The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Announces Return of BNY Mellon Presents JazzLive!

This summer, the free jazz program returns for 10 weeks, every Tuesday at the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s Allegheny Overlook Pop-Up Park July 6 – September 7, 2021 | 5-7 p.m.
Jl Summer2021 Facebookevent
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is thrilled to announce that free jazz is back in the Cultural District this summer! The ever-popular BNY Mellon Presents JazzLive program showcases some of the region’s finest jazz musicians every Tuesday in the heart of the Cultural District, at the Backstage Bar and Katz Plaza. After more than a year’s hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program returns for a special 10-week run at the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s Allegheny Overlook Pop-Up Park.

“We couldn’t be happier about the return of live, world-class jazz concerts that are free and open to the public each week,” says Terri Bell, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. “Over the course of the pandemic, we have proudly produced BNY Mellon Presents JazzLive @ Home, a video series that features some of the finest jazz musicians of today. There is truly nothing like gathering to experience these musicians live, though, and we can’t wait to be together again next month!”

Jl20 Athome 1300x500

Beginning Tuesday July 6 and running through Tuesday September 7, resident emcee Bob Studebaker returns to welcome audiences to the beautiful Allegheny Overlook Pop-Up Park for another season of free jazz. The Allegheny Overlook, produced by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is a new pop-up park located in downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District on Fort Duquesne Boulevard between 6th Street and Stanwix Street. Anchored by a full-time stage, it offers visitors expansive riverfront views, fresh food, drinks, live music, and more in a park-like setting, all summer long.  There will also be a beer garden installation from Braddock based Brew Gentlemen – well known for their soft, balanced beers and flagship IPA, ‘General Braddock’s’. Made-to-order food items will also be available at the location.

Jeremy Waldrup, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership says, “We’re excited to host the wonderful artists and performers that the JazzLive program will bring to the Allegheny Overlook this summer. Live music is a vital part of Downtown that has been missing, and we’re so appreciative of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for bringing these great free performances to the AO stage. These concerts highlight our local artists while building upon the strong legacy of jazz music in Pittsburgh, and we can’t wait to welcome patrons back Downtown.”

“This collaboration with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and its fantastic pop-up park makes our return even more special,” continues Ms. Bell. “After the success of our performances in this space during the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival, we look forward to seeing the Allegheny Overlook enlivened all summer long, on Tuesdays during our jazz performances and throughout the week with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s Downtown Pittsburgh Sound initiative.”

All are welcome to BNY Mellon Presents JazzLive, every Tuesday from 5-7 p.m. (unless otherwise noted) at the Allegheny Overlook from July 6 through September 7, for this amazing performance lineup:

July 6 | Roger Humphries + RH Factor

Roger Humphries began playing professionally at the age of fourteen. He led his own group at Carnegie Music Hall when just sixteen. “I’ve had a love for music as long as I can remember.” He was encouraged by his older brothers Lawrence Jr. and Norman who were musicians at that time. Additionally, Roger’s son Roger Jr. and Norman’s son Gregory have followed in their footsteps as professional drummers.

After playing with various groups around the country, ace drummer Roger Humphries decided to organize his own group in 1972 which he calls RH Factor and in 1996 he assembled Roger Humphries’ Big Band. Roger gives special thanks to Dr. Harry Clark, founding principal of The Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) who has allowed him to have such a beautiful experience teaching the kids at the school, and also to the late Dr. Nathan Davis who gave him an opportunity to teach students at the University of Pittsburgh. Roger has also influenced the careers of a number of his students and musicians through participation in a number of clinics such as the Slippery Rock University Summer Jazz workshop, Mellon Jazz Masters Class and Concerts, and the teaching goes on especially on the stage.
Find more about Roger Humphries and his band, RH Factor, at rogerhumphriesband.com.

July 13 | James Johnson III Quintet

Described as a musical chameleon with wide-ranging talents, James Johnson III adapts comfortably to a variety of genres. He began his musical journey playing drums at five years old. His father, Dr. James Johnson Jr., a nationally known pianist, educator and founder of Afro American Music Institute, sparked his passion for music. Precursory to his worldwide career, he attended Pittsburgh’s high school for the creative and performing arts (CAPA) where he was mentored by jazz great Roger Humphries. This laid the foundation for a stellar career that has included performing as a regular member with legendary jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal. His musical adventures have led him to play prestigious venues in locations around the world such as North America, Europe, Africa and Japan. As a part of his portfolio, he has performed with jazz masters George Coleman, James Moody, Geri Allen, Bob James, Kenny Garrett, Benny Golson, Mulgrew Miller, Bob Mintzer and Kenny Werner.
James serves as Artist in Residence at The University of Pittsburgh School of Music and is faculty at the Afro American Music Institute—a Pittsburgh institution that preserves the heritage of African American music. As a versatile percussionist, composer and producer, James maintains a diverse freelance career. Currently, he has two solo projects: Between and Full Circle.

July 20 | David Throckmorton Quartet

David Throckmorton has performed all over the world with artists including Maynard Ferguson, David Fiuczynski, Tony Grey, Hotei and Javon Jackson. David is 1/3 of DTC Organ Trio featuring guitarist Dan Wilson, and organist Cliff Barnes. David leads or co-leads his own ensembles including Beam, Thoth Trio, Smash Your Wagon and The David Throckmorton Quartet. David performs clinics and masterclasses worldwide and endorses Yamaha Drums, Sabian Cymbals and Vic Firth Drumsticks.

July 27 | Kenia

Brazilian native Kenia’s beautiful, sultry voice invites you to meet new songs and revisit some familiar tunes – from gorgeous ballads to upbeat Brazilian forró, with some cool jazz on the side. Her voice and style embody the best of the Brazilian sound –deep and sultry, richly diverse, unexpectedly explosive. From local clubs to international performances, to her ongoing innovation in recording sizzling Brazilian beats, Kenia creates her own unique blend of Brazilian pop, samba, bossa nova and choro.
Visit kenialive.com to learn more.

August 3 | Noël Quintana & The Latin Crew

*Special time – 12-2 p.m.
Noël Quintana & The Latin Crew are one of Cleveland and Pittsburgh’s leading salsa and Latin Jazz bands. The band was founded in 1999 by Quintana, percussionist, band leader, researcher, educator and artistic director. He was born in New York City and grew up surrounded by Afro-Caribbean music. Quintana took private lessons early in his life from renowned percussionist and recording artist, Luis “Timbalito” Romero (Willie Colon &Hector La Voe Orchestra) Quintana has performed with many Latin music giants such as Tito Puente, Richie Ray, Ismael Miranda, Marvin Santiago, Tommy Olivencia, Simón Perez, Hector Tricoche, Viti Ruiz, Paquito Guzmán, Paquito Acosta, Luisito Carrion, Tony Vega, Pedro Jesus, Andy Montañez, Lefty Pérez, Miguelito Cuni Jr. , Tito Rojas, N’ Klave, Charlie Cruz, Aretha Franklin, Bobby Sanabria, Johnny Almendra y Los Jóvenes del Barrio, Luís Romero y Mazacote, among others. He has taught for Northewast Ohio Jazz Society’s Banda Hispana Cultural and the Juilia de Burgos Community Center for 16 years, as well teaching private lessons in Latin percussion and offers programs for schools and cultural centers.
Visit thelatincrew.com for more information.

August 10 | Thomas Wendt Quintet

Thomas Wendt has been playing the drums professionally since the age of 14. A graduate of The Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts, he has studied with master drummers Roger Humphries, Joe Harris, and Kenny Washington. Thomas maintains a busy freelancing schedule with Pittsburgh’s top jazz artists such as Dwayne Dolphin, Joe Negri, Sean Jones, David Budway, Kenia, the Latin jazz group, Salsamba, and the newly re-formed Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra. He has also played with many visiting international artists like David “Fathead” Newman, Donald Byrd, James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Clark Terry, Benny Golson, Phil Woods, Freddy Cole, Monty Alexander, Bill Watrous, Paquito D’Rivera, Curtis Lundy, Wycliffe Gordon, Ann Hampton Calloway and Javon Jackson. In 2008, Thomas played on the Emmy Award winning soundtrack for the PBS documentary, “Fly Boys” and in 2010 he recorded an album featuring trombonists Jay Ashby and Steve Davis, entitled Mistaken Identity. Thomas has also recorded albums with Gene Ludwig, Sandy Staley, Salsamba, David and Maureen Budway, and Joe Negri. Recently, he has been working with jazz legend Hubert Laws and has appeared with him at the Litchfield Jazz Festival and the Miami Jazz Festival. In 2013, Thomas performed with pianist Alan Broadbent for the Nyack NY Library Concert Series in New York. Thomas has been on the faculty at the Afro-American Music Institute in Homewood since 1998 and City Music Center of Duquesne University since 2016.

August 17 | Lynn Speakman Quintet

Lynn Speakman (alto saxophone/flute) has been a performer, composer, arranger, copyist, and music educator for the past 20 years. Her career has given her the opportunity to perform with bands such as the Christian McBride Big Band, Gerald Wilson and His Orchestra, Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and Wycliffe Gordon Big Band as well as her own small groups. Lynn is also an experienced music educator and has performed and taught at the Stanford Jazz Workshop for 12 years as well as Calhoun School and Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Middle School Jazz Academy in NYC, Detroit Civic Youth Jazz in Michigan, and Center of Life Jazz in Pittsburgh. In addition to teaching and performing, Lynn spends much of her time composing and arranging as well as transcribing and engraving music for her own band, her students, and for a large list of clients in NYC, where she resided for 7 years. She currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA with her husband, Josh, and their 2 beagles.
The Lynn Speakman Quintet will perform original compositions and arrangements written by Lynn as well as Hard Bop era repertoire from the books of the Cannonball Adderley Quintet, Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, and more.

August 24 | Reggie Watkins Quartet Featuring Orrin Evans

Trombonist, pianist, arranger and composer Reggie Watkins has released three recordings as leader. From 1999 to 2006 he served as trombonist and musical director for trumpeter and band leader Maynard Ferguson and from 2008 to 2013 with singer-songwriter Jason Mraz. Now In addition to leading his own trio, quartet and the Steeltown Horns, he is a member of Orrin Evans’ Captain Black Big Band, The Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, Postmodern Jukebox, and a founding member of The Keystone Jazz Collective.

“Reggie Watkins manages to improvise with an originality and creativity avoiding clichés and predictable phrases in an entirely distinctive trombone style.” – Hot House Magazine

Grammy-nominated pianist Orrin Evans has been recognized as one of the most distinctive and inventive pianists of his generation. In a short span of time Orrin has earned the titles of pianist, composer, bandleader, teacher, producer and arranger. He has released twenty-seven albums as a leader and is on many others with artists such as Ralph Peterson Jr., Ravi Coltrane and Jeff “Tain” Watts. In 2010 he was awarded the Pew Fellowship for the Arts. In 2017, Evans was named the new pianist in The Bad Plus. In 2021 his large ensemble, The Captain Black Big Band, received its second Grammy nomination for “The Intangible Between,” , on Imani Records.

“.. Evans is a viable candidate for jazz’s most resourceful and invigorating contemporary pianist.” – The New York Times

The line-up for their JazzLive performance includes Reggie Watkins – trombone, Orrin Evans – piano, Tony DePaolis – bass, and James Johnson III – drums.

August 31 | Jevon Rushton Group Featuring Anita Levels

By the age of six, Jevon Rushton was already mesmerizing those around him with his dexterity as a young drummer. At age 14, Jevon made the decision to cultivate his playing by studying at the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) under the tutelage of jazz legend, Roger Humphries. He is a graduate of George Westinghouse High School.
Along with explosive power, speed, complex rhythms and time signatures, Jevon brings a rare and unique sense of elegance, chilled composure, and groove to his music. His artistic ingenuity expresses itself in his incomparable technique, sweltering sense of swing, and an extraordinary ability to imbue his music with poise and grace. Jevon can be heard playing on a plethora of recordings.
Jevon has a strong dedication to community and education. On April 17, 2018, Jevon created and produced a SOLD-OUT show entitled “An Evening with the Musical Compositions of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” which was presented by the Trust as part of its BNY Mellon Presents JazzLive ticketed concert series. Jevon has received many awards; including The Judah Project Excellence in Leadership, and the AUBA Community Dedication Award. In 2008, he was honored and inducted into the Westinghouse High School Hall of Fame. And in 2009, he ventured into Broadway as the drummer for the national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musical CATS, Sister Act, and School of Rock!
Anita Levels is a self-taught vocal artist, songwriter and producer who began singing at the age of three in Frankfurt, West Germany. Being a preacher’s kid and a member of a musical family from New Orleans, the arts were in her blood.
In 2001, she toured the country of Holland as the director and founder of the then Carlow College Gospel choir, “Blessed,” , with the internationally recognized ethnomusicologist, Dr. Portia Maultsby.
Levels was also a finalist , in the 2008 , syndicated talent reality show, Gospel Dream. One of her more recent endeavors was being casted in the NFL Super Bowl 50 commercial in 2016. Her debut CD, Restore the Soul, was released in 2006 with great reviews. She also has a plethora of other recording work, which includes her most recent single “If You Know,” released in 2017.
She has attained her master’s degree in training and development and believes that music should evoke an atmosphere of love, recreation, healing and thought.

September 7 | Dr. Alton Merrell & Impact

Dr. Alton Merrell & Impact is the nation’s premier gospel jazz ensemble! This dynamic and inspirational instrumental and vocal ensemble led by award-winning Pittsburgh-based pianist, Dr. Alton Merrell, is known for dazzling audiences and uplifting hearts through faith-filled lyrics, inventive instrumental and vocal improvisations, and a diverse musical repertoire employing the musical styles of swing jazz, Afro-Cuban jazz, Latin jazz, traditional gospel, and contemporary gospel, to name a few.

About the Allegheny Overlook

The Allegheny Overlook (the “AO”) is a pop-up park located in Downtown Pittsburgh on Fort Duquesne Blvd between 7 th and Stanwix Street operating from June-September 2021. Produced by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP), the AO was created to support the safe return of performing arts into Downtown, and welcomes residents, workers, and visitors back into the heart of the city. Anchored by a full-time stage, it offers visitors expansive riverfront views, fresh food, drinks, live music, performances, art, and recreational activities in a park-like setting. The AO was developed with support from the City of Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, Duquesne Light, Pittsburgh Water & Sewer Authority, Flyspace Productions, Riverlife, and the Office of Public Art. For more information, visit www.AlleghenyOverlook.com or www.DowntownPittsburgh.com
The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has overseen one of Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations: turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners.  Founded in 1984, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of a 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called the Cultural District.  The District is one of the country’s largest land masses “curated” by a single nonprofit arts organization.  A major catalytic force in the city, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust is a unique model of how public-private partnerships can reinvent a city with authenticity, innovation and creativity.  Using the arts as an economic catalyst, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust has holistically created a world-renowned Cultural District that is revitalizing the city, improving the regional economy and enhancing Pittsburgh’s quality of life.  Thanks to the support of foundations, corporations, government agencies and thousands of private citizens, the Trust stands as a national model of urban redevelopment through the arts.
TrustArts.org | @CulturalTrust on Facebook · Instagram · Twitter