May 072015

newlogoheaderWeekends rate highly on the Salem Ma diversity meter. Pick any Saturday or Sunday and there is ALWAYS something going on— and usually different from the previous week. Music or Art or Theatre or Film. For example, The Salem Jazz and Soul Festival launches its 2015 SJSF/Berklee Summer Series with a concert featuring The Yellowjackets, a band made up of current Berklee College of Music students, this Saturday, May 9, in Derby Square, Salem ( Rain location: Opus, 87 Washington St., Salem).

The Berklee Yellowjackets Ensemble is a high-level student band led by professor Dave Weigert (playing drums). What makes this performance especially interesting is that this ensemble learns and plays the repertoire of the world-renowned Yellowjackets, one of the few jazz bands that has been together for more than 30 years. Those are big musical footsteps to keep time with!

According to the SJSF “The selected Yellowjackets repertoire that will be played is funk-oriented and groove-based, with beautiful, soaring and expressive melodies and rich harmonies. Audience members will be treated to an uplifting and inspiring performance.”

And, the concert is free.

Berklee YJThe students are bassist Elin Margareta Sandberg (Sweden), tenor and alto saxophonist Andrew Denicola (Stamford, Conn.), guitarist Lior Tzemach (Ramat Gan, Israel) and piano synth player Zak Leever (San Francisco).

The free show will take place from 5 to 7 pm. and will feature an educational interview about music and the Berklee experience.

The Lobster Shanty restaurant will sponsor the performance. For more information, visit

Three more SJSF/Berklee Summer Series concerts will take place this year: Marika Galea on June 13; Beneil Miller on July 11; and Chuks Okpu on Aug. 8.

The ninth-annual Salem Jazz and Soul Festival will follow during the weekend of Aug. 15-16, featuring 10 bands, a kids’ tent, music-education tent, artisan fair and 21-plus beer pavilion. There is no admission charge for the two-day concert.

The festival is a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization that produces free concerts and raises money for music education causes on the North Shore.