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Marty Ashby (Courier File Photo)

The Jazz Journalists Association (JJA) has named Marty Ashby, executive producer of MCG Jazz, their 2017 Pittsburgh Jazz Hero. The association presents the award to people nationwide who have had a positive influence on their musical communities; “jazz heroes” according to the JJA are activists, advocates, altruists, aiders, and abettors of jazz. Ashby will be honored at MCG Jazz’s Bob James and Howard Paul concert on Saturday, April 8, 2017, at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild.

Ashby founded MCG Jazz at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in 1987. Over the past 30 years, he has presented over 2,500 concerts, hosted hundreds of educational events, and produced 50 commercially released CDs. Ashby has worked tirelessly to promote and preserve jazz by empowering MCG Jazz’s resident Pittsburgh musicians. He has provided production expertise on local musicians’ studio albums, obtained the technology and personnel to capture Pittsburgh jazz legends’ oral histories, and arranged for musicians to attain up-to-date professional photographs for promotional purposes. Preserving Pittsburgh’s jazz history, as it is made, is Ashby’s paramount goal and living legacy.

“Marty Ashby was blessed with two gifts:  the gift of music and the gift to promote the music and the musicians,” said Joe Negri, American jazz guitarist, and an MCG Jazz Pittsburgh Jazz Legend. “I treasure my time spent with him, especially the making of our [Grammy] award winning album ‘Guitars for Christmas’.”

In addition, Ashby has served as an advisor for jazz service organizations and conferences, a panelist on several state art councils, and as a member of regional arts organizations, private foundations, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He has given consultations free of charge to countless regional organizations and presently provides private guitar lessons to up-and-coming performers.

A full list of all 2017 JJA Jazz Heroes can be found athttp://www.jjajazzawards.org/p/2017-jazz-heroes.html.

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