Pittsburgh’s preeminent Jazz Festival to include A Taste of Jazz featuring food from the City’s most innovative eateries following performance from Ron Carter Foursight at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center
August 8, 2022 – Pittsburgh, PA – The August Wilson African American Cultural Center (AWAACC) is pleased to announce “D Byrd@90: Tribute to Donald Byrd and the Blackbyrds,” a special, one-night-only, all-star tribute to the late, groundbreaking musician, composer, and educator Donald Byrd on Saturday, September 17 as part of and commissioned by the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival (PIJF) and conceptualized by AWAACC President and CEO Janis Burley Wilson. Sean Jones serves as musical director for the project, with an evening featuring Grammy Award-winning saxophonist Gary Bartz, who played on many of Donald Byrd’s hits, Grammy Award nominated drummer Nate Smith, bassist and band member of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Endea Owens, acclaimed jazz trombonist Frank Lacy, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Louis Cato, Pittsburgh-born, New Zealand based pianist Brett Williams, and surprise guests. There will be a special appearance from Donald Byrd III, the President of the Donald Byrd Cultural Foundation and former Blackbyrd, Keith Killgo. D Byrd@90 pays homage to the American jazz, soul and funk trumpeter, vocalist and influential educator ahead of what would have marked his 90th birthday.
Next year, 2023, will be the 50th anniversary of the Blackbyrds, Donald Byrd’s groundbreaking band comprised of his students from Howard University, where he was a music professor. Donald Byrd III says, “The Byrd family is honored that the PIJF is paying tribute to my father as we approach his 90th birthday. If my father was still alive, you would be hearing from him the latest genre of Black music. Before he transitioned, he was working with rappers like Guru and others. My father was always staying on the cusp of what is new and what is next.”
The all-star performances join the previously released lineup, including emerging vocal sensation Samara Joy, Grammy-awarded jazz artist Stanley Clarke, timeless funk collective Average White Band, among others. AWAACC is also expanding the festival’s opening night program to include A Taste of Jazz, a culinary event featuring tasting menus from some of Pittsburgh’s top restaurants and chefs alongside performances from the Laurin Talese Duo, Frank Lacy Quartet, Vanisha Gould Quartet, Brett Williams and friends, with jam sessions led by Orrin Evans. Launching Friday, September 16 at AWAACC (980 Liberty Avenue), PIJF will kick off with a performance by legendary session bassist Ron Carter and his band the Ron Carter Foursight, after which audiences are invited to step into a Taste of Jazz happening throughout the beautiful August Wilson African American Cultural Center.
On September 17 and 18, the festival will the move to Highmark Stadium (510 W. Station Square Drive) for two days brimming with jazz performances by artists from UK-based acid jazz collective, Incognito featuring Maysa Leak, Grammy award-winning vocalist and actress Ledisi, prodigious bassist Buster Williams with his group Something More, saxophonist Melissa Aldana, Nate Smith performing with KINFOLK, trumpeter and cultural innovator Chief Adjuah (formerly Christian Scott), Grammy and Latin Grammy-winning duo Aymée Nuviola and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Letter One Rising Star Award-winning guitarist Dan Wilson Quartet, and more. The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival is curated by Janis Burley Wilson, AWAACC President & CEO and Artistic Director, who created the festival in 2011.
“Jazz music is passed down through storytelling and teaching; at PIJF we try to incorporate that sharing into our program, and the Donald Byrd tribute is a perfect example of importance of legacy in our culture. At the August Wilson African American Cultural Center our mission is accomplished with art forms that celebrate the power of the griot, the storyteller and keeper of history.” states Janis Burley Wilson, AWAACC President & CEO/Artistic Director.
In addition to the upcoming Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, AWAACC also launches Uhuru Jazz Sessions this fall. Named for the Swahili word that translates to “freedom,” it pays homage to jazz as the embodiment of freedom: improvisation, discovery, liberation, and promise. Supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Uhuru Jazz Sessions features monthly performances by:
- Saxophonist, composer, and member of Beyoncé’s all-female touring band, Tia Fuller, on November 12, 2022
- Jazz violinist and Doris Duke Award winner Regina Carter on December 14, 2022
- Jazz singer and songwriter Vanisha Gould on February 10, 2023
- Vocalist Georgia Anne Muldrow on June 22, 2023
[UPDATED COVID-19 POLICY:] The August Wilson African American Cultural Center no longer requires proof of a vaccination to enter the Center or any sponsored events. To find out more about AWAACC’s COVID-19 policy, please follow this link.
The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival presented by Citizens supports the AWAACC mission to celebrate African American culture and the African diaspora. The AWAACC is a leading presenter across genres. To learn more about the Center and its year-round activities, please visit https://aacc-awc.org/.
Tickets for Ron Carter Foursight at the AWAACC on Friday, September 16 start at $55, and are available for purchase here. Tickets for A Taste of Jazz, starting at $47.25, are available for purchase here.
One-day Jazz Fest passes for Saturday or Sunday are available starting at $45, and two-day Jazz Fest passes are available starting at $85 for performances taking place at Highmark Stadium. For more details, and to purchase tickets, please follow this link.
Student one-day passes for $30 and two-day passes for $55 will be available for purchase in-person at the venue, as well as $12 tickets for children (ages 4-12) and free Lap Passes for children under 3. These tickets must be purchased in person at the Highmark Stadium box office.
The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival would like to thank its sponsors, including Citizens, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, UPMC, UPMC Health Plan, UPMC Center for Engagement and Inclusion, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Advanced Auto Parts, P&W Motors, Xfinity, Allegheny County Airport Authority, AARP, River’s Casino, the Wilson Group and the Libation sponsor, Bacardi. Partners include JazzCorner, Downbeat Magazine, JazzTimes Magazine, Flyspace Productions, Adda Coffee, Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey and others. A special thank you to the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival and Highlight Blues and Heritage Festival special media sponsor, The Comcast Corporation.
To see a full list of PIJF’s artist line up, complete with bios and images, please click here.
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ABOUT AUGUST WILSON AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURAL CENTER
The August Wilson African American Cultural Center is a non-profit cultural organization located in Pittsburgh’s cultural district that generates artistic, educational, and community initiatives that advance the legacy of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson. One of the largest cultural centers in the country focused exclusively on the African American experience and the celebration of Black culture and the African diaspora, the non-profit organization welcomes more than 119,000 visitors locally and nationally. Through year-round programming across multiple genres, such as the annual Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, Black Bottom Film Festival, AWCommunity Days, TRUTHSayers speaker series, and rotating art exhibits in its galleries, the Center provides a platform for established and emerging artists of color whose work reflects the universal issues of identity that Wilson tackled and which still resonate today.
August Wilson African American Cultural Center