Saturday, November 16, 2019, 6:00 p.m. + 8:30 p.m.
Butler began his singing career at age seven, releasing his first album in 1973 and winning the Best New Artist GRAMMY® in South Africa the following year at age 12. He made history by being the first black artist played on white South African radio in 1975. As he became a teenager he earned three gold records, Please Stay went
double gold and I Love How You Love Me went gold. His music has a purpose; providing comfort and genuine inspiration. When he sings, he testifies to the glory and healing power of love. When he plays guitar, his fast fingers innately find notes of passion and divinity. Butler’s recording career has carried him far, far beyond his wildest dreams.Find out more »
John Pizzarelli Trio & Catherine Russell
A Salute to Billie Holiday and Frank Sinatra.
Friday, November 22, 2019, 7:00 p.m. + 9:30 p.m.
World-renowned guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli has been hailed by The Boston Globe for “reinvigorating the Great American Songbook and re-popularizing jazz.” The Toronto Star pegged him as “the genial genius of the guitar.” The Seattle Times saluted him as “a rare entertainer of the old school.”
Catherine Russell is that rarest of entities–a genuine jazz and blues singer–who can sing virtually anything. Her voice is full-blown feminity incarnate; a dusky stalwart and soulful instrument that radiates interpretive power yet remains touchingly vulnerable. She launches fearlessly into each tune getting inside the melody and capturing every emotion.Find out more »
Rivers Casino Jazz Holiday
MCG Jazz Holiday with Steve Rudolph and Marty AshbyFind out more »
A Peter White Christmas
Saturday, December 7,2019, 6:00 p.m. + 8:30 p.m.
Over the years, Peter White has maintained a reputation as one of the most versatile and prolific acoustic guitarists on the contemporary jazz landscape. Armed with an unparalleled combination of lyricism and energy, he combines elements of jazz, pop, and classical guitar to create a sound that is singular and at the same time accessible to a broad audience. White’s annual Christmas concerts eventually led to the album “A Peter White Christmas” in 2007. The holiday celebration has continued with it now making its way to Pittsburgh with talented friends.
Saxophonist Euge Groove will join White for the holiday festivities. A favorite on radio and the international touring circuit, Groove has garnered a devout following with his irresistible mix of danceable grooves, mind-bending hooks, rhythm-and-blues-infused melodies and inspired solos. Having collaborated with everyone from Tina Turner, Elton John, and Bonnie Raitt to Tower of Power and Aaron Neville, Groove is never short on inspiration.
Also joining the group is saxophonist Vincent Ingala. The music prodigy is no stranger to contemporary jazz audiences. His heartfelt, sweet and soulful mix has catapulted him to the top of the Billboard contemporary jazz charts, garnering him four Billboard No. 1 hits, and nine Top 10 hits.
The group will get its vocal chops from the earthy and charismaticLindsey Webster. Webster is a surprising and welcomed anomaly in the contemporary jazz world. The sultry and soulful young singer/composer has scored two Billboard No.1 hits on the contemporary jazz chart making her the first vocalist in the format to garner a No.1 hit since the iconic Sade. Blessed with a honey-toned voice and enviable range, Webster’s uniquely identifiable sound is fueled by potent messages of love that are timely for today’s climate. Webster is holding her own in a largely male-dominated genre comprised of artists who are much older than her, and she is quickly becoming a favorite on the charts and international touring circuit.Find out more »
Jane Bunnett & Maqueque Latin Christmas
Friday, December 13, 2019, 7:00 p.m. + 9:30 p.m.
This all-female collective is led by veteran jazz icon, soprano saxophone player, flautist, composer, and proud Canadian Jane Bunnett. With five Juno awards, three GRAMMY® nominations and an Officer of the Order of Canada, Bunnett decided to dedicate herself to taking Maqueque to the world.
With hard work, virtuosity, and chemistry, the dream is alive and thriving. Their third release, “On Firm Ground/Tierra Firme,” is a bold testament to the strength and originality of Jane Bunnett and Maqueque.
Prior to recording “On Firm Ground,” the group toured constantly from Canada’s Yukon to Colombia, Brazil, Cuba, and Panama, to major U.S. jazz festivals and clubs including Newport, Monterey, Saratoga, Birdland, and Lincoln Center.
In addition to performing music from “On Firm Ground,” Jane Bunnett & Maqueque will play Latin Jazz arrangements of classic holiday songs. The group’s members include singer Dayme Arocena, pianist Danae Olano, bassist Talin Marrero, percussionist, Mary Paz and drummer Yissy Garcia. The newest member is soulful vocalist, Joanna Majoko.
“This band sounds like no other today in jazz.”— Downbeat magazine, which voted in Jane Bunnett and Maqueque as one of the top 10 jazz groups in the 67th Annual DownBeat International Critics Poll.Find out more »
Drum Bar Rivers Casino
February 7, 2020, 9:00 p.m. – midnight
Reggie Watkins ensembleFind out more »
Cécile McLorin Salvant & Sullivan Fortner
Friday, February 21, 7:00 p.m. + 9:30 p.m.
The world first learned of the vocal artistry of Cécile McLorin Salvant when she won the prestigious 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. In just under the span of a decade she has evolved from a darling of jazz critics and fans to a multi-GRAMMY® Award-winner with a prescient and fearless voice.
McLorin Salvant is a singer whose unique style demonstrates a keen sense of the history of American music. She fearlessly performs songs from jazz’ roots in minstrel shows and ragtime and digs deep into blues queens like Bessie Smith and Ida Cox. Beyond the borders, she also is an expert interpreter of Francophone chansons and cabaret numbers retracing her own personal path as a musician from
America to France and back again. If that weren’t enough, McLorin Salvant is also a gifted composer whose moving additions to the repertoire reflects her unique perspective on love, life, and womanhood.
Her newest release, “The Window,” an album of duets with pianist Sullivan Fortner that won the 2019 GRAMMY® Award for best jazz vocal album, explores and extends the tradition of the piano-vocal duo. With just Fortner’s deft accompaniment, the two are free to improvise and rhapsodize and play freely with time, harmony, melody, and phrasing.
For the past decade, Fortner has been stretching deep-rooted talents as a pianist, composer, bandleader, and uncompromising individualist. The GRAMMY® Award-winning artist received international praise for his work as player and producer on “The Window” and has also received critical acclaim for his work as a solo leader on his own projects. The highly-sought improviser has performed across the country and throughout the world at such cultural institutions as Jazz at Lincoln Center, Jazz Standard, and Smalls Jazz Club as well as celebrated festivals, including Newport, Monterey, and Gillmore Keyboard.Find out more »
February 26, 2020, 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Marty Ashby with John Shannon, Tony DePaolis and Tom WendtFind out more »
Kenny Werner Trio with Cyrille Aimée
Saturday, March 14, 6:00 p.m. + 8:30 p.m.
Kenny Werner is a world-class pianist and composer known for his prolific output of compositions, recordings, and publications that impact audiences around the world.
Werner was awarded the 2010 Guggenheim Fellowship Award for his seminal work “No Beginning No End,” a musical journey exploring tragedy and loss, death and transition, and the path from one lifetime to the next. Utilizing over 70 musicians, Werner’s third album for Half Note Records is an expansive composition featuring Joe Lovano, Judy Silvano, wind ensemble, choir, and string quartet.
Born in Brooklyn in 1951 and grew up in Long Island, Werner began playing and performing at a young age—first recording on television at the age of 11. Although he studied classical piano as a child, he enjoyed playing anything he heard on the radio.
His natural instinct for improvisation led Werner to the Berklee School of Music in 1970. From Boston, Werner traveled to Brazil with saxophonist Victor Assis Brasil and studied with his brother, pianist Joao Assis Brasil. This lead to “Effortless Mastery,” his landmark opus on how to allow the master musician from within to manifest.
Improvisation is not just a technique for Grammy-nominated artist Cyrille Aimée, it’s a way of life. The acclaimed vocalist ventured from singing on street corners in Europe to dazzling audiences at the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals; from sneaking out to sing in gypsy encampments in her native France to acting on Broadway; from braving the notoriously tough audiences at New York’s Apollo Theatre to being called a “rising star in the galaxy of jazz singers” by The New York Times.
Among countless accolades, Aimée won the Montreux Jazz Festival Vocal Competition and the Sarah Vaughn International Jazz Vocal Competition. As an actress, Aimée co-starred with Bernadette Peters in a Stephen Sondheim tribute at New York’s City Center which inspired her to dig deeper into Sondheim’s repertoire, resulting in her fourth and most recent album, Move On: A Sondheim Adventure. She’s shared her story via masterclasses, a TEDx talk, and a few addresses at the Conference on World Affairs.Find out more »
Monika Herzig’s Sheroes
Saturday, March 21, 7:00 p.m.
In 1987, the pedagogical institute in Weingarten, Germany awarded a scholarship for a one-year exchange program at the University of Alabama to one of their students, jazz pianist Monika Herzig. Together with her partner and guitarist Peter Kienle, she arrived in the United States on a one-way ticket, with one suitcase of belongings and one guitar in August 1988.
Since then she has completed her Doctorate in Music Education and Jazz Studies at Indiana University, where she is now a faculty member. As a touring jazz artist, she has performed at many prestigious jazz clubs and festivals, such as the Indy Jazz Fest, Cleveland’s Nighttown, Louisville’s Jazz Factory, the W.C.Handy Festival, Jazz in July in Bloomington and Cincinnati, Columbus’ Jazz & Rib Fest, to name just a few.
Created and led by Herzig, SHEROES is an all-female, all first-call talent group featuring a cast of international virtuosi including Leni Stern (guitar, Germany/USA); Jamie Baum (flutes, USA); Reut Regev(trombone, Israel/USA); Jennifer Vincent (bass, USA); and Rosa Avila (drums, Mexico). As an ensemble of empowerment, SHEROES is a musical force, operating with deftness, invention, enthusiasm, and ambition. Herzig does much of the writing and arranging, but Regev, Baum, Vincent, and Stern equally contribute compositions alongside covers, including “House of the Rising Sun” and “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”
SHEROES not only heralds an era of greater and deeper consideration for women in jazz but as Jazz Journalist Association President Howard Mandel affirms in his liner notes, “That’s exactly what Monika and company does: present a model of empowerment with results that are good for everyone. Wherever you are on the gender continuum, you’ll like it. SHEROES make music!”Find out more »
Pierre Bensusan & Frank Vignola Trio
Thursday, March 26, 7:30 p.m.
Winner of the Independent Music Award, Rose d’Or of the Montreux Festival, and Best World Music Guitar Player by the readers of Guitar Player Magazine, Pierre Bensusan is recognized as one of the premier musicians of our time.
Born in Oran, French-Algeria in 1957, Bensusan’s family moved to Paris when he was 4 years old. He began formal studies on piano at the age of 7 and at 11 taught himself guitar. Influenced in those early days by the folk revival, Bensusan began first to explore his own diverse musical heritage and then moved to the horizons beyond.
Bensusan has the ability to make a single guitar sound like an entire band as he brings the audience on a mesmerizing musical journey. And yet, he is more than what any musician or music lover expects from a guitarist. He is a composer as well as a bilingual and brave improvisational vocalist, melding whistles and resonant low notes with something like his own scat technique.
Frank Vignola’s stunning virtuosity has made him the guitarist of choice for many of the world’s top musicians, including Ringo Starr, Madonna, Donald Fagen, Wynton Marsalis, Tommy Emmanuel, the Boston Pops, the New York Pops, and guitar legend Les Paul.
With over 1000 engagements in the last five years alone, Vignola has become one of the most popular and sought after guitarists on the international music scene. His genre-spanning music has brought him to 14 countries on three continents performing in some of the world’s most illustrious venues including the Sydney Opera House, Carnegie Hall, The Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, New York’s Lincoln Center, and Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, Italy.
Vignola’s jaw-dropping technique explains why The New York Times deemed him “one of the brightest stars of the guitar.”Find out more »
Ann Hampton Callaway & Tierney Sutton
Friday, March 27, 7:00 p.m. + 9:00 p.m.
These two world-renowned jazz stars team up for the first time as their new albums share a common theme: unforgettable film songs. Ann Hampton Callaway’s focus is mostly on the iconic gems from the 1930s and 1940s, while Tierney Sutton lends her imagination to beloved contemporary classics. Featuring the Tierney Sutton Band rhythm section, the night is filled with solos and duets arranged in fresh ways featuring the two singers’ dazzling musicality and connection to the brilliant lyrics of their songs.
An Omaha native, Sutton found her footing as a singer and bandleader shortly after arriving in Los Angeles in the mid-1990s where she’s led one of the most durable working bands in jazz for the last two decades. She is a nine-time GRAMMY® nominated jazz vocalist that has received a nomination for every project she’s released in the past decade. Appropriately, her latest project is the 19-track opus “ScreenPlay”—an innovative approach to the history of film music released monthly as a series of digital EPs along with an accompanying podcast and background material.
An artist who has made indelible marks on jazz, cabaret, and on Broadway as a writer and performer. Callaway has composed over 250 songs for the stage, screen, and television making an indelible mark on jazz, cabaret, and Broadway. A prolific writer and performer, Callaway’s music has been recorded and performed by the likes of Barbra Streisand, Michael Feinstein, and Carole King. Callaway has shared the stage with great artists from many genres including George Shearing, Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Dr. John, Liza Minnelli, Betty Buckley, Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Audra McDonald, Harvey Fierstein, Ramsey Lewis, and Kurt Elling. Callaway has released 15 albums since 1992 including her 2018 Shanachie Records session “Jazz Goes to the Movies,” an entrancing collection of songs from Hollywood’s golden age.
Get ready for a night of sensational cinematic delights!Find out more »
Saturday, April 4, 6:00 p.m. + 8:30 p.m.
The SFJAZZ Collective is an all-star, award-winning jazz ensemble comprising eight of the finest performers/composers at work in jazz today. Launched in 2004 by SFJAZZ in San Francisco, the SFJAZZ Collective has become one of the most exciting and acclaimed groups on the jazz scene. The current octet is a burnished international ensemble comprising tenor saxophonist David Sánchez, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, trumpetist Etienne Charles, guitarist Adam Rogers, vocalist Martin Luther McCoy, pianist Edward Simon, bassist Matt Brewer, and drummer Obed Calvaire.
Each year, the SFJAZZ Collective creates and performs eight new works and eight new arrangements of tunes by an honored artist. This year, the group will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of both Sly & The Family Stone’s “Stand!” and Miles Davis’ “In A Silent Way.” Through the pioneering approach of simultaneously honoring jazz’s recent history while championing the music’s up-to-the-minute directions, the Collective embodies SFJAZZ’s commitment to jazz as a living, ever-relevant art form.
As soloists, composers, and bandleaders, the SFJAZZ Collective represents what’s happening now in jazz. They also demonstrate that jazz has truly become an international language. Hailing from Oklahoma, Baltimore, Miami, Trinidad, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and New York, the Collective’s multi-cultural lineup mirrors the explosion of jazz talent around the globe. However, the jazz community only reached its current state by maintaining its traditions while simultaneously embracing innovation. This, too, is the essence of the SFJAZZ Collective. These exceptional artists come together in the name of jazz as a constantly evolving, quintessentially modern music.Find out more »
Nicole Mitchell: Radical Transformation: For Angela Davis
Saturday, April 18, 7:30 p.m.
Nicole M. Mitchell is an award-winning flutist, composer, bandleader, and educator. Repeatedly awarded top flutist of the year by Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll and the Jazz Journalists Association, Mitchell initially emerged from Chicago’s innovative music scene in the late 1990s, and her music celebrates contemporary African American culture. She is the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings, Sonic Projections, and Ice Crystal.
Activist and scholar Angela Davis has been an incredible force for social justice for over 50 years. Mitchell’s “Radical Transformation” is a musical celebration of Davis’ courage and resilience. It strives to amplify Davis’ activist vision and concerns towards creating a better world.
The former first woman president of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, Mitchell celebrates endless possibilities by creating visionary worlds through music that bridge the familiar with the unknown.
In January 2018, Mitchell was the Artist in Residence at New York’s Winter Jazz Fest, where she performed four suites of her compositions. As a composer, Mitchell has been commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture, Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, Art Institute of Chicago, the Stone, the French American Jazz Exchange, Chamber Music America, Chicago Jazz Festival, and Chicago Sinfonietta. Mitchell has performed with creative music luminaries including Craig Taborn, Roscoe Mitchell, Joelle Leandre, Anthony Braxton, Geri Allen, George Lewis, Mark Dresser, Steve Coleman, Anthony Davis, Myra Melford, Bill Dixon, Muhal Richard Abrams, Ed Wilkerson, Rob Mazurek, Billy Childs, and Hamid Drake. She is a recipient of the Herb Alpert Award, the Chicago 3Arts Award, and the Doris Duke Artist Award. Mitchell was recently named by the University of Pittsburgh as the William S. Dietrick III Endowed Chair Director of Jazz Studies and Creative Arts Ensemble.Find out more »
Drum Bar Rivers Casino
April 17, 2020, 9:00 p.m. – midnightFind out more »
jazzPGH Jazz Day Celebration
MCG Jazz and the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, in partnership with WZUM, present jazzPGH Jazz Day.
5:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Duquesne University Jazz Ensemble performs at 6:00 p.m. For All We Know album celebration featuring Gloria Reuben and Marty Ashby will perform at 7:00 p.m. jazzPGH All Stars featuring Thomas Wendt, Lynn Speakman, Antonio Croes, and Mark Strickland will perform at 8:00 p.m.
Find out more »
Friday, May 1, 7:30 p.m. + Saturday, May 2, 7:30 p.m.
The Yellowjackets have consistently forged ahead in their evolving artistic statements. The band has recorded close to 30 albums, been nominated for 17 GRAMMY® Awards, and has adventurously amplified the eclectic, electro-acoustic soundscape creating a unique jazz sound since its fusion beginnings.
While the Los Angeles-based Yellowjackets have been a creative force on the jazz scene since 1981 when they recorded their eponymous debut, their fourth Mack Avenue Records album, “Raising Our Voice,” once again ups the ante with bold new strides.
“The band keeps moving forward,” says saxophonist Bob Mintzer who joined the group in 1990. “It’s one of the few partnership bands in the last four decades. It’s democratic, laissez-faire and accommodating to everyone in the band to contribute. We’re constantly reinventing ourselves as a reflection of what’s happening in the world.”
The Jackets are comprised of pianist/keyboardist/co-founder Russell Ferrante, bassist Dane Alderson in his second recording with the group and drummer Will Kennedy, who joined the band in 1987 and then in 2000 took a 10-year hiatus before returning to the drum chair.
Mintzer sees a bright future for the Yellowjackets. “What attracts me about the group is how stylistically broad we are,” he says. “There are no barriers. We’re free to try new things without making the music overly complex. I always say this is the band you always wanted to be in. We’ll see where we go next.”Find out more »
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
Friday, May 15, 7:00 p.m. & Saturday May 16, 6:00 p.m. + 8:30 p.m.
The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis (JLCO) comprises 15 of the finest jazz soloists and ensemble players today. Led by Wynton Marsalis, Jazz at Lincoln Center Managing and Artistic Director, this remarkably versatile orchestra performs a vast repertoire ranging from original compositions and Jazz at Lincoln Center-commissioned works to rare historic compositions and masterworks by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson, Thelonious Monk, Mary Lou Williams, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman, Charles Mingus, and many others. The JLCO has been the Jazz at Lincoln Center resident orchestra since 1988, performing and leading educational events in New York, across the United States, and around the globe. Guest conductors have included Benny Carter, John Lewis, Chico O’Farrill, Ray Santos, Paquito D’Rivera, Jon Faddis, Robert Sadin, David Berger, and Loren Schoenberg.
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1961, Marsalis began his classical training on trumpet at age 12, entered The Juilliard School at age 17, and then joined Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. He made his recording debut as a leader in 1982 and has since recorded more than 60 jazz and classical recordings, which have won him nine GRAMMY® Awards. In 1983, he became the first and only artist to win both classical and jazz GRAMMY® Awards in the same year and repeated this feat in 1984. Marsalis is also an internationally respected teacher and spokesman for music education, and has received honorary doctorates from dozens of U.S. universities and colleges. In 1997, Marsalis became the first jazz artist to be awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in music for his oratorio “Blood on the Fields.” In 2001, he was appointed Messenger of Peace by Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, and he has also been designated cultural ambassador to the United States of America by the U.S. State Department through their CultureConnect program.Find out more »
Marty is at MCG Jazz
I hope that you and yours are staying safe and healthy. Thank you for your patience during this extended pause in the MCG Jazz programming. The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact all performing arts in Pittsburgh, as well as across the country. The priority remains to keep everyone in the audience, on stage, and behind the scenes healthy and safe.
In an effort to keep everyone safe, MCG Jazz paused all previously planned in-person concerts and educational events. When restrictions are lifted and we can safely hold in-person events, we will. I do not have a date set to reopen our doors, but we are proactively working with artists, their managers and agents to present these artists when it is safe to do so.
This decision is based on information from local and state governments, the CDC, and the WHO. All measures we are taking are grounded in our understanding of public health science and infectious disease control to create a safe environment when we are permitted to reopen.
The MCG Jazz mission to preserve, present, and promote jazz has never been stronger.
Every day and in every way, MCG Jazz will continue to do what we do best – preserve, present, and promote jazz. The focus has always been to keep patrons, artists and staff safe and provide an enjoyable musical experience. So, until we are able to be together in our music hall – we are coming to you!
Starting in September 2020 we are providing you with a wide variety of interactive offerings to keep you connected to MCG Jazz and bring the New Jazz Age to you:
Live Performances – When restrictions will allow, we will host a socially distanced live performance from the MCG Jazz stage and stream it LIVE! Subscribers will have a special code to watch the performance at their convenience within 48 hours.
Live from the Archives – We are streaming concerts from the 33-year history of MCG Jazz. Relive a show you attended or see one you may have missed.
MCG Jazz Spotlight Show – Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, MCG Jazz hosts a 60-minute radio show on The Pittsburgh Jazz Channel, WZUM, 101.1 FM or stream online at wzum.org.
Pittsburgh Jazz Legends Spotlight – Each month we will post an oral history of one of the MCG Jazz Pittsburgh Jazz Legends and feature photos, music clips and memorabilia from each artist throughout the month.
[Visit mcgjazz.org to see the full schedule of events.]
What happens now and what can I do?
We need your support now more than ever. Music is a primary way that our culture is passed on and celebrated. For the past 120 years, jazz has been at the center of American culture and will continue to be with your help. MCG Jazz is a non-profit organization, relying on revenue from both ticket sales and contributions to bring exceptional jazz experiences to Pittsburgh. Please help us keep this strong tradition alive by donating or becoming an MCG Jazz member. Your donation is tax-deductible and critical in supporting us during this challenging time. Please click here if you would like to donate your tickets….
Together we are the New Jazz Age.
When we all work together, we will keep each other safe and healthy. The sooner this virus is eradicated, the sooner we can enjoy live jazz again. We will never stop swingin’ and never stop believing in the power of music. Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to connecting with you virtually for now.
The MCG Jazz staff –
Marty Ashby, Vice President and Executive Producer | Renée Govanucci, Director | Mark Jackovic, Education and Archives Manager | David Sykut, Producer Manager | Nick Pesanka, Patron Services and Sales Specialist | Natalie Larsen, Administrative Assistant Senior Level
Find out more »
Marty Ashby and Friends
MCG Jazz presents at Market Square Night Market, Saturday, July 24, 5:00 – 10:00 pm. FREE.Find out more »