March 3, 2023

Berkshires Jazz presents concert at Lenox’s Tina Packer Playhouse on March 11

Delfeayo Marsalis sitting with his trombone

Jazz great Delfeayo Marsalis was joined by UMass Jazz Ensemble I (JEI) for a special concert event on Saturday, March 11 at 7 PM at Shakespeare & Company’s Tina Packer Playhouse in Lenox, MA. The concert featured a set of big band tunes by JEI under the direction of Jeffrey W. Holmes, after which Marsalis joined the UMass ensemble to perform music drawn largely from the trombonist’s work with the Uptown Jazz Orchestra. The event was sponsored by Berkshires Jazz; tickets were purchased by visiting the Shakespeare & Company website.

The concert was arranged through Holmes’ longstanding affiliation with Berkshires Jazz founder and president Ed Bride and their collaborations with the New England Jazz Ensemble, Jeff Holmes Big Band and Jeff Holmes Quartet. As part of this unique collaboration, the student musicians also rehearsed with Marsalis at UMass on Friday, March 10, and again at the Packer Playhouse prior to the 7 PM performance.

Jazz master Delfeayo Marsalis is renowned for his work as an acclaimed trombonist, composer, Grammy-winning producer, and educator. His numerous artistic collaborations include those with legendary performers like Ray Charles, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Elvin Jones, Slide Hampton, and many others. Marsalis has also gained acclaim for his recording and touring activity with his own ensembles, most notably the Uptown Jazz Orchestra. 

Jazz Ensemble I performing on stage.

Jazz Ensemble I, led by Jeff Holmes, the top big band in the UMass Jazz and African American Music Studies program, has gained national and international recognition including top honors at major collegiate jazz festivals and conferences, as well as multiple ensemble, individual performing, and writing citations from DownBeat Magazine's Annual Student Music Awards.