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Free jazz pops ups in unexpected hot spots

Pittsburgh's summer jazz scene just got a whole lot hotter -- and it won't cost listeners a cent.

A few surprising venues are popping up in Pittsburgh to draw jazz aficianados outdoors during July, August and September. 

Pittsburgh's Smallest Jazz Club was installed at a bus shelter on Liberty Avenue across from 9th Street in Downtown Pittsburgh on July 6 thanks to a $1,000 grant from Awesome Pittsburgh last year. 

MCG Jazz, which is a music program of the nonprofit Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, dreamed up Pittsburgh's Smallest Jazz Club as a bus shelter on Liberty Avenue across from 9th Street in Downtown Pittsburgh. Thanks to a $1,000 grant from Awesome Pittsburgh, the project was installed on July 6 and will run through the end of September. The shelter's interior walls feature photos of Pittsburgh's jazz legends, while speakers pump out a Grammy Award-winning recordings from MCG Jazz, which has hosted luminaries such as Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams and Stanley Turrentine through the years.

"The intent is to promote jazz music as Pittsburgh's greatest arts export, and to remind people that jazz music -- and art -- is fun, familiar, and everywhere," Kline says. 

A patron waiting in the bus shelter simply pushes a button, which connects to an iPod playing the songs. Lamar Outdoor, which owns the bus shelters in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, helped to put the idea into action. MCG Jazz, whose mission is to preserve, present and promote jazz, aims to introduce both national and international audiences to Pittsburgh's jazz legends.  

Meanwhile, across the Allegheny River on the North Side, City Of Asylum is introducing a series of free concerts from local jazz icon Roger Humphries and RH Factor every Wednesday from now through Sept. 16. 

Jazz Wednesdays are part of Summer on Sampsonia, the summer programming series from exiled writers sanctuary City of Asylum. The events will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Wednesday at the City of Asylum's pop-up venue, the Alphabet City Tent, at 318 Sampsonia Way in the North Side. 

The free tickets for Jazz Wednesdays are available online.

To learn more about Pittsburgh’s Smallest Jazz Club, visit the project’s Facebook page.

Opposition grows against Azalea as Pride 2015 concert headliner

So far, Pittsburgh Pride has generated more conflict than its “All You Need Is Love” theme implies.

The choice of Australian rapper Iggy Azalea as the headliner for the region’s largest gay pride concert sparked protests among the city’s LGBTQ community against The Delta Foundation of Pittsburgh, which organized this year's Pride in the Street concert. The controversy stems from past racist and homophobic remarks the pop star made publicly.

Reaction came swiftly after Delta’s announcement of the June 13 concert headliner, and opposition continues to grow. At publication of this story, more than 900 followers have joined the “Shut it down” Facebook campaign. Other LGBTQ groups and faith communities from around the city are rallying strong support of the campaign.

“The Iggy Azalea thing was just a last straw for folks,” Michael David Battle of the Garden of Peace Project told the Pittsburgh City Paper.

Arts organization Dreams of Hope plans to use the concert itself to express opposition.

“The best way we can affect the change we seek is to use the visibility of Pride Fest to share our vision of what Pride should be,” said the group’s Executive Director, Seth Rosenberg. “We will march, we will staff our information table, our theatriQ youth performance ensemble will take the stage -- and we will use all of these platforms to express our displeasure with the current state of Pittsburgh Pride.”

Last week, Azalea cancelled her upcoming fall tour though she assured fans that special events -- including Pittsburgh Pride -- will remain as scheduled. Delta, likewise, has shown no sign of cancelling at present.

“If we believed that Iggy Azalea was racist or homophobic, we certainly would not have selected her to headline Pittsburgh Pride. We also don't believe she would have agreed to come if she was racist or homophobic,” Delta said in a full statement to the City Paper. “We believe that the push back is part of a larger discussion happening across America as it relates to race and gender. We believe that same conversation needs to happen here in Pittsburgh and today [we] reached out to several community leaders about facilitating a discussion about race and gender specifically as it relates to the LGBT community.”
 

Satisfaction: The Rolling Stones come to Heinz Field

The Rolling Stones have announced a round of tour dates, and they include a stop in the Steel City. The British legends will hit Heinz Field on June 20.

The Zip Code tour will once again reunite singer Mick Jagger, drummer Charlie Watts and guitarists Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood.

The last time the Rolling Stones played North American stadiums was during their "A Bigger Bang Tour" in 2006. They opted for arena venues for their "50 & Counting" tour in 2012 and 2013.

"We love being out on the road and it is great to come back to North America," said Richards in a statement. "I can't wait to get back on the stage!"

And quite the stage it will be, including a section that juts far into the crowd, allowing the Stones to interact with fans. As is the band's practice, the stage design will employ cutting-edge technology to enhance the performance, including video screens and special effects.

Check out the complete list of tour dates here.

Original source: The New York Times

Oprah reunites local rapper with her long-lost, retro-famous father

Aspiring Pittsburgh rapper Kellee Maize was reunited with her long-lost father on a recent episode of “Oprah: Where Are They Now?”

But when she realized that she was a child of 1970s heartthrob Jimmy McNichol, her yearning for fame as a musician began to make sense. In the 1970s, McNichol and his sister Kristy McNichol, were the most sought-after siblings in Hollywood.

"I've known I've been adopted since I was a little child," Maize says. "And so when I did end up figuring out that he was my father, and deciding to pursue that, it was an incredibly emotional experience."

Watch the tearful reunion here.
 

Local singer and songwriter advances on NBC's The Voice

Chris Jamison, a 20-year-old Ross Township native, is advancing through the rounds of competition on the NBC TV show The Voice.

Jamison chose Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine as his show coach.

“Though his background is in musical theatre, Chris is currently the lead singer of a rock band,” according to his bio on The Voice website. “He’s hoping The Voice can launch him from college gigs to national stardom.”

Meet Jamison via a video from The Voice here.
 

Child prodigy and esteemed conductor Lorin Maazel dies at 84

This week the New York Times paid tribute to Lorin Maazel, a child prodigy who grew up to become an enigmatic conductor, after he died in his home at 84. Maazel conducted the Pittsburgh Symphony in 1940, before his tenth birthday. He returned to Pittsburgh throughout his career.  

At 15, he took a break from conducting and began studying at the University of Pittsburgh. In 1946 he organized the Fine Arts Quartet of Pittsburgh and in 1948 he joined the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra shortly before embarking for a long stint in Europe in 1951. 

In 1984, he returned to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra as a music consultant and later became its musical director until 1996. During this time, he toured the world and won a grammy with the orchestra.

Native rappers stick together

MTV reported this week that Pittsburgh rappers stood by Hardo, a rapper from Wilkinsburg, through social media after he was found not guilty for drug charges.
 
Mac Miller asked fans to tweet their support with the hashtag #welcomehomehardo while Wiz Khalifa pledged his allegiance to the black and yellow and tweeted “free Hardo.”
 
Hardo was arrested and charged with drug possession and intent to deliver last August when officers found 250 individual stamp bags of heroin in a bag in his vehicle.
 
Since returning home, Hardo has already recorded and released a new single entitled “Thug Motivation.”

Duquesne grad and August WIlson protege contributes to Broadway musical about Tupac Shakur

The New York Times reported last week that  “Holler if Ya Hear Me”, a new Broadway musical revolving around Tupac Shakur’s music and messages, was originally the brainchild of beloved playwright August Wilson who saw honor, duty, betrayal, and love in Shakur’s music.
 
When Wilson died in 2005, the idea lapsed until Western Pennsylvania native, Duquesne graduate and former Pittsburgh Public Theater staff member Todd Kreidler collaborated with director Kenny Leon and they took on the project of weaving 21 of Shakur’s songs and poems into a narrative.
 
The musical will open directly onto Broadway on June 19, after the Tony awards deadline, at the Palace Theater. The piece asserts the idea that Tupac Shakur is universal and that everybody can relate to his music.
 
“This is the greatest stage for storytelling in our country and I think Tupac Shakur belongs there,” Leon tells the New York Times.

The new audio geeks features Pittsburgh audiophile

Are you an audiophile? Then check out this article from the NY Times about the changing music industry, featuring a 'Burgher's testimony to the death of the Hi-Fi era.

"These days, Mr. Elias, 58, is an advertising executive who lives with his wife and three children in a house in Pittsburgh with enough high-end audio gear to open a stereo showroom, including a Krell Showcase five-channel power amp ($4,500), Thiel CS6 loudspeakers ($9,000 a pair) and an Escient FireBall CD system ($4,000). Every year, he offers to buy his children a great stereo, he said, but they never take him up on it."

While this focuses more on the industry's upheaval than it does on this Pittsburgher, we thought it was worth sharing. To read more, click here.

Meet Pittsburgh's Electro-Dream Pop Artist Paul Thomas Zito

Paul Thomas Zito of Pittsburgh is a particular stand-out DIY musician for us this week in the cafe, and we’re thinking may very well be for others too. From his new album, Darker Sea, Lighter Sleep, Zito recently sent us two singles.

While both tracks are fine songs, our favorite is “Cluster of String,” a sparkling composition oozing with warm, tropical-like synth melodies and soaring, echoey vocals – a perfect song for a sunny gold, blue-sky late summer afternoon. After a few spins of “Cluster of String,” it was clear we were hearing perhaps one of the best DIY artists on IRC this summer. That declaration was greatly enhanced by the second track Zito submitted.

Read it here.

Kellee Maize video does a 360 in Market Square

Kellee Maize's latest video features a fast-rapping Kellee and a 360 degree view of Market Square. View it here!

USC senior gets the nod on American Idol. Patty the Pittsburgh Planker wasn't so lucky

Upper St. Clair senior Xavier Callicott made it through the first cut on American Idol with two thumbs up, enough to send him to Hollywood for the next round. Read it here.

Patty the Pittsburgh Planker got the on air treatment, but won't be going the distance.

Beneath our city is an active underground of experimental artists, says Nylon

An active underground of experiemental artists, rap stars like Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller as well as Girl Talk are all putting Pittsburgh's music scene on the map, says Nylon. How cool is that?

Read it in Nylon.


Kellee Maize's new album gets 85,000+ downloads

Pittsburgh rapper Kellee Maize's newest album release, Integration, is expected to hit the 100,000 download mark soon. Read more about the hot release here and check out Kellee's cool video.

For the full story, click here.
23 Music Articles | Page: | Show All
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