Uptown Jazz Series to Feature Genre’s History, Including Numbers by Pittsburghers

The Mary Pappert School of Music's Uptown Jazz Series (UJS) returns to the Bluff for a special season that will explore and showcase the music of specific eras in jazz history.

Focusing on the theme The Evolution of Jazz, this year's six-concert UJS series will feature a core group of Duquesne University music school faculty members and special guest performers under the direction of Mike Tomaro, who developed the theme.

"This concept has always been in the back of my mind and our Uptown Jazz series is a perfect vehicle for it," explained Tomaro, professor of jazz studies, jazz saxophone and composition in the music school.

The concerts will progress in chronological order, according to Tomaro. The kick-off concert-scheduled for Monday, Sept. 11, at 7:30 p.m. in the Genesius Theater-will feature the music of the Dixieland and Swing eras.

"This is a bit of a challenge considering how much great music came from these two eras, but I decided to put them together so that we could progress through the entirety of jazz history in six concerts," said Tomaro, who will also perform on saxophone during each concert. "Each performance will contain significant music from the era as well as a little bit of lecturing to give context to the music and its progression."

The core group of musicians in the UJS are Duquesne music school adjunct professors Joe Badacewski on trumpet, Jeff Bush on trombone, Max Leake on piano, Paul Thompson on bass and Tom Wendt on drums. "These gentlemen are some of the best jazz performers and educators in the country who happen to reside in the Pittsburgh area," said Tomaro. "Some special guests during the series will include guitarist Mark Koch, another one of our outstanding jazz faculty, and our first concert will feature clarinetist Paul Cosentino, leader of the Boilermaker Jazz Band-a great traditional group that is a Pittsburgh institution."

Each concert will also feature at least one song made famous by prominent Pittsburghers in jazz history, such as Rosetta by Earl "Fatha" Hines, Take the A Train by Billy Strayhorn and Stanley Turrentine's Sugar.

General admission is $10 for each concert. For more information, visit www.duq.edu/UptownJazz.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

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