Pitt Presents Its 43rd Annual Jazz Seminar and Concert

Issue Date: 
October 7, 2013

The University of Pittsburgh Annual Jazz Seminar and Concert—one of the region’s premier jazz events—will kick off in October with a free series of lunchtime concerts, lecture/demonstrations, a film screening, and community outreach activities, culminating Nov. 2 with a gala concert in Carnegie Music Hall, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland.

Founded in 1971 by Pitt Professor Emeritus of Music Nathan Davis, it was the first academic jazz seminar of its type in the country. It features international artists connecting with aspiring musicians and the general public in a lecture format, then performing together as an ensemble.

Following Davis’ retirement this past summer, the event is continuing under the direction of Geri Allen, the new director of Pitt’s Jazz Studies Program and a professor of music, a nationally renowned pianist, composer, and a Pitt alumnus, who received her master’s degree in ethnomusicology in 1982.

Performers taking part this year include Allen, piano; Brinae Ali, tap percussionist; Marcus Belgrave, trumpet; Randy Brecker, trumpet; Vincent Chandler, trombone; Ravi Coltrane, saxophone; Kenny Davis, bass; Carmen Lundy, vocalist; Russell Malone, guitar; Kassa Overall, drums; Ernie Watts, saxophone; and Jeff “Tain” Watts, drummer, all performing under the direction of pianist Allen.

Details of the events follow.

Pitt Jazz Concert
The Nov. 2 concert is a one-of-a-kind performance, given the diverse playing styles and unique nature of the show. Tickets are $25 for orchestra seating, $20 general admission, and $10 for students with a valid ID. They are available for purchase during regular business hours at the box office of the William Pitt Union from noon to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and at the University of Pittsburgh Stages box office in the lower level of the Stephen Foster Memorial. Tickets may also be purchased at www.music.pitt.edu/tickets or by calling 412-624-PLAY (7529).

The Honorable William R. Robinson, District 10 representative to the Allegheny County Council and former Pennsylvania state representative, will serve as the evening’s master of ceremonies.

Thursday Brown-Bag Lunch Concerts
To set the mood on campus, free brown-bag lunch performances by members of the student Pitt Jazz Ensemble will be held at noon beginning Oct. 10 on Thursdays in October at Nordy’s Place, Lower Level, William Pitt Union. The public is invited to the performances, which will take place on the following Thursdays—Oct. 10, 17, 24, and 31.

Evening Film Screening
(Free and open to the public)
Tuesday, Oct. 29
7 p.m.
William Pitt Union, Assembly Room
Jazz Movie Night
Thelonious Monk: Straight, No Chaser (1988)
This feature-length documentary, directed by Clint Eastwood, includes interviews and clips of the legendary pianist in concert, on the road, and during studio sessions.

Evening Jazz Lecture
(Free and open to the public)
Wednesday, Oct. 30
7 p.m.
William Pitt Union, Ballroom
The Business of Music
“Navigating the Changing Tides of the Business”
Jana Herzen, president and owner of Motema Music
As founder of the Motema label, Herzen has advocated for visionaries Randy Weston, Monty Alexander, Gregory Porter, Geri Allen, and dozens of other composers and performers. A seasoned vocalist and instrumentalist in her own right, Herzen plays guitar, bass, and percussion, just to name a few.

Morning and Afternoon Jazz Lectures/Demonstrations
(Free and open to the public)
Friday, Nov. 1
William Pitt Union, Room 548
10 – 11 a.m.

Kenny Davis, bass
“The Importance of Being Versatile in Today’s Music Industry”
11 a.m. – noon
Ernie Watts, saxophone
“Tenor Titan and Jazz Master”
1-2 p.m.
Jeff “Tain” Watts
“African Extensions”

Saturday, Nov. 2
William Pitt Union, Assembly Room
Noon – 1 p.m.

Randy Brecker, trumpet
“Different Approaches to Improvisation: How to Unlock Your Creative Mind”
1-2 p.m.
Marcus Belgrave, trumpet
“My Time with The Ray Charles Orchestra”
2-3 p.m.
Ravi Coltrane, saxophone
“In Conversation with Ravi Coltrane”

Outreach Appearances in Schools and in the Community
(Only Hill House event open to general public)
Friday, Nov. 1, 1 p.m.
Falk Laboratory School

4060 Allequippa St., Oakland
Vincent Chandler, trombone
“Musical Muscle Groups: Fitness Training Methods for an Approach to Developing Complete Musicianship”

Friday, Nov. 1, 1 p.m.
Pittsburgh CAPA
111 Ninth St., Downtown
Kassa Overall, drums
Brinae Ali, tap percussionist
“Keeping Time: Drumming and Tap Dance Demonstration”

Saturday, Nov. 2, noon
Hill House Association Senior Services Center
2038 Bedford Ave., Hill District
Carmen Lundy, vocalist
“A Genuine Jazz Singer”

VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, noon
H. J. Heinz Campus
1010 Delafield Rd.
Russell Malone, guitar
“Be-bop, Swing, and Beyond”

For more than four decades, the Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert has played host to some of the greatest names in American jazz history, including saxophonists Grover Washington Jr. and Sonny Stitt, drummer and band leader Art Blakey, trumpet master Dizzy Gillespie, and many others. For more information, call 412-624-4187.