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Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild brings ‘true string of pearls’ for 30th anniversary

By Bob Karlovits / Pittsburgh Tribune Review

The Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild’s 30th season as a concert venue will present shows that celebrate Pittsburgh’s jazz legacy as well as the North Side site’s history.

Marty Ashby, executive producer of MCGJazz, says the series will bring back many popular artists from past seasons and present concerts focused on some of the area’s legends.

“The 30th anniversary is the pearl anniversary, and we think we have a true string of pearls, with no one being the same as another,” he says.

The season, which opens Sept. 23 with vocalist Bobby McFerrin, will feature some of the performers who have made the guild a home over the years.

For instance, pianist Monty Alexander will play in his trio with bassist John Clayton and drummer Jeff Hamilton. Alexander played in a trio in 1988 with bassist and Pittsburgh native Ray Brown and guitarist Herb Ellis.

The series also will feature such frequent visitors as Take 6, the Bob Mintzer Big Band, the Diva all-female big band, pianist Bob James, and the New York Voices.

It will have Pittsburgh-aimed concerts such as drummer Lewis Nash leading a concert in tribute to drummers Kenny Clarke and Art Blakey. That show also will feature Roger Humphries.

Bassist Rufus Reid will pay tribute to Ray Brown in a show with the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra

The season:

Sept. 23 and 24: Vocalist Bobby McFerrin

Oct. 7: Keyboardist Lao Tizer with guitarist Chiele Minucci, violinist Karen Briggs and saxophonist Eric Marienthal

Oct. 22: The Summit: Manhattan Transfer and Take 6

Oct. 29: Freddy Cole 85th Birthday Bash with singer Nnenna Freelon and saxophonist Joel Frahm

Nov. 19: Ramsey Lewis and Ann Hampton Callaway

Dec. 3: Monty Alexander Trio including John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton

Dec. 16: Guitarist John Pizzarelli and singer Jessica Molaskey holiday concert

Feb. 4: 30th anniversary Under 30 Celebration put together by trumpeter Etienne Charles

Feb. 10 and 11: Ray Brown Tribute with Rufus Reid, the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra and a bass choir

Feb. 25: Lewis Nash in Clarke-Blakey tribute

March 10 and 11, 2017: Diva with Ken Peplowski, Maurice Hines, Bobby Cranshaw and more

March 17: Joey Alexander Trio

March 31 and April 1: Bob Mintzer Big Band and the New York Voices

April 8: Bob James and Howard Paul with Benedetto Guitar’s “Future Stars”

April 21: 30th Anniversary All-Star Smooth Jazz Celebration with guitarists Peter While and Chuck Loeb, keyboardist Gregg Karukas and saxophonist Vincent Ingala

Single tickets, from $49.50 to $65, will go on sale Sept. 1. Packages are on sale now.

Details: 412-322-0800 or

See the original story here.