September shapes up as an interesting musical month around town. Some 24 acts have signed on for the second annual FREE Jamaica Plain Music Festival at Pinebank Field on Saturday, Sept. 8th, from noon to 7 p.m. Boston rock stalwart and co-organizer of the festival Rick Berlin is on the bill fronting the Nickel & Dime Band, but the lineup on two stages is so diverse as to defy representative sampling. I'll try anyway: Mariachi Mexamerica meets the Jamaica Plain Symphony Orchestra meets Lovewhip meets the Whiskey Boys. And many more.
Meanwhile, Berklee College of Music is gearing up for Inspired By Ray: the Ray Charles Symposium, Sept. 21-23, celebrating the genius and influence of the singer-pianist-arranger-composer-bandleader and all around happening man. Presented by Berklee's American Roots Music Program, the event will include academic discussion of Charles's astonishingly diverse output. Charles made everything from country to jazz to rock gospel to to soul his own, and let's not forget "America The Beautiful," either.
There is, of course, a concert involved. inspiRAYtion: A Tribute to Ray Charles is set for Saturday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. at the Berklee Performance Center, with an appropriately diverse lineup including Ricky Skaggs, John Scofield, Raul Midon and Charles's former music director Victor Vanacore, among many. I am told a few Raeletts will also be performing: Tonette McKinney, Renee Georges, and Katrina Harper. Tickets, $15-$35, are available here. Or for $100, you can sign on for the symposium and the conference here.
Ray Charles photo by Alan Light used under a Creative Commons license.