Roger Humphries

Roger Humphries

PITTSBURGH – Jazz Forward Coalition’s JazzHubs in America initiative has named Pittsburgh and specifically the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild Jazz program as the first to pilot a “jazz network” to strengthen jazz’s cultural presence in the United States. JazzHubs was the sole Jazz category recipient of a highly contested Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) for National Projects grant.

“As we enter our 30th season of jazz programming we are excited to help spearhead opportunities for audience development, community engagement, and programming for jazz activities throughout the region,” explains Marty Ashby, Executive Director of Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild Jazz.

The JazzHubs program intends to support the long-term sustainability of jazz. The program will also be piloted in Phoenix with The Nash, Washington, DC with Smithsonian Jazz, and Portland with PDX Jazz. The four hubs will participate in an 18-month pilot program focused on resource and capacity building through national and local summits.

Jazz Musician, Roger Humphries is excited about the venture, “I have had the good fortune of playing Jazz in Pittsburgh for over 65 years and the idea of organizing opportunities for the Jazz Community is long overdue.”

Gail Austin, managing director of the Kente Arts Alliance agrees, “As a Jazz Presenter in Pittsburgh it is critical to our success to be in communication with the entire Jazz Community.  We look forward to being a part of the Jazz Hubs initiative.”

Kevin Saftner, the general manager of James Street Gastropub and Speakeasy, believes there will be other benefits as well, “Pittsburgh has a long, rich tradition of producing some for the most talented and dedicated jazz musicians in the world. This will help bring together the jazz community for much needed support. As a Jazz Club, we are very excited that Pittsburgh will be one of the first cites to benefit from the Jazz Hub concept.”

About MCG Jazz
MCG Jazz’s mission is to preserve, present and promote jazz. Through our performances, we strengthen the long time Pittsburgh jazz community and contribute to the overall cultural and artistic diversity of the region. Through our live recordings we reach a national and international audience – a market we’d like to grow. Through our educational programs we are able to have students attend the concerts at low or no cost to them, make artists available for master classes and provide opportunities for internships in production and marketing.

Since 1987, MCG Jazz has brought audiences together with jazz artists at its 350 seat music hall in Pittsburgh for innovative 4-day performances and recordings. Many of these international masters of jazz would headline a list of Jazz’s “Needs No Introduction” — Joe Williams, Billy Taylor, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Turrentine, Ray Brown. MCG Jazz Archives now contain over 300 CDs worth of jazz history by those who represent the past, present and future of jazz music. The performance series, one of the oldest in the nation, is an anchor of Pittsburgh cultural and community life.

About Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) for National Projects Grants
The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF) grants provide organizations with the resources to research and plan for, or pilot and implement, projects showing particular potential for replication and influence on the practices of other organizations across the country. Through the Fund for National Projects, the foundation aims to strengthen the national infrastructure of performing arts by supporting projects that promise to foster continued dynamism and vitality in their respective fields of contemporary dance, jazz and theater. DDCF’s Fund for National Projects offers organizations two kinds of support: Phase I funding to embark upon projects that have not previously received DDCF grants, and Phase II funding for organizations to continue and expand previously DDCF-funded projects. Each grant contains funds for specific project related expenses as well as funds for general operating costs.

About Jazz Forward Coalition (JFC)
Jazz Forward Coalition (JFC) is a diverse and inclusive global alliance of jazz professionals devoted to advancing the genre and industry for sustainability and growth. JFC’s JazzHubs in America will pilot a new jazz network by convening local organizations and professionals across all sectors to facilitate through collective action, professional development, shared resources and increasing demand in the market. Together, the rollout of these JazzHubs will form the basis for a robust and interactive national network of communities to strengthen jazz’s cultural footprint and increase their local and national presence.

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