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CONCERT PREVIEW: West Stockbridge Historical Society presents the Rick McLaughlin Trio featuring Sheryl Bailey and Yoron Israel

The Rick McLaughlin Trio, consisting of Berklee professors Rick McLaughlin, Sheryl Bailey, and Yoron Israel, will close out the West Stockbridge Historical Society's 2022 Jazz Concert Series at the Old Town Hall, Saturday, September 24, at 8 p.m.

West Stockbridge — In case you hadn’t noticed, Berklee College of Music in Boston is a motherlode of monstrously skilled jazz musicians. (For jazz studies, ranks only two music schools higher than Berklee: Juilliard and New England Conservatory.) And people who have taught or studied at Berklee keep turning up in the Berkshires. Yoko Miwa, for example. Also Daryl Lowery, Kirill Gerstein, Max Levinson, George Russell, Richard Boulanger, and Jonathan Bass (not to mention saxophone phenomenon Grace Kelly).

Guitarist and Berklee professor Sheryl Bailey. Photo by Alison Hasbach.

And the latest is the Rick McLaughlin Trio, consisting of bassist Rick McLaughlin, guitarist Sheryl Bailey, and drummer Yoron Israel. The three Berklee professors will close out the West Stockbridge Historical Society’s 2022 Jazz Concert Series at the Old Town Hall, Saturday, September 24, at 8 p.m. (The concert starts at 8 p.m., following a pre-concert lecture at 7:15 p.m.)

Rick McLaughlin is not only a bassist and associate professor at Berklee (formerly Assistant Chair of the Jazz Department at the New England Conservatory of Music) but also a composer. His views about what it means to be a musician owe much to Boston music legend Gunther Schuller:

“A concept that I really believe in comes from Gunther Schuller, and that’s the concept of the complete musician. The complete musician is a strong performer who can hear very deeply into the music being made and, by thinking both analytically and historically, can understand the greater context for it.

“If you add to that the ability to compose and arrange music, perform-gigs, tours, recordings—and, of course, teach, then the complete musician becomes someone who has a holistic view of music. I think this is invaluable to the students because it helps them to get beyond the classroom and onto the stage.”

Guitarist Sheryl Bailey has been recording her own music for 27 years. In that time, she has released nine records and a live DVD, “The Sheryl Bailey 3 Live in NYC” (Mel Bay). Yes, she has her own trio, what she calls “a modernized version of the organ trio” and what JazzInside Magazine calls “the ultimate organ trio.” Critics rave about her chops: “A sizzling guitar goddess” quipped Elliot Simon of “All About Jazz.” The Villager’s Lee Metcalf wrote that Bailey can “go from zero to blazing in two beats … balances superior technical skills with a strong lyrical sense and swinging touch.” Joe Taylor of Soundstage wrote, “Bailey combines an astonishing command of the fingerboard with a seemingly endless flow of melodic invention.”

Drummer and Berklee professor Yoron Israel. Image courtesy of Yoron Israel.

In Bailey’s free guitar lessons, you can see why Berklee hired her. In addition to being a great player, she’s very easy to listen to and understand. Listen to her play the guitar here.

Drummer Yoron Israel is Chair and Professor of Percussion at Berklee College of Music. He is also Pastor of Music and Art at Destiny Life Center International in Randolph, Mass. He has led a number of bands and teaches workshops internationally. He is also working on his doctorate. In his spare time, Yoron plays drums in all kinds of places for all kinds of people—from Shanghai to Havana, from Sonny Rollins to Tony Bennett. In the Boston area, this has included Laszlo Gardony, The Makanda Project, and Gabrielle Goodman. In addition to his own recording projects, Israel has played as an accompanist on more than 300 recordings. His latest recording, “New Dreams,” features his group Trio Plus. His Boston-based quartet is called High Standards.

See the Rick McLaughlin Trio at Old Town Hall in West Stockbridge, Saturday, September 24, at 8 p.m. (lecture at 7:15).

Order tickets here.


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