The Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival returns to liven up Columbus Ave. with Boston’s biggest annual block party this weekend.
Visitors can get their groove on with two stages of performances by jazz, Latin, blues, funk and other artists. Grammy nominated-composer Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, the Blue Man Group and Emily Estefan, a recent Berklee graduate and daughter of music icons Gloria and Emilio Estefan, are set to perform.
Berklee professor and Grammy Award-winning drummer composer, Terri Lyne Carrington curated the event and says it’s going to be a day for all kinds of music fans.
“We’ve got cultural aspects that go beyond that music and promote cultural exchange,” Carrington says. “Music fans will definitely come, but I’m sure some will leave as new fans of jazz.”
The Blue Man Group will host its Boston Drum-Off, a competition to find the most talented young drummer in New England, at the the Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival for the first time. Five finalists will perform in front of the festival crowd and a judges panel for the chance to perform live with the band and win more than $6,000 worth of prizes.
On Sunday, the Corea/Gadd Band will bring down the house with a ticketed concert at the Berklee Performance Center. The group features music legends Chick Corea and Steve Gadd.
There will also be an instrument petting zoo where festival goers can explore many of the music-making tools that will be used in the performances in a hands-on way. Berklee faculty and students will demonstrate how to hold, play and experience them.
For the young ones there will be KidsJam, a free early childhood music education program provided to the Boston-area community by the Music Education Department at Berklee College of Music
Don’t forget to grab a bite and treat yourself to some of the local vendors that will be at the festival this year including R&S Jamaican, the Riceball Factory, Jake’s BBQ, Boston Red Dogs, Thai Hut, Nirvana’s Taste of India and Beard Papa’s Cream Puffs.
If you go:
Sept. 30-Oct. 1, Columbus Ave., Boston, berklee.edu/beantownjazz