Jazz on the Tube’s Ken McCarthy interviews John Ernesto of Berks Jazz Fest.
Berks is a world class, community-supported jazz festival that takes place every spring in southeastern Pennsylvania. One commentator has called it the “biggest jazz festival in the world.”
With over 100 performances spread out over ten days it may well be.
For ten days, jazz takes over bucolic Berks county, with Reading, Pennsylvania (about 60 miles northwest of Philadelphia) at its center.
Unlike some commercially oriented jazz festivals that hire big stars from the popular music world to generate maximum revenues, Berks, which is operated by the Berks County Arts Council, keeps the focus on jazz in all the flavors and shapes in takes.
Now in its 28th year, the festival offers student musicians educational and performing opportunities and professionals with unique creative set ups while making a major economic contribution to its community.
The festival is popular among the musicians themselves who like the laid back atmosphere that’s all about the music.
A very short list of this years headliners includes Randy Brecker, Maceo Parker, Deedee Bridgewater, and Gerald Veasley.
“I’ve been to a lot of jazz festivals around the world and none of them compares to Reading (Berks.)” – Michael Tozzi, veteran Philadelphia jazz DJ.
If you’re a jazz festival lover, this is one that should definitely be on your radar Berks Jazz Fest.
Jazz on the Tube’s Ken McCarthy interviews Louis Marks of Ropeadope Records, an artist-friendly, jazz-friendly label in “East Philly” that’s blazing new trails in the art and science of connecting musicians with audiences via recorded music.
Louis and Ken discuss one of the label’s recent projects, a self-produced masterpiece by Eddie Palmieri called “Sabiduría” (“Wisdom.”)
They follow that with the story of the label’s participation in the musician-led movement to save and rebuild New Orleans after the 2005 levee failures and flood when so many TV talking heads and politicians were advocating that the city be bulldozed.
Finally, Louis shares his vision of how labels can adapt to the new business and distribution realities of the 21st century while simultaneously strengthening artists and giving fans more choice.