Our 2017-18 Concert Series Line-up!

Welcome to MCG Jazz’s 31st Season!

Click HERE to download our concert descriptions and our order form! 

MCG JAZZ 31st Season Lineup:

Arturo Sandoval: The Dear Diz Tour
Friday, September 22, 2017
Through his compositions from the most straight ahead jazz, Latin jazz or classical, Arturo Sandoval has proven himself as a prominent musician. This 10 time GRAMMY Award winner is one of the most brilliant and multifaceted musicians of our time.

Dee Dee Bridgewater Memphis
Friday, October 6, 2017
Few entertainers have ever commanded such depth of artistry in every medium than Dee Dee Bridgewater. Performing the lead in equally demanding acting/singing roles on Broadway and beyond, she secured her reputation as a consummate entertainer.

The Hot Sardines
Thursday, October 19, 2017
Fueled by the belief that classic jazz feeds the heart and soul, the Hot Sardines aim to make old sounds new again and prove that joyful music can bring people together in a disconnected world.

Earl Klugh
Friday, October 27, 2017
“I’ve always believed and found it to be true that most musicians play like their personalities. And I discovered that to be true of Earl…He played the guitar gracefully and kind and that’s how I found him to be as a person as well”. – Vince Gill

Django Festival All-Stars
Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Django Festival All-Stars bring the music of the great Gypsy jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt fully into the 21st Century.  Considered one of the greatest guitar players of all time and the first European jazz musician to make major contributions to the development of the jazz guitar genre, Reinhardt’s driving, swinging style became known as “Hot Jazz.”  The All-Stars pay tribute to Reinhardt and honor the traditions of “French Gypsy Jazz,” adding their own creative interpretations, arrangements, and original compositions with stunning virtuosity.

Led for many years by legendary guitarist and violist, Dorado Schmitt, this tour of the All-Stars will be the first time Schmitt and his two sons, Samson and Amati, will perform together in the United States.  Joining together with the great players to emerge from the successful Django Reinhardt New York Festival that began in 2000, virtuosos Ludovic Beier on accordion and Pierre Blanchard on violin, The Django Festival All-Starts are following in the footsteps of the Hot Jazz tradition of the 1930s and 1940s and moving it forward with original compositions.

The rareness of this performance heightens the appeal with the group only touring the United States twice a year for six days, appearing at such prestigious halls such as Rose Hall at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Disney Hall in Los Angeles, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, SFJAZZ and the Newport Jazz Festival.

You will swing along with the All-Starts and have your heart broken when they play a ballad; you will recall one of the greatest musical partnerships in European and jazz history when Django teamed up with jazz violist Stephane Grappelli to create the Quintette du Hot Club de France.  You will understand why the Wall Street Journal said of the Django Festival All-Stars, “…you’ll get a sense that the collective talent pool on the bandstand is larger than the Arc de Triomphe!”

Stacey Kent + Benny Benack III

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Stacey Kent is a jazz singer in the mold of the greats with honors including a GRAMMY® nomination, album sales approaching 2 million, Gold, Double-Gold and Platinum-selling albums that have reached a series of No. 1 chart positions during the span of her career.

Raised and schooled on the East Coast, this comparative literature graduate with a musical bent, travelled to Europe to further her studies. In 1990, through a series of twists of fate, she found herself in London where she enrolled in a graduate music program at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and where she met her future husband and musical collaborator, Jim Tomlinson.

With a catalog of 10 studio albums including the Platinum-selling, GRAMMY® Award-nominated Breakfast On The Morning Tram and an impressive list of collaborations, Stacey has graced the stages of more than 50 countries over the course of her career. Kent paid her dues in the jazz clubs of London, including the famed Ronnie Scott’s Cub, where she still performs every year. The Boy Next Door was Stacey’s first album to achieve Gold status.

Stacey has cemented her reputation as a singer capable of putting a distinctive stamp on an impressive repertoire of standards. With each successive album, Stacey’s style has become more honed as her artistic outlook has broadened. Stacey’s search for songs had led her to look beyond the Great American Songbook, with French chanson and Brazilian music forming an ever-larger part of her repertoire.

During a lunch with her husband and friend, and author, Kazuo Ishiguro, the conversation turned to repertoire and the idea was hatched to write a series of songs for Stacey that distilled themes of memory, travel and love. From this conversation, the songs for Breakfast On The Morning Tram were conceived and Stacey transformed from being a singer of the Great American Songbook to a singer with a highly distinctive and personal repertoire.

The album, The Changing Lights, revealed an ever-present influence of Brazil in Stacey’s music. Stacey first visited Brazil in 2008 when she was invited to perform at the TIM Festival. On subsequent visits to Brazil, she met many of her musical heroes, including Marcos Valle and Roberto Menescal. She has recorded with both Valle and Menescal having been invited to record with Valle to celebrate his 50 years in music on the album, Ao Vivo.

With Roberto Menescal, Stacey recorded the release, Tenderly, an intimate collection of standards that showcases her crystalline voice and Menescal’s warm guitar. Jazzwise Magazine referred to the album as “an extremely beautiful meeting of minds.” It is Menescal’s only recording as a jazz guitarist and demonstrates the debt he owes to the great Barney Kessel. As Kent’s first standards album in a decade, it shows her increasingly impressive and maturing interpretative gifts.

Following a successful concert series with the Bordeaux Symphony Orchestra, Stacey is planning an album for release this year on SONY.

We asked you to tell us which of your favorite new artists you would like to hear on the MCG Jazz stage and we have been able to arrange for one of those Pix this fall. Pittsburgh’s own Benny Benack III will be joining the program to celebrate the release of his first solo CD project. Benny now resides in New York City and travels the world as a soloist, leader and educator.

He is both a formidable, modern-minded trumpeter and an affable and expressive jazz singer, and these elements of his musical self are deeply and effortlessly intertwined. On One of a Kind, his debut release, Benack also reveals himself to be a wry and expressive songwriter and lyricist, bringing his boundless musical gifts together in a program that’s steeped in tradition but every bit as restlessly individual as his album title suggests.

Benack’s original compositions (both vocal and instrumental) paint a self-portrait in sound, honoring a legacy that stretches back to Benny Benack, Sr., his trumpeter/bandleader grandfather. Having grown up playing gigs with his father Benny, Jr., and absorbing influences from his classically trained vocal professor and mother Claudia, Benny III became the kind of player, writer and interpreter we hear today on One of a Kind: Benack comments, “I gravitated first to the legends of Tin Pan Alley. I find myself identifying not only with their timeless harmonic and melodic sensibilities, but also the whimsical charms of their musings on romance and melancholy. I would love for my songs to capture the essence of that magical Golden Era.”

Norman Brown’s Joyous Christmas with Bobby Caldwell and Marion Meadows
Saturday, December 16, 2017
The guitar styling’s of Norman Brown will be on display as he teams up with Bobby Caldwell and Marion Meadows to bring you a holiday celebration for the whole family.

The Birdland All-Stars featuring Tommy Igoe – The Art of Jazz

Saturday, January 27, 2018
The Birdland All-Stars have created new arrangements featuring the music of David Bowie and The Police, as well as Charlie Parker, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. Visual artist Jeremy Sutton will be touring with the group to create live art during the performance.

Steppin’ Out with Ben Vereen
Friday & Saturday, Feb. 9 & 10
Few entertainers today are as accomplished as Ben Vereen. His legendary performances transcend time and have been woven into the fabric of this country’s artistic legacy.

Mindi Abair and the Boneshakers with Bria Skonberg

Saturday, March 24, 2018
Two-time GRAMMY nominee Mindi Abair has made her mark as one of the most recognizable saxophonists in the US.  Bria Skonberg mixes worldly trumpet rhythms and contemporary songwriting ability to create a sophisticated pop sound.

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra:  Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald featuring Delores King Williams
Saturday, April 14, 2018
The Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra will come together with vocalist Delores King Williams, paying tribute to Ella’s Centennial with her vocal expertise.
* This show is off-site at the Hillman Center for Performing Arts


Co-presented by the Hillman Center for Performing Arts

Poncho Sanchez And His Latin Jazz Band
Saturday, April 21, 2018
For more than three decades, Poncho Sanchez has stirred up a fiery stew of straight ahead jazz, gritty soul music, and infectious melodies and rhythms from a variety of Latin American and South American sources.

Eliane Elias
Friday, May 4, 2018
Eliane Elias is known for her distinctive and immediately recognizable musical style which blends her Brazilian roots and sensuous, alluring voice with her virtuosic instrumental jazz, classical and compositional skills.  Elias celebrates 100 years of the Samba. “Samba is the most authentic and contagious dance rhythm of Brazil.”

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • When will I be charged for my package? – You will be charged immediately upon receipt of payment. Your order will not be processed until payment has been received in full.
  • When will I receive my tickets? –Subscriptions packages will be mailed beginning Monday, July 17. You also have the option of picking them up in person after that date. The box office is open Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm.
  • How can I send my order form in? – Orders can be mailed, emailed, faxed, or called into the box office. If you are mailing your order in, please address it to the attention of “Nick” or “Box Office”. If you are emailing your order, please send it to npesanka@manchesterbidwell.org . All of MCG Jazz’s contact information can be found at the top right corner of this order form.
  • What happens if I can’t make a concert date during the season? – We offer great flexibility if you cannot make a date during the season. You have the option to switch into any available concert in the current season, free of charge. However, your exchange will not be processed until we receive your unused tickets. You also have the option of donating your tickets back to MCG Jazz for a tax credit. You may also transfer your tickets to a guest. To do so, call the box office at least 24 hours before showtime.
  • How do I get a parking pass? – Parking passes are available to Platinum and Diamond Record Members only. If you require a handicap parking space, please contact the box office 24 hours before showtime