Greg Manning & Jeff Ryan
Keyboardist/composer/producer Greg Manning and saxophonist Jeff Ryan (both making their Berks Jazz Fest debuts) are the first artists to perform an “Early Bird” concert on Friday at 3 p.m., March 31, for those who want to get the party started ahead of time.
Manning, born in Nigeria and raised in Switzerland, moved to Los Angeles in 2002 to pursue his career in jazz, soul, and funk. His work as a sideman resulted in two Grammy nominations: one for Keb Mo’s “The Reflection” in 2011 and another for Herb Alpert’s “Human Nature” in 2016.
He is the former keyboardist and music director for Jonathan Butler, and has played keyboards for Mindi Abair, Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum, and others. His solo albums include “Dance with You” (2014), “Sugar and Spice” (2016) and “Between the Sun and the Moon” (2022).
Jeff Ryan was born in California and raised in Asheville, N.C. by professional classical musicians. He studied piano and violin, then took up the sax at 10, feeling a deep connection to contemporary jazz saxists like Richard Elliot, Gerald Albright, Dave Koz and Grover Washington Jr.
The Berklee grad also studied production at the Pyramid Sound Institute in San Francisco, where he performed in regional soul, funk, and big bands in the Bay Area, as well as jazz festivals. His debut single “Up and Up” (2018) flew to No. 1 on the Billboard chart; he subsequently released two albums: “Embrace” (2018) and “Duality” (2021).
Berks Arts is a nonprofit organization based in Reading, Pa. whose mission is to Inspire, Engage, and Unite communities through the arts.