Stellar musicianship, singing and historical storytelling were just some of the gems audiences were treated to during the Pittsburgh debut of Levi Barcourt’s Jazz concert “The Jazz Revue: other special selections and storytelling featuring Levi Barcourt.”
New Horizon Theater was scheduled to bring Barcourt and the Jazz Revue to Pittsburgh last February but the event was postponed due to the winter storms that bombarded the Pittsburgh area.
Despite the change, Barcourt was happy to debut his show in The Golden Triangle.
“I decided to debut the show in Pittsburgh because I was here before doing a show with Melba Moore and the people were very kind and very receptive to what we brought. People reacted to that and they really loved the show and they really wanted to see me. That was the real reason why I decided to come to Pittsburgh,” said Barcourt, who has worked with singer Melba Moore for 15 years.
The show featured songs by jazz greats like Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and Etta James. Some songs were played by a live band that Barcourt hand-picked with the piano maestro accompanying on the piano. Other songs were sung to perfection by the velvety voiced Lou Watson and the tremendously talented Angel Rose.
In addition, attendees were treated to Black history as well as the history of jazz and some of its greatest singers and songwriters.
That’s one of the reasons why New Horizon Theater asked Barcourt to bring his Jazz Revue to town.
“People really enjoyed Levi when he was here before with Melba Moore,” said New Horizon chairperson, Joyce Meggerson-Moore. “When he said he was creating his own show and he told me what it was about, I thought Pittsburgh would enjoy it because it had live music and it would teach them about history. The show was bringing something different.”
And Pittsburghers were extremely receptive to Barcourt’s unique concept.
“The show was fantastic! I liked the history and the music that was played. It brought back a lot of memories,” explained concert attendee Elsie Murray.
Barcourt said the Jazz Revue was one of his lifelong dreams to create.
“It took about a year to put the show together, but physically it was a process. When you are putting things together you realize the magnitude and the amount of work that you put into it,” Barcourt said.
Hard work is not new to Barcourt.
The New York resident began playing piano at age 9 and had earned four piano scholarships by the time he reached 16.
Upon graduating from the High School of Music and Art in New York, Barcourt went on to attend the Hartt College of Music at the University of Hartford and then the Purchase Conservatory of Music where he received his bachelor of Fine Arts.
From there, Barcourt began performing as a pianist and arranger with the Harlem Open Society. Being a part of the group allowed Barcourt to travel to Europe and the Virgin Islands. He also performed at Lincoln Center and The Schomberg Center and the Symphony Space.
He began working with the legendary Moore 15 years ago. Barcourt has also been linked to Freddie Jackson,
“I enjoy the spontaneity and the pureness of performing music,” Barcourt said when asked what he enjoys about playing in front of live audiences. “Sometimes I don’t know what I’m going to play all the time. Sometimes it depends on where I am emotionally.”
Barcourt is planning on taking the Jazz Revue to other cities over the next few months.
When he isn’t performing with Moore or his own work, Barcourt enjoys spending time with his three children and playing racquetball. He also enjoys working out and teaching music classes in New York.