With some excellent jazz music schools in the area, every once in a while you can expect the faculties of the school to get together and throw a tremendous concert. That's what the people at Berklee School of Music decided to do tonight. At 8 p.m. in Berklee's Performance Center, the Berklee School will present Berklee's all-star music faculty playing 200 years of jazz. Their big band ensemble will take on Scott Joplin, Louis Armstrong. Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Woody Herman and others. To get to the performance center hop a Dudley bus to Auditorium. Tickets are $5, $4 and $3. There is a $1.50 reduction for those with student i.d.'s.
The big band strikes again next week at the New England Conservatory when Jaki Byard leads the school's Afro-American Musical Department in concert. That concert, held October 19 at 8:30 p.m., is free. Just take the Green Line to Symphony.
More proof that Boston is a jazz guitar town: Mr. Commercial, George Benson, is coming to Symphony Hall on Friday to play with his Tower of Power group. Don't forget Benson is the formerly right-on guitarist from Arista and CTI records who used to play heavy jazz. He is now in the more lucrative disco scene. I don't know, I used to like Benson, but he's beginning to sound like everyone else. Check him out yourself. The acoustics are better at Symphony than they are at the local clubs.
Sandy's way out in Beverly, is featuring two more guitar greats, Barney Kessel and Herb Ellis through this week. Kessel and Ellis have been around. During their tours they have played with many of the greats. As is the case with so many of the old-timers. I could give you a string of names down to the end of this page, but I really don't think it tells you much about how good they really are. Perhaps this will help, however: Herb Ellis, say Sandy's p.r. men, is known as "Mr. Night Time T.V." having worked with Steve Allen, Danny Kaye, Joey Bishop, and now Merv Griffen. Perhaps you would do better to switch on the tube first and check Herb out before you take the trip out to Beverly.
Next week Sandy's will feature Stephane Grappelli, a violinist from Django Reinhardt's great bands. But you have some time to think that one over.
Don't forget that series of three concerts to be held next week at the Berklee Performance Center. Those concerts, all sponsored by ECM records, feature Terje Rypdal, a fine European guitarist along with American guitarists, Pat Methany, Ralph Towner and John Abercromble. Those concerts will be held next Thursday and Friday. Call Berklee for more information.