading Public Museum features live jazz featuring a variety of local, regional and national artists in the area's most unique venue. The series, "Jazz Under the Stars," lets you enjoy great musical performances while experiencing the visually stunning images on the theatre's dome above.
In addition, the newly renovated foyer have food and beverages available for purchase, provided by VIVÁ Bistro & Tapas Lounge (CLICK HERE for menu), as well as a spacious area with seating and tables. Plus, while you are enjoying food and conversation in this area, you'll be able to see the musicians on our digital screens and hear them on the Planetarium's sound system.
Doors open at 6 p.m. and music begins at 7 p.m.
Price is $20 per person, payable at the door, or in advance. Call 610-371-5850 x264 for ticket reservations (strongly suggested — limited seating in the theatre area).
"The Cartoon Christmas Trio" — Thursday, December 5, 2013
Good grief! They're back by popular demand! If you missed them last year here at the "Jazz Space," now you can get in the holiday mood in style with this top-notch trio of talented musicians. CLICK HERE for an audio sample (mp3).
Celebrating its 18th Anniversary, The Cartoon Christmas Trio was started in 1995 by bassist Rob Swanson for the sole purpose of playing music from classic Christmas cartoons, especially the music of Vince Guaraldi, the composer of the "Peanuts" soundtracks. The first five Christmas seasons (1995-1999) had seen the trio consistently sell out the former jazz club Bourbon Street Cafe, to rave reviews from the Wilmington News Journal. The event was listed as one of the "Top seven things to do the week before Christmas," (News Journal, Dec. 18th, 1998) The trio has performed at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on the Avenue of the Arts in Philadelphia, NBC's The 10! Show, NPR, The Brandywine River Museum, First and Central Presbyterian Church, Iron Hill Breweries, numerous schools, and many other special events.
The trio is comprised of Jeff Knoettner on piano, Jackie Browne on drums, and Rob Swanson on bass. All members are professional, full time musicians and educators in the Greater Philadelphia Region.
The music of Vince Guaraldi, in particular the soundtrack of the Peanuts Christmas Cartoon, has become the best selling Christmas recording of all time. The trio performs every song from this recording, using the exact instrumentation that Guaraldi originally composed for. In addition to the "Peanuts" music, the trio plays songs from "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas," "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer," "Frosty the Snowman," and "The Little Drummer Boy," just to name a few. So when the 63rd version of the Messiah has left you uninspired and you are looking for a fresh alternative, come out at listen to the sounds of the Cartoon Christmas Trio because after all, Christmas Time is here!
Jeff Knoettner — pianist, composer, and teacher — has performed in various festivals, including the Melon Jazz Festival, Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, River Blues Festival, the New York State Blues Festival, Cape May Jazz and Rehobeth Jazz Festivals, and the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. Jeff's musical proficiency extends to playing the trumpet and organ, composing and arranging. He has performed and recorded with numerous groups.
Jackie Browne has played drums professionally for over 35 years working primarily on the east coast as one of the most successful independent Main-Line musicians. Jackie has backed such notables as: Regis Philbin, Melba Moore, Petula Clark, Al Martin , Rose Marie, The Four Acre , Billy Eckstein, Julius LaRosa, The Four Lad . Jackie works with his Jazz Ensemble developing music presentations for special events, and radio, television productions.
Playing bass for over 30 years, Rob Swanson has made a name for himself as one of the most versatile working bassists in the Philly metro area. Tripling on Electric, Upright, and Vocals, Rob finds himself in up to 20 different musical configurations on any given month, ranging from straight ahead bebop, groove, world, funk, and rock. Rob has performed at venues across the globe and across the street including The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, The Carl Orff Stage at Gasteig in Munich Germany, and The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival in Wilmington.
"Andy Roberts Quartet featuring Tom Strohman" — *Thursday, January 9, 2014
*NOTE: This is the SECOND Thursday of the month, due to proximity to New Year's Eve/ Day!
OK, we'll give you a short rest from New Year's celebrations, and move this date back a week to the SECOND Thursday, breaking with our tradition. Andy's gang is back, this time with special guest, TOM STROHMAN. Joining them will be "Jazz Space" favorite bassist Rob Swanson and outstanding drummer Dave Santana for an evening of great jazz!
Pianist/composer/arranger ANDY ROBERTS arrived at his approach to music and composition thru the absorption of musical styles from disparate eras. His influences range from jazz greats Fats Waller, Bud Powell, and Chick Corea to rockers like Professor Longhair and Rick Wakeman. He incorporates all of these music genres into his own compositions and improvisations.
Roberts repertoire includes a busy schedule of music directing, performing and writing within many formats of the music world. He is currently music-director for the Timbers Dinner Theater in Mt. Gretna Pa. and the American Music Theater in Lancaster, Pa. Internationally, Roberts toured Japan several times with soul legends, The Three Degrees. As an educator, Roberts teaches jazz-studies at Lebanon Valley College in Annville Pa. and is involved with the Music in the Schools program based in Berks County, which presents introductory jazz and improvisation programs to area schools.
TOM STROHMAN started playing piccolo at the age of six. Under the tutelage of his father, H. Herbert Strohman, Tom studied flute, saxophone and clarinet. He continued his studies at Lebanon Valley College with Frank Stachow, eventually graduating with a B.S. in Music Education. In addition to earning a MM. in Jazz Performance from Towson University, Tom has also studied with Joe Allard, Phil Woods, Walter Bishop, Jr., Adolphe Sandole, Charles DeLaney and John Oberbrunner.
As a free lance musician, Tom has performed for entertainers Patti Page, Al Martino, Sonny and Cher, Eddie Fisher, The Four Aces, Della Reese, Frankie Avalon and Bobby Vinton. As a solo performer, he has had the pleasure of working with the following musicians: Bobby Rosengarten, Ira Sullivan, Buddy DeFranco, Al Grey, Steve Gilmore, David Schnitter, John Blake, Jonny Coles and John Von Ohlem. Tom was inducted into the Central PA Friends of Jazz Hall of Fame in 2009.
Since 1974, Tom has been a member of Third Stream, one of Pennsylvania's finest contemporary bands. In addition to releasing five recordings, the group has also performed in concert with Herbie Hancock, Stanley Turrentine, Livingston Taylor, Jeff Beck, Deodato, Spyro Gyra and Phil Wilson.
In addition to performing with Third Stream, Tom is also Professor of Music at Lebanon Valley College, where he directs the Jazz Bands and Sax Ensemble and teaches Saxophone, Jazz Studies and Orchestration.
"Djangoholics Anonymous" — Thursday, February 6, 2014
Back to the FIRST Thursday again!
Djangoholics Anonymous consists of Josh Taylor (guitar), Michael Nikolidakis (guitar), Bill Nixon (violin), David Turanski (bass) and Chris Heslop (clarinet, sax). The core of the group first met in 2013 at "Django in June." a premier music camp held in Northampton, Mass., and formed this group shortly afterwards. The band will be playing early gypsy jazz Influenced by Django Reinhardt and the early Quintett du Hot Club de France recordings as well as early swing standards.
Gypsy jazz (also known as gypsy swing or hot club jazz) is a style of jazz music often said to have been started by guitarist Jean "Django" Reinhardt in the 1930s. Because its origins are largely in France it is often called by the French name, "jazz manouche", or alternatively, "manouche jazz."
Many of the musicians in this style worked in Paris in various popular Musette ensembles. The Musette style waltz remains an important component in the Gypsy jazz repertoire. Reinhardt was noted for combining a dark, chromatic Gypsy flavor with the swing articulation of the period. This combination is critical to this style of jazz. In addition to this his approach continues to form the basis for contemporary Gypsy jazz guitar. Reinhardt's most famous group, the Quintette du Hot Club de France, also brought fame to jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli.
The original Quintette du Hot Club de France played acoustically without a drummer, facilitating the use of the acoustic guitar as a lead instrument. Guitar and violin are still the main solo instruments, although clarinet and accordion are also common. The rhythm guitar is played using a distinct percussive technique, "la pompe", that essentially replaces the drums.
"The Chris Farr Quartet" — Thursday, March 6, 2014
A Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest preview concert!
Saxophonist Chris Farr is a highly sought after performer and educator. Chris is currently the head of the saxophone department at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He's a long-time member of Gerald Veasley's band, and has performed many time at the Berks Jazz Fest.
He can be found playing on the Philly jazz scene as well as nationally and internationally. Over the past years Chris has recorded, toured and or performed with Maynard Ferguson, Randy Brecker, Dennis Chambers, Stanley Clarke, Diane Schuur, Jill Scott, Teddy Pendergrass, Mary J. Blige, Wyclef Jean, The Roots, Carl Thomas, Jaheim, Terell Stafford, John Swana, Joe Magnarelli, Jimmy Bruno, Lou Rawls, Larry Carlton, Joey DeFrancesco, "Papa" John DeFrancesco and, of course, Gerald Veasley.
Chris will be bringing his all-star talented group to the "Jazz Space" as a prelude to the 24th annual Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest, giving you a chance to catch a "shining star" on his own and this unique and intimate setting.
"Dave Posmontier Trio with special guest Star(TBA)" — Friday, April 4, 2014 - 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Our Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest tradition continues with this special Friday afternoon/evening concert/party! The versatile Dave Posmontier Trio is back and we're busy lining up a special guest "star"(or more) to sit in for a couple of numbers. What a great way to get warmed up for the second weekend of this world-class festival in an out-of-this-world venue.
It's a great prelude to one of the many concerts held later that evening as part of the 24th Annual Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest. Start your weekend in an unmatched "atmosphere" — right across the street from the Scottish Rite Cathedral, and nearby major hotels and Downtown Reading.
Dave's back for the fourth year! Listen to the music of his trio while enjoying the visually stunning images on the dome above. Our Planetarium theatre and lounge will be set up with tables, chairs, and plenty of room to mingle. Plus, while you're in the lounge, you'll be able to see and hear the musicians on our screens and sound system so you won't miss a beat!
Dave Posmontier has been playing piano since the age of seven and professionally for the past 40 years. A pianist, organist, composer, arranger and teacher, he has performed and recorded with many jazz artists including Christian McBride, James Moody, Chris Potter, Duane Eubanks, Mickie Roker, Bobbie Durham, John Blake, John Swana, Mike Richmond, Bootsie Barnes, Tony Williams (sax), Bob Howell, Larry McKenna, Steve Giordano, Grover Washington Jr., David "Fathead" Newman, and Johnny Hartman. Joining Dave will be noted musicians bassist Chico Huff and drummer Erik Johnson, no strangers to the Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest.
Keep checking back here for more details/and or sign up for our e-newsletter for updates. (see our home page, click on the envelope icon) This event is sponsored by Fleetwood Bank. Special pricing will apply to this event (TBA).
"Jazz Under the Stars" is presented by Hair On The Avenue, with the additional support of the 24th annual Boscov's Berks Jazz Fest and the Berks Arts Council. Food and beverages by ViVÁ Bistro & Tapas Lounge.