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Aurora Jazz Fusion at Con Alma Pittsburgh
In 1979, Marty Ashby started a band called AURORA JAZZ FUSION to perform the contemporary jazz cross-over music of the late 1970s and early 1980s. Jazz was mixing with rock, funk, Latin and R&B which gave musicians the opportunity to explore unique connections and seek out new possibilities. This new iteration of AURORA, with veteran and younger musicians, allows the band to take a fresh look at the music from this important time in the evolution of jazz. AURORA focuses on playing instrumental jazz by such artists as Jeff Lorber, Chick Corea, The Brecker Brothers, The Crusaders, Weather Report as well as renditions of Freddie Hubbard’s “Super Blue” and Grover Washington Jr.’s “Winelight.”
AURORA is Marty Ashby on guitar, Mike Tomaro on saxophones, Jeff Bush on trombone, Max Leake on keyboards, Brian Stahurski on bass and Hugo Cruz on drums.
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Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra Holiday with special guest Ann Hampton Callaway
Co-produced with MCG Jazz
Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra Holiday Celebration
With Special Guest Ann Hampton Callaway
“Callaway establishes herself as one of the best equipped jazz vocalists swinging today.” – Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune
Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra Holiday Celebration with special guest Ann Hampton Callaway is a live melding of two of MCG Jazz’ holiday recordings: The Hope of Christmas and Joyful Jazz. Both Christmas albums were released in October 2015 and feature a mix of traditional favorites and brand new music for all to enjoy. Their performance on December 21, 2023, will be a presentation of tunes from both records and celebrates the season in a new way.
The Hope of Christmas is a collection of entirely new Christmas songs interpreted by multiplatinum-selling singer, Tony Award-nominated actress, pianist and leading champion of the American songbook, Ann Hampton Callaway, with lyrics by two-time Emmy® Award-winner, William Schermerhorn. The album also features 29 of the world’s best jazz musicians, including Gerald Albright, Jay Ashby, Michael Davis, Five Play, Hubert Laws, Chuck Loeb, New York Voices, Claudio Roditi, Ted Rosenthal, and Steve Wilson. Callaway has made her mark as a singer, pianist, composer, lyricist, arranger, actress, educator, TV host and producer. A born entertainer, her unique singing style blends jazz and traditional pop, making her a mainstay in concert halls, theaters and jazz clubs as well as in the recording studio, on television, and in film. She is best known for Tony Award-nominated performance in the hit Broadway musical Swing! and for writing and singing the theme song to the hit TV series [italic]The Nanny[italic]. Callaway is a Platinum Award-winning writer whose songs are featured on seven of Barbra Streisand’s recent recordings. The only composer to have collaborated with Cole Porter, Callaway has also written songs with Carole King, Rolf Lovland and Barbara Carroll.
When the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra formed in 2010, decided a holiday show would be a programming must. Now, the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra Holiday Celebration has become a tradition for families all over the greater Pittsburgh region as a way to escape the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. That tradition has found a home at the Pittsburgh Playhouse and we celebrate their third year with us tonight.
The Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra celebrates Pittsburgh’s rich jazz history in the here and now by uniting Pittsburgh jazz musicians of all ages and ethnic backgrounds to perform the broad scope jazz styles in an orchestral format. Central to the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra’s mission is the creation of new works that advance the genre.
On Joyful Jazz, , the skilled musicians of the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra rendered a new treatment on holiday classics with wonder, bliss, and merriment. Special guest vocalist Freddy Cole appears on the album to provide his impeccable sense of swing, expressiveness, and elegance.
ANN HAMPTON CALLAWAY is one of the leading champions of the great American Songbook, having made her mark as a singer, pianist, composer, lyricist, arranger, actress, educator, TV host and producer. Voted recently by Broadwayworld.com as “Performer of the Year” Ann is a born entertainer. Her unique singing style blends jazz and traditional pop, making her a mainstay in concert halls, theaters and jazz clubs as well as in the recording studio, on television, and in film. She is best known for Tony-nominated performance in the hit Broadway musical Swing! and for writing and singing the theme song to the hit TV series The Nanny. Callaway is a Platinum Award winning writer whose songs are featured on seven of Barbra Streisand’s recent CD’s. The only composer to have collaborated with Cole Porter, she has also written songs with Carole King, Rolf Lovland and Barbara Carroll to name a few.
Callaway’s live performances showcase her warmth, spontaneous wit and passionate delivery of standards, jazz classics and originals. She is one of America’s most gifted improvisers, taking words and phrases from her audiences and creating songs on the spot, whether alone at a piano or with a symphony orchestra. Ann has been a special guest performer with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, with Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood and is featured at many of the Carnegie Hall tributes. She has sung with more than thirty of the world’s top orchestras and big bands, and has performed for President Clinton in Washington, D.C. and at President Gorbachev’s Youth Peace Summit in Moscow. Callaway performed with her sister, Broadway star Liz Callaway, in their award-winning show Sibling Revelry at London’s Donmar Warehouse. Their act “Boom!,” a critically acclaimed celebration of the baby boomer hits of the 60’s and 70’s, was recorded on PS Classics which debuted in the top 25 on Billboard Jazz. Ann was featured in the Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade telecast watched by 6 million people singing Emmy Award winning song “Yes, Virginia.” She took the symphony world by storm with her latest show “The Streisand Songbook” which she premiered with The Boston Pops and continues to tour with top orchestras across the country. Said Randall Fleischer after conducting the show with The San Francisco Symphony, “Ann’s tribute to Streisand is a glorious evening of great songs, brilliantly orchestrated and sung magnificently.” After performing the show at 54 Below, she garnered two Broadwayworld.com Awards and the 2013 MAC Award for Show of the Year.
Two of Ann’s recent recordings received great critical acclaim – The Sarah Vaughan Project: Live at Dizzy’s in 2014 and The Hope of Christmas in 2015. She is featured on her sister Liz Callaway’s holiday EP Merry and Bright as well as Arbor’s Records CD Johnny Mandel: the Man and His Music. Her recent solo CD’s At Last, Blues in the Night, Slowand Signature have received rave reviews as well. She has recorded two popular holiday CD’s – Holiday Pops! With Peter Nero and the Philly Pops, and her solo CD, This Christmas. Ann’s other recordings include Easy Living, To Ella with Love, After Ours, Bring Back Romance, Ann Hampton Callaway, and the award-winning live recording Sibling Revelry. Callaway has also been a guest performer on more than forty CD’s including Kenny Barron’s latest CD The Traveler.
Ann’s dream of working in film, TV and radio has been realized in several recent projects. She made her feature film debut opposite Angelina Jolie and Matt Damon in the Robert De Niro film “THE GOOD SHEPHERD”, performing the standard “Come Rain or Come Shine”. She recorded “Isn’t It Romantic?” and “The Nearness of You” in Wayne Wong’s “LAST HOLIDAY”, starring Queen Latifah. Ann wrote songs for the upcoming movie musical “STATE OF AFFAIRS”, to be directed by Philip McKinley. And, as a part of her mission to keep the American Songbook thriving, she has produced and hosted two TV specials Called “Singer’s Spotlight With Ann Hampton Callaway” with guests Liza Minnelli and Christine Ebersole for WTTW National which dovetailed into her critically acclaimed radio series “This is Cabaret” which debuted in 2016.
Ann devotes much of her time to philanthropic causes, both as a singer performing in numerous benefits, and as a songwriter composing songs in times of need. In September 2005, Ann performed her original composition “Let the Saints Come Marching”, written to honor Hurricane Katrina victims, on a national TV broadcast on the Fox News Channel. Her song “Who Can See the Blue the Same Again?” was released earlier in 2005 as a single, paying tribute to the tsunami survivors and raising much needed money for The Tsunami Fund of The PRASAD Project. In the aftermath of September 11th, Ann composed the stirring anthem, “I Believe in America”, which she performed on Larry King Live and released as a CD single. Just days after the tragedy, Ann heard an 8,000 year old prayer from the Rig Veda and composed the world renowned “Let Us Be United”. Ann recorded the song with Kenny Werner, The Siddha Yoga International Choir and five-year-old Sonali Beaven, who sang in honor of her father who lost his life on Flight 93. It was released on CD and DVD and its proceeds continue to benefit Save the Children and The PRASAD Project.
Ann’s 2018 CD, Jazz Goes To The Movies, was released on Shanachie Entertainment and debuted at #12 on the Billboard Jazz Chart. In response to COVID – 19 shutting down our concert venues Ann introduced her monthly live stream series “The Callaway Hideaway” which took place on the Zoom platform. Her latest record, Fever: A Peggy Lee Celebration! is available on Palmetto Records. Ann’s father was Chicago’s legendary TV and radio journalist, John Callaway. Her mother, Shirley Callaway, was a superb singer, pianist and one of New York’s most in-demand vocal coaches.
Ann lives by the creed best expressed in the Andre Gide quote: “Art is the collaboration between God and the artist and the less the artist does, the better.”
Ann Hampton Callaway Awards:
- Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actress in a Musical – Swing!
- Theatre World Award for “Outstanding Broadway Debut”
- Platinum award selling songwriter with seven Barbra Streisand cuts
- 2013 “The Streisand Songbook” won two Broadway World Awards and the MAC Award for Show of the Year
- 2014 Broadway World New York Cabaret Award “Performer of the Year”
- 2016 Broadway World New York Cabaret Award “Best Jazz Vocalist”
- 2017 Broadway World New York Cabaret Award “Best Jazz Vocalist”
- 2017 Broadway World New York Cabaret Award “Best Tribute Show” for the Ella Century
- 2019 Broadway World New York Cabaret Award for “Commercial Recording Of The Year” for Jazz Goes To The Movies
- 2022 Broadway World Editor’s Pick – Entertainer Of The Year
- She has received fifteen MAC Awards from the Manhattan Association of Cabarets & Clubs
About MCG Jazz
MCG Jazz is a social enterprise of Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild, a subsidiary of Manchester Bidwell Corporation, a non-profit arts and learning center in Pittsburgh, PA.
Through our guiding principles: environment shapes behavior, people are assets and creativity fuels enterprise, and our mission to preserve, present and promote jazz, we aim to strengthen the Pittsburgh jazz community and contribute to the overall cultural and artistic diversity of the region.
The MCG Jazz concert series – one of the longest running subscription-based jazz performance series in the county –has been a safe place for artists to share their art and discuss relevant issues of the time. Our recording label produces distinctive albums from a wide variety of artists, our educational programs serve elementary, middle and high school aged students in urban and rural communities, and our archives of audio/video recordings, photographs, interviews and individual artist collections exists as a model for learning for future generations to help grow the audience for jazz and enhance the artform and its creators.
For more information, please contact MCG Jazz at 412-322-0800 or visit our web site at www.mcgjazz.org.Find out more »