Boston Pops First-Ever Jazz Fest to Include Berklee Jazz Cafe

This year, Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops will launch their first-ever jazz week, May 23-27, with some of the genre’s hottest artists backed by the big-band sound of America’s orchestra. The 2006 Boston Pops Jazz Fest features two critically acclaimed jazz artists: guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli on May 23, 24, and 25; and singer Jane Monheit on May 26 and 27. The BSO is also partnering with Berklee College of Music to present the Berklee Jazz Café, featuring student artists performing in the Hatch and Cabot-Cahners rooms at Symphony Hall before the Pops Jazz Fest concerts, and afterward in the Higginson room. Symphony Hall is located at 301 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Admission to the Berklee Jazz Cafe is free with a Pops concert ticket for that evening. Some artists are performing multiple nights. For a full schedule, and ticket information, please call 888-266-1200 or visit

The Berklee Jazz Café will give listeners the chance to hear some of tomorrow’s top talent, including several international students and scholarship recipients, in a relaxed lounge-style setting. Performers include artists featured on the new CD compilation Ars Nova, released by Berklee’s Jazz Revelation Records. The Berklee Jazz Café will present groups led by Mike Tucker, Bryan Baker, Maeve Gilchrist, Alex Terrier, Laura Brunner, Jim Funnell, Ori Dakari, Evan Baughman, Akira Ishiguro, and Samantha Sidley.

Said Berklee President Roger Brown, "Berklee is delighted to partner with the Boston Pops to present the next generation of jazz innovators. Among our student body today are the musicians who will follow in the footsteps of alumni like Branford Marsalis, Diana Krall, and Quincy Jones. You'll be able to say, ‘I saw them when...’"

Added Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart, "I'm excited about the opportunity to work with Berklee in presenting these talented young artists as part of our first-ever Boston Pops Jazz Fest. We at the Boston Pops are always looking for ways to expand our musical offerings and showcase the area's most promising young talent, and the Jazz Café does both. We're all thrilled to be able to do this, and I think the audience is going to love it."

About the artists:

Mike Tucker Quartet (May 24, 26) - Saxophonist Mike Tucker is turning heads in a big way, earning the praise of some of the finest jazz players alive, including Michael Brecker, Gary Burton, Joe Lovano, and Pat Metheny. Tucker received standing ovations at the 2005 Nancy Jazz Festival in Lorraine, France, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington D. C. He has gained recognition with performances in Japan, Germany, Costa Rica, and at the JVC Jazz Festival in New York City and the Tanglewood Jazz Festival. The Mike Tucker Quartet was featured in a live broadcast on XM satellite radio and recently released their debut album Collage.

Bryan Baker Quartet (May 25, 27) - Bryan Baker began formal training in guitar at age four, and was awarded a full tuition scholarship to Berklee in 2003. He is the recipient of the Billboard Magazine Endowed Scholarship, and represented the college at the Blue Note in New York City with the Berklee Scholarship Jazz Ensemble. Baker has performed in many Berklee events, led his own concerts, and performs regularly at local clubs and national festivals, including the 2005 Monterrey Jazz Festival. The Bryan Baker Quartet will soon release its debut, Aphotic.

Maeve Gilchrist Trio (May 24) - Harpist Maeve Gilchrist was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. She began playing piano at seven and soon picking up the clarsach (Celtic harp). Gilchrist studied the City of Edinburgh Music School before winning a scholarship to attend Berklee. She has played and recorded with artists including Matt Glaser, Kathy Mattea, Meshell Ndegeocello, and Jamey Haddad, and has performed in countries around the world. Gilchrist is currently performing with bassist Andres Rotmistrofsky and percussionist Marcelo Woloski, both of Argentina. Blending Scottish roots and jazz influences with Latin American rhythms, the trio creates a unique and multicultural sound. Their debut CD will be released soon.

Alex Terrier Quartet (May 23) - Saxophonist Alex Terrier is a native of Paris. Terrier graduated from the Lycee de Sevres and studied at the National School of Music before earning a scholarship to attend Berklee, where he was awarded the Joseph Viola Scholarship and the Herb Pomeroy Award. He performs with, and composes for, three of the best jazz bands at the college: the Concert Jazz Orchestra, the Rainbow Big Band, and the Rainbow All Stars. Terrier recently toured Costa Rica and recorded Stop Requested, his first album as a leader.

Laura Brunner Quartet (May 26) Laura Brunner is an accomplished young singer/composer hailing from Columbus Ohio, where she sang with numerous choirs and performed with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra on many occasions. In 2002, Brunner received a scholarship to attend Berklee. She has performed in Berklee’s popular Singers’ Showcase concert twice, and also in master classes with Meredith Monk, Riannon, and Ellis Marsalis. Brunner recently released a CD of original compositions and co-organized and performed in the Fresh Forward Jazz Festival, giving young composers an opportunity to showcase their material and promote the future generation of jazz.

Jim Funnell Trio (May 26) - Pianist Jim Funnell was born in Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, near Paris, and grew up in England, France, and Germany. Funnell began playing piano at age five and started playing local gigs in Paris when he was 14. He later formed the NJR Trio, which enjoyed success playing at the Concours National de Jazz de la Dfense in Paris, and the Vienne Jazz Festival. He then studied classical piano at the French National Conservatory until he was awarded a scholarship from Berklee. Funnell also performs with the groups MUNDuO, and DiLe.

Ori Dakari Trio (May 23, 25, 27) - Born and raised in Kfar-Saba, Israel, Ori Dakari started playing jazz guitar at the age of 12. At 18, Dakari was accepted to do his army service with the prestigious Israeli Army Jazz Band. During his army service, he studied at the Rimon School of Music and was also a member of the Hulon Big Band, performing with top Israeli jazz musicians. Since 1999, Dakari has benefited from an annual scholarship from the America-Israel Culture Foundation. In the summer of 2004, Dakari earned a scholarship to attend Berklee, where he has studied with Joe Lovano, Hal Crook, Dave Santoro, Ed Tomassi, and Mark Whitfield.

Evan Baughman Quintet (May 25) - Evan Cole Baughman, of Murrysville, PA, started singing at the age of five. She sang at her local church, in choirs and musicals, and performed the national anthem at sports events. Baughman is currently a Music Business/Management major at Berklee. She is a recipient of the Best Scholarship and the YO Team Scholarship. She is also a member of the Reverence Gospel Ensemble and the gospel ensemble Overjoyed, directed by Dennis Montgomery, III. She sings a wide variety of music genres, from gospel, jazz, blues, and R&B, to opera, exemplifying versatility, ability, and professionalism. Baughman also writes her own material.

Akira Ishiguro Trio (May 24) Guitarist Akira Ishiguro was born in Fukushima, Japan, and moved to the U.S. at the age of 10. Ishiguro began lessons in guitar, trumpet, and piano while attending school in Menomonee Falls, WI. In 2002, Ishiguro came to Berklee on a scholarship. While at Berklee he has studied and played with Mick Goodrick, George Garzone, Joe Lovano and many others. Ishiguro was a member of the Berklee Rainbow Big Band, directed by Phil Wilson, for two years. He has also played in Portugal with the Jeff Davis Quartet at the Valdo Dos Frades Jazz Festival. Ishiguro graduates this semester with a double major in Performance and Jazz Composition.

Samantha Sidley Quartet (May 23) - Samantha Sidley is a native of Los Angeles, where she attended the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts, and was named a California State Arts Scholar. She performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival as a member of the school’s Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and opened for Manhattan Transfer in San Diego. Sidley was one of only six high school vocalists chosen for the Gibson/Baldwin Grammy High School Jazz ensemble. In 2003, Downbeat magazine recognized her as the Top Performing Arts High School Jazz Vocalist. In 2005, while attending Berklee, Sidley won the Algonquin Hotel’s Young Artist Award, earning her a two-week gig at the hotel’s prestigious Oak Room.

Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music was through the study and practice of contemporary music. For 60 years, the college has evolved constantly to reflect the state of the art of music and the music business. With over a dozen performance and nonperformance majors, a diverse and talented student body representing over 70 countries, and a music industry "who's who" of alumni, Berklee is the world's premier learning lab for the music of today - and tomorrow.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Tucker
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