MCG Jazz 35th Anniversary Season Restarts LIVE JAZZ in a New Concert Hall
MCG Jazz kicked off their 35th anniversary season with a virtual gala and season announcement on Friday, May 21.
The concert season is a restart of programs that MCG Jazz was unable to present during the COVID-19 shutdown during 2020 and 2021 in the newly renovated concert hall.
Upgrades to the concert hall will take place over the Summer of 2021 and will include new seats, an updated stage, new flooring, video projection, and accessibility upgrades.
On September 24 and 25, the Yellowjackets will be the first artists to perform on the new stage with new music and fan favorites. 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. On October 2, Kirk Whalum and Keiko Matsui will be bring a new project to Pittsburgh. In a career spanning decades, Whalum has a sound that leaves an indelible imprint on the listener. It’s his saxophone heard in Whitney Houston’s hit “I Will Always Love You.” Matsui is an acclaimed pianist, composer, and humanitarian. Her transcendent and haunting melodies build bridges between her and the listener.
Fresh and innovating programs will be presented in both the fall and spring portions of the season. On October 16, Tierney Sutton and Ann Hampton Callaway – two world-renowned jazz stars – team up for the first time as their recent CDs share a common theme, unforgettable film songs. Callaway’s focus is mostly on the iconic gems from the 1930s and 1940s, while Sutton lends her imagination to beloved contemporary classics. GRAMMY® Award-winner Patti Austin will visit on November 20, bringing the talent that has made her a mainstay on the Billboard charts over the last 40 years.
The holiday show roars in on December 4, with The Hot Sardines “Holiday Stomp”—a raucous Christmas celebration performed by the eight-piece band, including tap dancer, fueled by the belief that classic jazz and the nostalgia of early Christmas feeds the heart and soul.
MCG Jazz will celebrate the lives of three all-time greats this season starting November 6 with “Georgia On My Mind: Celebrating the Music of Ray Charles” featuring Take 6, Nnenna Freelon, and Tom Scott. On January 22, 2022 the Brubeck Brothers Quartet will celebrate the centennial year of Dave Brubeck. Brubeck’s sons, Chris and Dan, created a multimedia show with their own Brubeck Brothers Quartet. On March 19, 2022 the tributes will conclude with a celebration of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s music presented in partnership with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s Principal Pops Conductor, Byron Stripling, will conduct and play and will be joined by native Brazilian’s and Jobim collaborators: Maucha Adnet, vocalist, and Duduka da Fonseca, percussionist, and members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra strings and woodwinds sections.
Universally known as one of the most iconic saxophonists of the current age, David Sanborn is a jazz musician at heart, but has transcended genres and musical boundaries throughout his entire career. Returning to his passion for jazz, Sanborn has assembled a stunning program of straight-ahead jazz tunes for his new quintet that he will bring to MCG Jazz on February 26, 2022. This season’s list of vocal performers is studded. On March 12, 2022, crowd-favorite Dee Dee Bridgewater will perform with piano great Bill Charlap.
Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra led by Wynton Marsalis, is made up of 15 of the finest soloists, ensemble players, and arrangers in jazz music today. Managing and artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center and a world-renowned trumpeter and composer, Marsalis has recorded more than 60 jazz and classical recordings, which have won him nine GRAMMY Awards. The full orchestra will appear at MCG Jazz on March 25 and 26, 2022.
After a two year wait, the SFJAZZ Collective will return on April 2, 2022. The All-Star Jazz Supergroup features Lizz Wright on vocals, Chris Potter on saxophones, David Sánchez on saxophones, Etienne Charles on trumpet, Warren Wolf on vibraphone, Edward Simon on keyboards, Aneesa Strings on bass, and Kendrick A.D. Scott on drums. MCG Jazz will also host Stefon Harris and Blackout along with U.S. Virgin Islands-born steel pan player, Victor Provost on April 30, 2022. The 35th anniversary season concludes on May 21, 2022 with Latin Jazz empresario Poncho Sanchez. Sanchez will fire up the MCG Jazz stage with his infectious straight-ahead jazz and soul music.