Berklee Musicians to Fill the Bill at 2017 Dominican Republic Jazz Festival

Several of jazz's leading lights, including many Berklee faculty members, students, and alumni, are slated to perform at the 2017 Dominican Republic Jazz Festival, held October 29 and November 1-5.

October 26, 2017

Several of jazz's leading lights, including many Berklee faculty members, students, and alumni, will be performing at the 2017 Dominican Republic Jazz Festival. The 21st annual festival, presented by nonprofit youth music education foundation FEDUJAZZ and the Dominican Republic Ministry of Tourism, features six nights of free concerts held October 29 and November 1-5 on stages in Santo Domingo, Santiago, Sosúa, Cabarete, and Puerto Plata.

Marco Pignataro, managing director and faculty member of the Berklee Global Jazz Institute (BGJI) and artistic advisor to the festival, says, "The 2017 Dominican Republic Jazz Festival honors the contemporary global dimensions of jazz and every night will be dedicated to different countries and their specific point of view on this music." He adds, "Jazz is truly a modern expression of democracy which keeps renewing itself through the creative encounter of music cultures around the world."

Watch a festival preview video (en Español):

The festival lineup includes: 1985 Berklee graduate (and 2013 Berklee honorary doctorate recipient) William Cepeda, the legendary Dizzy Gillespie protégé from Puerto Rico who innovated and developed his own Afro-Rican jazz style while touring with iconic artists such as Paquito D'Rivera '03H; Tito Puente '95H; and Michel Camilo '00H (who recently established a scholarship for a student from the Dominican Republic to attend Berklee). Cepeda will perform with Orion Morales Gonzalez, a current BGJI graduate fellow. Renowned trumpeter, composer, educator, and activist Sean Jones, the Berklee Brass Department chair whose storied career includes a stint touring in tribute to Miles Davis upon being selected by Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller, and Wayne Shorter, will also take the stage with his quartet.

Pignataro will perform on multiple nights, first with El Eco with Guillermo Nojechowicz B.M. '84 (alongside Helio Alves B.M. '90, Professor Fernando Huergo B.M. '92, and others), and then with his own Almas Antiguas Quartet, which includes Ehud Ettun and BGJI artists in residence Adam Cruz and Alan Pasqua. Roni Eytan B.M. '16, a BGJI alumnus who plays the microtonal harmonica—an instrument created specifically for him— will also take the stage with his quartet.

George Garzone B.M. '72, the influential saxophonist and educator, will perform with the Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors at the festival. The Ambassadors for the festival are BGJI graduate students Henry Beal (bass), Cosimo Boni (trumpet), Keira Harman (trombone), Yumi Kim (piano), and Vladimir Guigni Norberto (drums).

In addition to many musicians who have studied or taught at Berklee, the festival lineup includes Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Brian Lynch, a veteran of Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers; Kim Nazarian, a member of the Grammy-winning vocal group New York Voices; the adventurous Brazilian group Trio da Paz; versatile Italian bassist Riccardo Del Fra; and esteemed Dominican accordionist Fefita la Grande, among others.

The following Berklee artists will perform at the festival (view full lineup and more info):

Sunday, October 29
Plaza España in Santo Domingo

The National Conservatory of Music of Santo Domino Big Band featuring Associate Professor Alain Mallet

Wednesday, November 1
Centro León in Santiago

El Eco with Guillermo Nojechowicz B.M. '84 featuring Pignataro, Brian Lynch, Kim Nazarian, Helio Alves B.M. '90, and Professor Fernando Huergo B.M. '92

Thursday, November 2
Anfiteatro Casa Marina in Sosúa
Anat Cohen B.M. '98 with the Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors
Roni Eytan B.M. '16 Quartet

F. Javier Vargas B.M. '04 and Atre

Saturday, November 4
Playa Cabarete
Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors with Professor George Garzone B.M. '72

Sean Jones Quartet (Jones is chair of Berklee's Brass Department)

Sunday, November 5
Playa Cabarete
William Cepeda B.M. '85 '13H

Marco Pignataro's Almas Antiguas Quartet with Alan Pasqua, Adam Cruz, and Ehud Ettun

All festival concerts will take place from 8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on the festival's first three nights (October 29 and November 1-2), and from 8:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on the final two nights (November 4-5).

The Berklee Global Jazz Ambassadors are students studying with the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, an honors performance program designed to foster creativity and musicianship through various musical disciplines, with renowned Grammy-winning pianist and composer Danilo Pérez as its artistic director. The BGJI provides a comprehensive contemporary music environment where students are given opportunities to explore their creativity to the highest level possible, advance the power of music as a tool for the betterment of society, and connect musical and creative thinking with the natural environment.