Author Archives: jazzcorner
If you can’t be in town to enjoy the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival, this weekend, you’re in luck! We’ll be video streaming parts of some of the shows on Sunday, June 9th. To watch the live video stream, go to the PJLIF LiveStream page.
We will be broadcasting parts of the following shows:
- Sean Jones Quartet – 1:15pm to 2:00pm
- Gregory Porter – 3pm to 4pm
- Marcus Miller – 4pm to 4:30pm
Or better still, if you can get here, you can see the full June 9th schedule here.
By Scott Mervis / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The cancellation of Chaka Khan, because of an ailing voice, robbed the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival of some of its star power.
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, however, has replaced her with some serious funk.
Coming from New Orleans will be The Nevilles, a new incarnation of the Neville Brothers without frontman Aaron, who is off on a solo project.
The Nevilles features brothers Art and Charles with four members of DumpstaPhunk: Ivan and Ian Neville, bassist Tony Hall and Nikki Glaspie (Beyonce’s former drummer). Keyboardist Ivan is Aaron’s son, and guitarist Ian belongs to Art, who formed the Meters (the precursor to the Neville Brothers) in 1965. Cyril Neville, who is also part of this band, will not be on board for Sunday’s show.
The Nevilles, which performed at the New Orleans Jazz Fest in April, will play the outdoor Penn Avenue Stage at 7 p.m. Sunday to close the weekend-long JazzLive event in the Cultural District.
Chaka Khan Enterprises announced today that Khan has had to cancel concert dates in June, due to extended vocal rest ordered by her doctor. The concert dates include the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, held outdoors in the downtown Cultural District in Pittsburgh, PA (June 9).
Pittsburgh Jazz Live International wishes her a full and speedy recovery.
Jazz lovers and art lovers of all kinds are in for a treat when they find the genres combined in the exhibit “Al Bright: Abstract Jazz Works,” on display at 709 Penn Gallery, Downtown.
Nearly a dozen large-scale, vibrantly colored abstract paintings made by Bright make up the exhibit, and nearly all are the product of a performance in which the artist created them in front of an audience to the sounds of live jazz music.
Works range from “Homage To Art Blakey,” which was painted on Aug. 22, 1980, at a performance by Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (one of which was a 19-year-old horn player named Wynton Marsalis) to “Portals In Time,” which was painted just last year at the Akron Art Museum when the Jesse Dandy Jazz Trio played on Super Bowl Sunday.
“3,500 people came to watch me work,” Bright says. “It was the largest attendance the museum has ever had.”
Bright, 73, was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, and taught painting for 47 years at Youngstown State University.
He has had more than 50 one-man exhibits, including shows at the Butler Institute of American Art, Stanford University, Kent State University and the Canton Art Institute.
And though he has exhibited everything from his large abstract expressionist paintings to smaller portrait studies, it’s his live performance paintings that really excite him when speaking about his work.
“I paint alla prima (wet-on-wet),” Bright says. “I go to the stage with a blank canvas, no pre-described idea or notion as to image or even color, and I try to paint the color of the music, the energy of the sound and the feedback — the ebb and flow of the spectators. It’s totally a creative process, and an aesthetic process for the audience.”
Bright began painting this way back in the late 1960s, when, as a jazz flute player, he would accompany his brother, the late jazz pianist Richard Bright, to gigs at universities and art museums.
Since then, he has painted in conjunction with classical concert performances, ballet dancers, church organists, even a spoken-word performance in which the performers started “primal screaming,” he says.
“I’ve been performing at a variety of venues, but the works in this show are specifically works that I created to jazz musicians, or in homage to them,” Bright says.
Well, perhaps with one exception. “Jam Session,” with its hot red and orange glow, was painted along with a Dixieland band performance in 2010 in Aurora, Ohio.
“I don’t remember the name of the band, but all of the musicians were in their 80s and very talented,” Bright says. “That was a very, very hot performance.”
As for his use of color, Bright says his experience as a musician helps guide his color choices.
“Since I play music, I can actually feel the color of the music,” he says. “In certain tonal ranges, my palette will shift. I’m constantly turning the painting, so I’m painting on the left side of my brain, and the right side of my brain is constantly re-orienting everything in the composition. I destroy and create, destroy and create. I’m an abstract expressionist, and I’m just moving with the rhythms and the patterns (of the music).”
Bright says that, in this way, the whole act of painting becomes an “out-of-body experience. I’m not thinking, I’m not planning. It’s as though my hand is being driven by a muse that dictates the creative process.”
“There are points in the performance where I have a definite effect on the energy of the musicians, and, at the same time, there is energy coming, an ebb and flow, from the audience. They are pouring their energy into both the musicians and myself as well,” he says.
“They’re having an aesthetic experience at best. I cannot have an aesthetic experience, because I am having a creative experience. I have to be objective in that regard,” he says. “I’m in a totally different zone than the spectator. So, the spectator will see things on the canvas that they want not to be destroyed. And then when it’s changed, or I go through something and they see that what I’ve created has been destroyed, you feel the passion and the energy and that just pours out from them. And then, a few minutes later, it’s on to another, higher level.
“But there’s a beautiful moment in all of these experiences where there’s a feeling that the music is coming to a closure, the painting is coming to a resolution, and I step back and move away, and the painting is complete. I present it, and that’s the final moment.”
Newport Jazz Festival® is offering fans of our friends, Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival, a chance to win 2 tickets, plus access to the Alex and Ani VIP Lounge & a backstage experience, for Saturday, August 3 and Sunday, August 4, each (4 tickets total) at Fort Adams State Park.
Artists will include Wayne Shorter & special guest Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Esperanza Spalding, and 2013 PJLI artists, Marcus Miller, Eddie Palmieri, and Gregory Porter.
See complete line up
No purchase necessary. Simply fill out the form below to enter.
- Entry deadline: Monday, June 10 at noon.
- Winner will be randomly chosen immediately after the deadline and will be notified by email and phone.
- One winner will be chosen. Winner will receive 2 general admission tickets for Saturday, August 3 and Sunday, August 4, each (4 tickets total), plus access to the Alex and Ani* VIP Lounge, and a chance to listen to Gregory Porter from backstage.
Just Want To Buy Festival Ticket Now?
Enter Now To Win!
The contest has now closed.
Pittsburgh JazzLive International (PJLI) and Newport Jazz Festival®(NJF)
Rules and Disclaimers
Must be a resident of the US. Contest is void where prohibited or restricted by law. Limit of 1 entry per household. Employees of, and family members of employees of PJLI and NJF, and their respective parent companies, are not eligible to enter. Prizes may not be exchanged or substituted. Winners may not sell or transfer the right to receive the prize. Face value of tickets is $0.00. Scalping is illegal. By accepting a prize, the winners agree to release and hold harmless PJLI and NJF, and their respective parent companies and affiliates, contest sponsors or employees from any injuries, losses or damages or any way related to or sustained in connection with the acceptance, use or misuse of any prize awarded. In the event of a dispute, all decisions made by PJLI and NJF are final and binding.
Entrant warrants that the information submitted is correct. If any information is found to be incorrect entrant will be ineligible to win. If a winner is found ineligible, or if we are unable to contact the winner, another drawing will be held to find a replacement winner. Rules are subject to change at any time. By entering, the entrant agrees to be bound by these rules.
240 jazz musicians performing 72 hours of jazz in the heart of the Cultural District
Rudresh Mahanthappa, Marcus Miller, Pat Martino, Gregory Porter,
Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra, Gerald Clayton, Ralph Peterson, Allison Miller,
Orrin Evans, Sarah Elizabeth Charles, Cecil Brooks III
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is proud to present the third annual JazzLive International Festival (PJLIF) on June 7-9, 2013. The Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival will consist of three days of free jazz and jazz-influenced musical performances on outdoor stages throughout downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District. Held in conjunction with the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival attracts over 20,000 attendees from around the country. The Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival features local, emerging, and renowned national and international musicians in a variety of performance settings that include:
- Outdoor performance stages and indoor performance locations within local restaurants, coffee shops and galleries.
- A free Jazz Crawl in the Cultural District, featuring 150 local and regional musicians.
- Late night club performances.
- Showcase Noir Artist Showcase: An African American Designer Market that includes pottery, paintings, jewelry, fiber works, and sculptures available for sale by some of the region’s finest artists.
“The PJLIF has expanded greatly in the last 2 years,” says Janis Burley Wilson, Vice President and Director of Jazz Programs for The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. “The Trust will present over 240 artists in 72 hours. Our headlining performers are world-renowned mainstream and contemporary jazz, R&B and blues artists. Downbeat Magazine described PJLIF as “intimate, laid back and inviting”. The JazzLive Jam Sessions after hours have become legendary amongst musicians. Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival has something for everyone that wants to celebrate America’s classical music – Jazz.”
Confirmed Headline Artists
Few musicians share the ability of saxophonist/composer Rudresh Mahanthappa to embody the expansive possibilities of his music with his culture. Time and again, Mahanthappa has eloquently displayed the capacity to absorb numerous styles and genres of music, combine them with the language of modern jazz, and emerge with a new form still recognizably jazz. What has materialized is a sound that hybridizes progressive jazz and South Indian classical music in a fluid and forward-looking form that reflects Mahanthappa’s own experience growing up a second-generation Indian-American. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship and commissions from the Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, Chamber Music America and the American Composers Forum. He has been named alto saxophonist of the year in Downbeat’s 2011 & 2012 International Critics Polls and for four years running by the Jazz Journalists’ Association (2009-2012). Rudresh has studied at Berklee College of Music and DePaul University.
Marcus Miller is a two-time Grammy-winner and the composer/producer of ten critically acclaimed and genre-defying albums. As a multi-instrumentalist, Marcus is highly proficient as a keyboardist, clarinetist/bass clarinetist and, primarily, as a world-renowned electric bassist, topping critics’ and readers’ polls for three decades. His résumé as an A-list player brims with over 500 recording credits as a sideman on albums across the spectrum of musical styles that include collaborations with Frank Sinatra, Miles Davis, Donald Fagen and Eric Clapton, David Sanborn, George Benson, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Sample, Wayne Shorter, Grover Washington, Jr., Roberta Flack, Paul Simon, Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, Chaka Khan, Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg, Z.Z. Hill, Billy Idol, Al Jarreau, Dave Koz and opera sensation Kathleen Battle. As a film music pro, Miller rose from writing the go-go party classic “Da Butt” for Spike Lee’s “School Daze,” to becoming the go-to composer for over 20 films including the Eddie Murphy/Halle Berry classic “Boomerang.”
Philadelphia native, Pat Martino, began playing professionally at age 15 after moving to New York City. Martino has been recognized as one of the most exciting and virtuosic guitarists in jazz. With a distinctive, fat sound and gut-wrenching performances, he represents the best not just in jazz, but also in music. He embodies thoughtful energy and soul and has performed with a wide variety of artists including Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Jimmy Smith, Chick Corea, Jack McDuff, and Stanley Clark. The Grammy nominated virtuoso has been selected as the Guitar Player of the Year, Downbeat Magazine’s 2004 Reader’s Poll and has taught at several prestigious universities including Duquesne, New York University, Pennsylvania University, Stanford University. He’s also been a recording artist for Blue Note, Prestige, Vanguard and Warner Brothers Records.
Returning to the Festival stage is Artist-in-Residence for the Sound and Spirit initiative, Sean Jones and the Sean Jones Quartet. Sean Jones is a trumpeter, composer and educator. He was formerly the lead trumpet player with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra directed by Wynton Marsalis. Jones is currently a professor of Jazz Studies at Duquesne University and has eight critically acclaimed jazz albums to his credit. The multi-Grammy Award nominee is particularly adept at plumbing complex emotional plateaus through his trumpet playing and composing. Most recently, he’s toured with Herbie Hancock, Marcus Miller and Wayne Shorter in Europe with a project that celebrated the Miles Davis legacy. Jones’ heart stopping quartet consists of Philadelphia-based pianist Orrin Evans, bassist Luques Curtis, and Miami-born drummer Obed Calvaire. No matter what angle they take on the subject, Jones and company’s blazing interactions reveals what any jazz fan knows is the greatest love of all: that between an artist and his music. As Jones says, “I like to play from the heart and not the head.”
Other outstanding artists participating in the Festival include Gregory Porter, Latin legend Eddie Palmieri and his Salsa Orchestra, the Orrin Evans Trio, young vocalist and composer of Haitian descent Sarah Elizabeth Charles, Ralph Peterson, Gerald Clayton, Roger Humphries, and Allison Miller, an up and coming New York folk jazz drummer.
- MACY’S In Store Pre-Festival Sessions
Before the Crawl begins, MACY’S will celebrate the Festival with a series of in store events.
- Saturday, June 1, 2-4pm: South Hills Village
Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra Junior Jam Session
*This program is part of the PNC Grow Up Great initiative.
- Saturday, June 1, 2-4pm: Ross Park Mall
Max Leake featuring Maureen Budway
- Saturday, June 1, 2-4pm: Mall at Robinson
- Saturday, June 1, 2-4pm: Monroeville Mall
Dennis Garner Band
- Thursday, June 6, 5-7pm: Downtown Pittsburgh
Official Kick-off Party
Enjoy shopping, sales, giveaways and live entertainment.
Featuring: Cecil Brooks III, David Budway and Dwayne Dolphin
Al Bright : Abstract Jazz Works
During this year’s Festival, join internationally renowned abstract expressionist artist Al Bright as he creates paintings before audiences to live jazz music. Over his career, he has collaborated with world famous musicians Art Blakey, Wynton Marsalis, Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, Jimmy Owens, James Williams, Billy Pierce, and Robin Eubanks. His paintings are held in museums, corporate and private collections throughout the United States and abroad. Al Bright is currently Professor Emeritus of Art at Youngstown State University where he has taught painting for over 40 years.
Exhibit Location: 709 Gallery, 709 Penn Avenue, Downtown Pittsburgh
Exhibition Dates: May 31-June 30
Opening Reception: May 31, 6pm-8pm
Partners & Sponsors
The Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival is made possible through the generous support of RK Mellon, UPMC, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, MACY’S. This year, the Festival is proud to announce megabus.com as the official Pittsburgh Jazz Festival Bus Transportation Sponsor. The company brings approximately 35,000 customers to Pittsburgh per month providing an affordable, convenient and fun way to travel. The Festival is also supported by numerous collaborators, in-kind and media sponsors.
All artists and show times are subject to change. For updates, a full list of artist biographies, sponsors and more information please visit pittsburghjazzlive.com.
On behalf of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, I’d like to thank everyone that joined us for the second annual Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival on June 1-3, 2012. We had a fantastic time with our visitors from Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, California, and many other states around the country. The jazz party was nonstop, from our kickoff party at Macy’s on May 31st, until Lalah Hathaway closed our festival with a beautiful performance on June 3rd. The JazzLive Crawl, with 25 different locations, provided 160 local musicians with enthusiastic audiences, and our partner restaurants were the perfects hosts for the occasion. The JazzLive Jam Sessions each night, hosted by Sean Jones, Roger Humphries, and Poogie Bell, were some of the best I’ve ever attended. All of the musicians that sat in gave the crowds a treat, and the music played till the wee hours of the morning. The JazzLive Summer Stages allowed our audiences to see 18 different national and international bands. Usually at festivals like this, patrons have to make a choice, missing out on some phenomenal music, but in Pittsburgh, we want to make sure you get a taste of everything. Audiences moved from stage to stage, listening to the Clayton Brothers, Robert Glasper, Monty Alexander, Average White Band, Warren Wolf, and more. Pittsburgh’s own Jeff “Tain” Watts thrilled the crowd with his amazing drumming speeds, as well as his Steeler jersey!
I’d also like to thank all the artists that brought their best work to Showcase Noir art show. We look forward to making Showcase Noir bigger and even more artful next year.
To our sponsors, R. K Mellon Foundation, the City of Pittsburgh, UPMC, Highmark, and a host of collaborators and in kind supporters, this festival is made possible with your generosity. We can’t thank you enough for your belief in the vision of the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival.
Mark your calendars… June 7-9, 2013. We hope to see you next year, live and loving jazz in 2013!
Local talent is central, but the scope of the festival is much greater.
by Andy Mulkerin, Pittsburgh CityPaper
Pittsburgh has a rich history as a jazz town — and if Janis Burley Wilson has her way, the Pittsburgh Jazz Live International festival is going to figure prominently in that narrative. The festival, which began last year, is expanding to three days of performances this year, and hoping to bring in aficionados from all around.