FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2008
Contact: K.E. Schwab
MCG Jazz brings salute to Pittsburgh's jazz heritage to SRU festival
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - MCG Jazz will celebrate "Pittsburgh 250," through a salute to jazz greats with Pittsburgh connections, at the eighth annual Slippery Rock University Jazz Festival May 3.
Organized by Stephen Hawk, SRU associate professor of music, the all-day program gives participating regional high school jazz musicians the chance to perform for and attend clinics and masterclasses with current jazz musicians and to receive feedback. The students and general public then attend a performance by the MCG Jazz at 5 p.m. in the University Union.
MCG Jazz is a social enterprise of the Pittsburgh's Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, a subsidiary of Manchester Bidwell Corp, a non-profit arts and learning center. MCG Jazz is marking Pittsburgh's 250th anniversary through its mission of preserving, presenting and promoting jazz music with a series of concerts. The MCG program includes narration while spotlighting Pittsburgh jazz artists who have changed the face of jazz. The Pittsburgh salute continues at other venues through September.
"Pittsburgh has been home to a long line of legendary jazz artists, from Erroll Garner, Billy Strayhorn and Stanley Turentine to George Benson and Ahmad Jamal," Hawk said. Program supporters point out that Pittsburgh has a rich jazz tradition, including such greats as Roy Eldridge, Mary Lou Williams, Billy Eckstine and Art Blakey. All were jazz performers as well as leaders, mentors, arrangers and composers.
Hawk said the University's festival combines forces with the MCG Jazz Pittsburgh Jazz Legacy Project by featuring Pittsburgh's current jazz musicians and educators this year.
Performers will include vocalist Maureen Budway, drummer Roger Humphries, saxophonists Mike Tomaro and Jim Guerra, trumpeters Hawk and John "Doc" Wilson, trombonist Jay Ashby, pianist Max Leake, bassist Dwayne Dolphin, and conductor and guitarist Marty Ashby. Musical selections will include "Take The A Train" by Strayhorn, "Sugar" by Turrentine, "One O'Clock Jump" (Count Basie's theme song), and other pieces by Blakey, Jamal, Benson and Ray Brown, all with new arrangements written especially for the group.
The MCG project is sponsored by BNY Mellon.
Participating high school jazz bands include those from Slippery Rock, Upper St. Clair, Kiski, New Brighton, Norwin and Rochester.
Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.