by Peter Aaron
Though only in its second season, the Berkshire Gateway Jazz Weekend has pulled in some of the music’s top names for this year’s event, which takes place July 26-27 in Lee, Massachusetts. In addition to appearances by local musicians around the town and sets by guitarist Freddie Bryant, the main event, at Lee’s First Congregational Church, features legendary saxophonist Phil Woods and drummer Gregory Caputo’s 16-piece big band.
Woods, one of the greatest bop alto players of all time and the winner of four Grammy Awards, was born in nearby Springfield in 1931. In the 1950s and ’60s, he worked with the likes of Benny Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Rich, Thelonious Monk, Quincy Jones, and Benny Goodman before going on to lead his own exemplary ensembles. In the pop world, he’s well known for his solo on the Billy Joel hit “Just the Way You Are.”
Get a load of this 1959 European performance of the standard “Undecided” featuring the young Woods:
For tickets and more information, visit Berkshiregatewayjazz.com.