One of the region’s premiere jazz events celebrates 40 years this November, as the University of Pittsburgh hosts its annual 2010 Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert Nov. 4-6.

Founded in 1971 by Pitt Jazz Studies Program Director Nathan Davis as the first academic jazz seminar of its kind in the country, the event features international artists connecting with aspiring students in a lecture format, then performing together as an ensemble.


Over four decades, the Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert has played host to some of the greatest names in American jazz history, including saxophonists Grover Washington Jr. and Sonny Stitt, drummer and bandleader Art Blakey, trumpet master Dizzy Gillespie and pianist Billy Taylor.

In keeping with tradition, a stellar group of international jazz musicians will hold free on-campus lecture/demonstrations, visit area schools and community venues, and convene for the annual concert at 8 p.m. Nov. 6 in Carnegie Music Hall, 4400 Forbes Ave., Oakland.

Musicians taking part this year include Randy Brecker, trumpet; Bobby Broom, guitar; George Cables, piano; Leon Lee Dorsey, Pitt assistant professor of jazz studies and coordinator of Pitt’s Jazz Studies Program, bass; Jon Faddis, trumpet; Winard Harper, drums; Javon Jackson, tenor saxophone; Peter King, alto saxophone; and Dave Pike, vibraphone.

Details on the Pitt Jazz Week events follow.

Concert: The Nov. 6 concert is a one-of-a-kind performance, given the diverse playing styles and the show’s impromptu nature. Tickets are $18. Students with a valid ID pay $8. Tickets are available by calling ProArtsTickets at 412-394-3353 or visiting Tickets also are available at Pitt’s William Pitt Union box office, 3959 Fifth Ave., Oakland. Student tickets can only be purchased at WPU.

Bill R. Robinson, District 10 representative to the Allegheny County Council and former Pennsylvania state representative, will serve as the evening’s master of ceremonies. At intermission, one of the guest artists will be presented with the University of Pittsburgh Jazz Seminar Committee Award, and two other musicians (one living and one deceased) will be inducted into the University of Pittsburgh International Academy of Jazz Hall of Fame.

Brown bag lunches (Free and Open to the Public): As a preview to Jazz Week and to set the mood on campus, free brown bag lunch performances by members of the Pitt Jazz Ensemble have been taking place throughout October. The public is invited to the remaining free performances at the following locations: Oct. 28, Nordy’s Place, Noon, Lower Level, WPU.

Evening Jazz Lecture (Free and open to the public), Thursday, Nov. 4, WPU Assembly Room, 7 p.m. “Inside Edition: The author discusses his books on Miles Davis and John Coltrane,” Bill Cole, founder and director of the John Coltrane Memorial Contemporary Jazz Series at Syracuse University and founder and director of the Untempered Ensemble.

Morning and afternoon lectures/demonstrations (Free and open to the public), Friday, Nov. 5, WPU Assembly Room, 10-11 a.m.; “I Remember Monk,” George Cables, piano, 2-3 p.m.; “Artistry in Rhythm: Dedicated to Kenny Clarke,” Winard Harper, drums, 3-4:30 p.m.; “‘Bags’ Meets ‘Wes’: A Salute to Milt Jackson and Wes Montgomery,” Dave Pike, vibraphone, and Bobby Broom, guitar, Saturday, Nov. 6 WPU Assembly Room 10-11:15 a.m.; “From ‘Bird’ to ‘Trane’ With Love,” Peter King, alto saxophone, and Javon Jackson, tenor saxophone, noon-1 p.m. “A Salute to Louis ‘Pops’ Armstrong,” Jon Faddis, trumpet, and Randy Brecker, trumpet.

Jazz Memorabilia Exhibition—jazz memorabilia including photos, music, posters and a xylophone that once belonged to Lionel Hampton—will be on display during Jazz Week in the Conney M. Kimbo Gallery on the main floor of WPU. The artifacts represent artists who have made major contributions to jazz.

Guest musician: Bobby Broom, guitar. Saturday, Nov. 3, 11 a.m. Hill House Senior Service Center, 2038 Bedford Ave., Hill District, open to the public; light refreshments. Guest musician: Winard Harper, drums.

(For more information about the seminar and concert, call 412-624-4187.)

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