The Smithsonian National Museum of American History has been celebrating April as Jazz Appreciation month for more than 10 years. It's become a national celebration, and Pittsburgh has been involved since the beginning. This year, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust chose one of their signature Jazz Appreciation Month events (last night at the Cabaret at Theater Square before the Gregory Porter Concert) to announce the line-up for something that has been attracting national and international attention.
The second annual Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival (PJLIF) returns to downtown Pittsburgh's Cultural District in early June for an expanded weekend of music, art and celebration.
Janis Burley-Wilson, vice president and director of jazz with the Cultural Trust, said the artists and the event have an impact on downtown businesses and draw attention to the city.
"The three-day event — June 1, 2 and 3 — runs concurrently and in cooperation with the 3 Rivers Arts Festival. It combines a celebration of the city's rich jazz heritage with Pittsburgh's growing reputation as a center for art and culture in the 21st century," said Burley-Wilson.
She calls it a "big, beautiful festival" with 240 musicians in 72 hours.
"It's going to be phenomenal. We have national and internationally renowned artists performing on outdoor stages," said Burley-Wilson. "Monty Alexander, the Clayton brothers, Fort Apache, Layla Hathaway, Dave Budway, Average White Band, Sean Jones — it's just too many to name, and then over 150 local musicians."
Burley-Wilson said the theme of the event is family.
"Jazz appreciation is passed down through the generations. Pittsburgh has families of musicians who have been trailblazers in jazz and who carry on the deep tradition and respect for the music. There will be a number of families performing in this festival: brothers, sisters, children of important jazz figures in Pittsburgh," said Burley-Wilson.
The outdoor events are free.