‘Sophisticated and diverse’ jazz lineup this season at Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild
Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis, two up-and-coming singers and three highly different big bands will be part of the 28th concert season at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild beginning in September.
The season of 17 concert dates will include 24 headline artists, some on double-bills, and 140 musicians, says Marty Ashby, executive producer of MCG Jazz.
“The jazz audience in Pittsburgh is sophisticated and diverse,” Ashby says, explaining a schedule that ranges from the mainstream approach of bassist Buster Williams to the fusion of Spyro Gyra.
One of the biggest changes in the series is the times of the shows. With the exception of three events, concerts will be at 7 and 9:30 p.m. Fridays, but 6 and 8:30 p.m. Saturdays.
The change in the Saturday show was made after a survey of the Saturday audience showed those at the second show wanted a chance to go out afterward, but found a concert ending at 11 or 11:30 p.m. to be too late, Ashby says.
“Now they can go out about 10 or 10:30 and hang,” he says.
The 2014-15 schedule:
Sept. 27: Patti Austin, a powerful singer who can blend a soulful sound with jazz.
Oct. 10 and 11:Bob Mintzer R & Big Band, which will give rhythm-and-blues classics a new sound.
Oct. 25: Cecile McLorin Salvant Ensemble. A Pittsburgh debut for a singer who was the youngest finalist ever in the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.
Nov. 7: Buster Williams Quartet and Sonny Fortune Quartet. Bassist Williams and saxophonist Fortune in a mainstream double-bill.
Nov. 14: Spyro Gyra. The fusion group celebrates the 35th anniversary of its platinum “Mountain Dance” recording.
Nov. 22: Jane Monheit, a singer who can go from show tunes to jazz classics.
Dec. 6: Larry Carlton Quartet, an eclectic guitarist and composer.
Dec. 12: The New York Voices celebrate Christmas and the “Let It Snow” album.
Feb. 6: Branford Marsalis brings his side of this remarkable jazz family to the guild.
Feb. 19: Irvin Mayfield & the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra puts the music of the Crescent City into a big-band framework.
Feb. 28: James Carter Organ Trio and Tribute to Slide Hampton, a two-fer with sax star Carter and a lineup of trombonists.
March 7: Kenny Barron solo and Cyrille Aimee. One of the music’s most reliable pianists shares the concert with an award-winning new singer.
March 27 and 28: Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra of New York does Duke Ellington’s “Black, Brown and Beige.”
April 10: Gerald Albright, a soul sax players also looks at straight jazz.
April 18: Larry Coryell and John and Gerald Clayton split the bill with guitarist Coryell showing his electric energy and bassist John and pianist Gerald in a father-son duo.
May 2: Blues Hall of Fame with guitarist John Hammond and harmonica stars Charlie Musselwhite and James Cotton.
May 8: Poncho Sanchez leads a tribute to vibes star Cal Tjader.
Pick-your-own packages of four concerts or more are available now with tickets ranging from $49.50 to $65 each. Individual tickets go on sale in August. Details: 412-322-0800 or www.mcgjazz.org
Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-320-7852.