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Pitt Jazz Week Jan 24-29 to Honor Pianist Erroll Garner


The virtual event will feature performances by Pitt jazz students and faculty, a symposium on musician rights and more.

Pitt Jazz Week Jan 24-29 to Honor Pianist Erroll Garner

The sounds of jazz will return to the University of Pittsburgh main campus January 24 through 29, 2022, for the 51st Annual Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert. The virtual event will feature performances by Pitt jazz students and faculty, a symposium on musician rights, a virtual tour of the Erroll Garner Archive housed at Pitt, and a concert performance showcasing critically acclaimed pianist Orrin Evans with Pittsburgh-based musicians.

All events are free and offered online to the public and the Pitt community.

The music, performances and discussions will focus on the late Pittsburgh legend Erroll Garner (1921-1977), who penned the popular jazz standard "Misty," and who, after wowing audiences with performances on riverboats and at The Hurricane in the Hill District, left Pittsburgh in his twenties for a successful career in New York City.

Pitt's Jazz Studies Program Director Nicole Mitchell states: "Erroll Garner is not only a Pittsburgh icon, but he's an incredible jazz legend who forever changed the scene through his infectious style, deeply embedded with melodically virtuosic swing. The University of Pittsburgh is blessed to hold his archive which contains crucial insights to his music and the journey of his career." Last June, the Erroll Garner Foundation celebrated Garner's 100th year by releasing three new recordings.

Because of the pandemic, all Jazz Week events are online. Performances will be streamed on Pitt's Music@Pitt YouTube channel.

Pitt Jazz Week 2022 events include:

Monday, Jan. 24

8 p.m.

Online at

Kickoff performances by the student-based Pitt Jazz Ensemble as well as by Pitt graduate student pianists Samuel Boateng and Irene Monteverde.

Wednesday, Jan. 26

7 p.m.

Register Online at

"Jazz Talk," the podcast of Pitt Jazz Studies Director Nicole Mitchell, will feature an episode on Erroll Garner with comments from guest pianist Orrin Evans and Irene Monteverde, a Pitt jazz PhD student pianist whose dissertation focuses on Garner. There will also be a 15-minute virtual tour of the Erroll Garner Archives at Pitt, which the University Library System acquired in 2015.

Thursday, Jan. 27

Musicians Rights Symposium

Register Online at

Part 1: 1-2:30 p.m.

A panel discussion on musician's rights, including the difficult terrain musicians must travel to secure ownership of their own music. Panelists include:

Michael Heller, Pitt associate professor of music

Aaron J. Johnson, Pitt assistant professor of music

Tina Rivers Ryan, art historian with expertise in media art

Anjali Vats, associate professor at Pitt Law

Matthew Garrison, jazz bassist with his own record label: Garrison Jazz

Part 2: 3-4 p.m.

Keynote presentation titled "The Liberation of Erroll Garner: A Conversation about Music, Money, and Power" by Robin D. G. Kelley, the Gary B. Nash Professor of American History at UCLA, who has knowledge of Garner's own problems with artistic rights. Garner and his manager, Martha Glaser, sued Columbia Records in the late 1950s in an attempt for Garner to start his own record label, virtually unheard of at that time. Garner and Glaser were ultimately successful.

Friday, Jan. 28

7 p.m.

Online at

Jazz Faculty Showcase

Members of the Pitt Jazz Studies Program faculty who will be performing Garner compositions include: Frank Cunimondo, piano; Jeff Grubbs, bass; Ralph Guzzi, trumpet; Aaron J. Johnson, trombone; James Johnson Jr, piano; James Johnson III, drums; Nicole Mitchell, flute; Kenneth Powell, saxophone; Mark Strickland, guitar; and Yoko Suzuki, saxophone.

Saturday, Jan. 29

7 p.m.

Online at

2022 Pitt Jazz Collaborative Concert

Live performance by Orrin Evans, Jeff Grubbs, James Johnson III and Nicole Mitchell.

About Orrin Evans

For more than two decades, Philadelphia-based Yamaha pianist Orrin Evans has made an art form of the unexpected. With more than 25 albums to his credit without ever relying on the support of a major label, Evans has become the model of a fiercely independent artist who has made a habit of rattling the jazz world's confining cages. Evans topped the "Rising Star Pianist" category in the 2018 DownBeat Critics Poll and has two Grammy nominations.

As a daring pianist, Evans combines raw-edged vigor and left-field nuance into a sound wholly his own. As an adventurous composer, he traverses stylistic boundaries with abandon. As an audacious bandleader, he delights in daring fellow musicians to take bold risks, whether in mutable small group settings or his raucous Captain Black Big Band. As an inventive collaborator, his projects range from the collective trio Tarbaby to the guitar/piano duo project Eubanks-Evans-Experience and the Brazilian project Terreno Comum.

The Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert, founded by the late Jazz Studies Program Director Nathan Davis, was the first academic jazz seminar in the country to feature International Artists connecting with aspiring student musicians in a lecture format, then performing together as an ensemble.

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