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Boston Gears Up for Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival

Travel to Boston, Massachusetts in September, and you will find that baseball and American football aren't the only games in town. As VOA's Doug Levine tells us, non-stop action of the musical kind can be found at the 8th Annual Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival - September 26-27.

By the time the Boston Red Sox get ready to host its longtime baseball rivals, the New York Yankees, at Fenway Park on September 27, the Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival will have wrapped up an extraordinary day of jazz, blues, Latin and world music.

The festival, named after the city's renowned Berklee College Of Music, is expected to draw 70,000 people to a six-block stretch of Columbus Avenue in Boston's historic South End. There, fans can check out more than 100 musicians on three outdoor stages. The party continues nearby at the Berklee Performance Center later that evening.

While some acts boast diplomas from Berklee, others like vocalist Kurt Elling fall into the category of visiting artist.

As Elling makes an old Guess Who song his own, visitors can take an early autumn stroll past dozens of vendor booths, offering everything from original crafts and artwork to a variety of international foods.

Veteran jazz pianist and bandleader Les McCann is coming to the Berklee BeanTown Jazz Festival, as well as seasoned players Russell Malone, Geri Allen, Randy Weston, Cyrus Chestnut, James Carter, Javon Jackson and Walter Beasley. Local groups, such as the Berklee City Music All-Star Ensemble round out the lineup.

"Beantown's" most popular street festival opens on September 26 with a Drum Summit, featuring Berklee graduates Cindy Blackman and Terri Lyne Carrington.