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PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL EXPANDED TO INCLUDE “D BYRD@90: TRIBUTE TO DONALD BYRD AND THE BLACKBYRDS” WITH MUSICAL DIRECTION BY SEAN JONES AND SPECIAL PERFORMANCES FEATURING GARY BARTZ, NATE SMITH, ENDEA OWENS, FRANK LACY, LOUIS CATO, BRETT WILLIAMS & THE DONALD BYRD CULTURAL FOUNDATION

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 is pleased to announce “D Byrd@90: Tribute to Donald Byrd and the Blackbyrds,” a special all-star tribute to the late, groundbreaking musician, composer, and educator Donald Byrd on Saturday, September 17, commissioned by the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival (PIJF) and conceptualized by Janis Burley Wilson. The musical director for the project is Sean Jones, 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,acclaimedjazz trombonist Frank Lacy,multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Louis Cato,Pittsburgh-born, New Zealand based pianist, Brett Williams, and surprise guests.  There will be aspecial 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 new 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 jazz event featuring tasting menus from some of Pittsburgh’s top restaurants and chefs alongside performances from Laurin Talese, Frank Lacy Quartet, Vanisha Gould Quartet, Brett Williams and friends, DJ Big Phil, 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, vocalist, Vanisha Gould, 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 winner 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. For full festival details and to purchase tickets please visit, https://pittsburghjazzfest.org/.

“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 performances by:

[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. Masks are highly recommended.  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://awaacc.org/


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Ticket Information:

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. 

Sponsors:

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, 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.


RON CARTER FOURSIGHT QUARTET, LEDISI, STANLEY CLARKE, SAMARA JOY, INCOGNITO WITH MAYSA LEAK AND MORE TO PERFORM AS PART OF AUGUST WILSON AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURAL CENTER’S PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL

SEPTEMBER 16-18, 2022

Lineup includes Average White Band, Buster Williams, Orrin Evans Trio, Aymée Nuviola with Gonzalo Rubalcaba and more 

April 26, 2022 – Pittsburgh, PA –The August Wilson African American Cultural Center (AWAACC) announced today its 2022 Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival (PIJF) presented by Citizens Bank. Taking place from September 16-18, 2022, the 12th annual festival will feature more than one hundred musicians, from award-winning legends to new and unique voices in jazz, funk, and fusion. The lineup includes the most recorded bassist in history, multi-Grammy winner Ron Carter; jazz fusion pioneer Stanley Clarke; soul funk icons, the Average White Band; award-winning vocalist and current phenom, Samara Joy; vocal storyteller and stylist, Vanisha Gould; award-winning pianist, Orrin Evans; innovator and cultural interpreter, trumpeter, Chief Adjuah (formerly Christian Scott); UK-based acid jazz favorites, Incognito featuring Maysa Leak, and many others, performing at August Wilson African American Culture Center (980 Liberty Avenue) and the Highmark Stadium (510 W. Station Square Drive) over the September 16-18 weekend. A full lineup of performances is available below with more artists to be added. The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival is curated by Janis Burley Wilson, AWAACC President & CEO and Artistic Director, who created the festival in 2011 and has built it into a signature program of the Center as well as an international tourism event for Pittsburgh. 

The Ron Carter Foursight will kick off the festival on Friday, September 16 at the August Wilson African American Cultural Center. On Saturday, September 17 and Sunday, September 18, PIJF will then move to Highmark Stadium for back-to-back performances by Stanley ClarkeIncognito featuring Maysa LeakLedisiAverage White BandBuster Williams & Something MoreMelissa AldanaVanisha GouldOrrin Evans TrioNate Smith + KINFOLKChief Adjuah (formerly Christian Scott), Aymée Nuviola and Gonzalo RubalcabaDan Wilson TrioSamara Joy featuring Pasquale Grasso TrioLaurin Talese, and more to be announced. AWAACC member and sponsor pre-sale tickets will be available on Saturday, April 30 at 10 a.m. ET, with general tickets on sale Monday, May 9 at 10 a.m. ET at pittsburghjazzfest.org. 

“Jazz is synonymous with Pittsburgh, being the home of innovators like Ray Brown, Art Blakey, George Benson, Mary Lou Williams, Ahmad Jamal, Stanley Turrentine, and Roger Humphries, so it was important for me to share this strong jazz lineage and invite jazz lovers ‘home’ to Pittsburgh for this annual festival,” said AWAACC President & CEO Janis Burley Wilson. “For more than a decade, the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival has been a highly anticipated weekend destination for music lovers and the most innovative jazz musicians in the world. For example, Ron Carter is celebrating his 85th birthday and still creating new music; while Vanisha Gould is making her distinctive mark and will be seen and heard for the first time in Pittsburgh at PIJF. People will be able to catch performances by their favorite artists and discover new interpretations of this music. We thank Citizens Bank, our additional sponsors, and Highmark Stadium, which has been a valued partner for the second year in a row.” 

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/. 

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Ticket Information: Pre-sale tickets for both the performance at AWAACC and the weekend of performances at Highmark Stadium are available to AWAACC members on April 30 at 10 a.m. ET, and tickets for non-members go on-sale starting May 9 at 12 p.m. ET at pittsburghjazzfest.org. For additional details and the complete festival lineup, please visit pittsburghjazzfest.org. 

Tickets for Ron Carter Foresight at AWAACC on Friday, September 16 start at $55. 

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. 

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. 

Sponsors

The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival would like to thank its sponsors, including Citizens Bank, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, UPMC, UPMC Health Plan, UPMC Center for Engagement and Inclusion and Flyspace Productions. Partners include JazzCorner, Downbeat Magazine, JazzTimes Magazine, The Westin Convention Center Hotel, Sheraton Station Square Hotel, the Pittsburgh International Airport, Drury Hotel, and others. 


AUGUST WILSON AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURAL CENTER ANNOUNCES ADDITIONAL ARTISTS FOR 11th ANNUAL PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL

SEPTEMBER 17-19, 2021

Featuring Chaka Khan, Dianne Reeves, Marcus Miller, Christian McBride, Branford Marsalis, Patrice Rushen, Gregory Porter, Jazzmeia Horn, and more

July 20, 2021 – Pittsburgh, PA – The August Wilson African American Cultural Center (AWAACC) announced today additions to the line-up, Con Alma Jam Sessions, Chaka Khan after party, and more for the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival (PIJF) presented by Citizens Bank. Taking place live, in- person, from September 17-19, 2021, the 11th annual festival includes newly announced jazz bassist and bandleader Christian McBride’s New Jawn; award-winning jazz pianist and composer Patrice Rushen & Friends; and three-time Grammy-winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis; who join the previously announced ten-time Grammy Award winner Chaka Khan; pre-eminent jazz vocalist Dianne Reeves; Grammy-winning instrumentalist, composer, and producer Marcus Miller, and many others. In partnership with Pittsburgh’s famed restaurant and jazz bar Con Alma (613 Penn Avenue), located in the Cultural District, AWAACC will offer an array of jam sessions throughout the weekend beginning at 10 p.m. until close as well as at host hotels throughout the city.

To ensure the health and safety of its audience, artists, and staff, the PIJF is a fully ticketed event. Tickets to Chaka Khan at the Benedum Center and performances at Highmark Stadium are available now at pittsburghjazzfest.org. AWAACC will also host the “Through the Fire” after party for Chaka Khan ticket holders, featuring live performances and other special offers at the Center on Friday, September 17 following the performance.

In addition to Chaka Khan; Dianne Reeves; Marcus Miller; Christian McBride’s New Jawn; Branford Marsalis; and Patrice Rushen & Friends, the updated festival line-up includes Grammy-winning vocalistGregory Porter; vocalistJazzmeiaHorn, winner of the 2015 Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition; two-time Edison Award-winning, trumpeter Christian Scott a Tunde Adjuah; jazz and R&B duo The Baylor Project; Pittsburgh native drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts, who has performed alongside Wynton Marsalis, Betty Carter and Alice Coltrane; Lakecia Benjamin, chosen as the “2020 Up and Coming Artist of the Year” by the Jazz Journalists Association; The Kenny Garrett Quintet, whose leader, saxophonist and composer Garrett, was a member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra and, most notably, a member of Miles Davis’s band.

In partnership with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, on Saturday, September 18 at 11 a.m. EST, the Center will present the world premiere of Jazz Time! A Musical for Children and Families on YouTube. Created and performed by local Pittsburgh talent, Jazz Time! introduces children to jazz music, tempo, melody and improvisation through an engaging story by Anqwenique Kinsel with music and lyrics by Douglas Levine, and will be available for viewing throughout the festival

In addition to late night jam sessions at Con Alma, various PIJF “Host Hotels” will offer jazz performances throughout the weekend. To learn more about the host hotels and limited available discounted rates, please visit https://pittsburghjazzfest.org/travel/.

The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival (PIJF) is curated by Janis Burley Wilson, AWAACC President & CEO, who created the festival in 2011 and has built it into its a signature program of the Center. For additional details and the complete festival lineup, please visit pittsburghjazzfest.org. The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival extends the non-profit AWAACC’s mission to celebrate Black culture and the African diaspora and highlights the Center as a leader in presenting programming that reflects the diversity of Pittsburgh and the nation. To learn more about the Center and its year-round activities, please visit https://aacc-awc.org/.

AWAACC, Highmark Stadium, and the Benedum Center are committed to the utmost safety of its patrons, artists, and staff, and there will be safety measures in place following federal, state, and local guidelines. Ticket buyers will receive a communication including all safety details closer to the event to ensure that all attendees have an enjoyable and healthy experience throughout the festival.

Ticket Information:

Tickets for all performances can be purchased at pittsburghjazzfest.org.

Tickets for Chaka Khan at the Benedum Center start at $55. One-day Jazz Fest passes for Saturday or Sunday are available starting at $40, and two-day Jazz Fest passes are available starting at $75 for performances taking place at Highmark Stadium. Jam sessions at Con Alma do not require tickets

Student one-day passes for $25 and two-day passes for $40 will be available for purchase in-person at the venue, as well as $10 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.

Sponsors:
The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival would like to thank its sponsors, including Citizens Bank, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, UPMC, UPMC Health Plan, UPMC Center for Engagement and Inclusion, and Flyspace Productions. Partners include JazzCorner, The Westin Convention Center Hotel, the Pittsburgh International Airport, Drury Hotel, Downbeat Magazine, JazzTimes Magazine, and others.


AUGUST WILSON AFRICAN AMERICAN CULTURAL CENTER ANNOUNCES PATTI LABELLE TO HEADLINE THE 9TH ANNUAL PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL
PRESENTED BY CITIZENS BANK JUNE 20-23, 2019

Patti Labelle

The weekend of June 20-23, 2019 is the 9th annual Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival presented by Citizens Bank. As a signature program of the August Wilson African American Cultural Center (AWAACC) the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival (PIJF) is curated and directed by Janis Burley Wilson, the President & CEO of the AWAACC, who created and directed the jazz fest since its founding in 2011. The festival is a combination of free outdoor concerts and ticketed shows inside the August Wilson African American Cultural Center. This year, PIJF will be headlined by the incomparable Patti Labelle.

“The legendary Patti LaBelle in the intimate setting of our theater will be a one of a kind experience.”- Janis Burley Wilson

Burley Wilson says, “The Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival explores Funk in many forms this year; from Butcher Brown to WAR, and Black Women Rock Coalition’s tribute to Betty Davis to Stanley Clarke Band. The program will appeal to a broad base of music fans, while we stay true to our jazz roots, and funk things up a bit. We aim to please our devoted jazz fest attendees and attract even more jazz lovers from around the world. The team at the African American Cultural Center is committed to the continued growth and success of this dynamic festival that is a celebration of joy and unity through jazz.”

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THE 8TH ANNUAL PITTSBURGH INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL PRESENTED BY CITIZENS BANK HAS A NEW HOME AND MOST HIGHLY ANTICIPATED LINE UP TO DATE
June 15-17, 2018

The weekend of June 15-17, 2018, marks a pivotal milestone for the 8th annual Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival presented by Citizens Bank. As a signature program of the African American Cultural Center at the newly relaunched August Wilson Center, the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival will continue to be helmed by Janis Burley Wilson, the new president & CEO of the AACC, who created and directed the jazz fest since its founding in 2011. With her new appointment, she plans to make changes to the footprint and to expand the festival format. Burley Wilson says, “The new name, new venue, and expanded program will please our devoted jazz fest attendees and attract even more jazz lovers from around the world. The team at the African American Cultural Center is committed to the continued growth and success of this dynamic festival that is a celebration of joy and unity through jazz. ”

The festival moves to Liberty Avenue to take advantage of the wider street and closer proximity to the August Wilson Center. In addition, the festival will feature more educational opportunities that include master classes and artist talks throughout the weekend. On June 15th, the popular free JazzFest Crawl throughout downtown Pittsburgh features regional jazz artists performing from 5:30-9:00pm. An opening night ticketed concert with mega jazz star Marcus Miller kicks off the festival with a concert at the August Wilson Center at 7:00pm. After the concert, the Taste of Jazz party at the August Wilson Center will feature diverse live music performances; salsa, jazz, classic R & B and solo piano performances throughout the building with over 17 restaurants serving tasty samples for attendees holding tickets for the event. The evening concludes with the legendary jam sessions led by featured festival musicians.

The Pittsburgh Jazz Festival line up includes: Marcus Miller, Gregory Porter, Shemekia Copeland, Kenny Garrett, Polly Gibbons, Terri Lyne Carrington, Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles, Emmet Cohen with special guest, Tootie Heath, Donny McCaslin, Pedrito Martinez, Miguel Zenon, Jose Alberto, Ambrose Akinmusire, Orrin Evans, Noel Quintana, DJ Selecta, the University of Pittsburgh Jazz Ensemble and more

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DownBeat Magazine: Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival Builds on the City’s History

Pittsburgh’s contributions to the jazz firmament stretch from seminal figures like Roy Eldridge, Kenny Clarke and Earl “Fatha” Hines to modern-day luminaries like Geri Allen, Steve Nelson and Jeff “Tain” Watts. But as the 21st century dawned, the onetime Steel City lacked a major jazz festival.

That began to change one day in 2009, when Janis Burley Wilson, then an executive with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, met with trumpeter Sean Jones, drummer Roger Humphries and bassist Dwayne Dolphin for a barbecue at Dolphin’s Pittsburgh-area home. Jazz advocates all, they cooked up a plan and two years later, the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival was born.

“We have a great legacy and history here,” Burley Wilson said. “It was the right time to do it.”

The inaugural event in 2011 was conceived along the lines of the Detroit International Jazz Festival, but on a smaller scale. “We wanted to make sure the festival had a certain vibe—energetic, easily accessible and free,” said Jones, then a professor at Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University.

That vibe persists. At this year’s event, now called the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival (June 15–17), the bulk of the action will take place on three outdoor stages near Liberty Avenue. Though the staging area will be more spacious than last year’s location, near Penn Avenue and 9th Street, about 20,000 people are expected to pack the streets to hear the music—for free.

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Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Marcus Miller to open the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival

Marcus Miller, the jazz composer and recording artist best known as an electric bassist, will headline the opening-night concert of the eighth annual Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, at the August Wilson Center and outdoors on Liberty Avenue, Downtown, June 15-17.

Among those scheduled to perform are Gregory Porter, Shemekia Copeland, Kenny Garrett, Polly Gibbons, Terri Lyne Carrington, Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles, Emmet Cohen with special guest, Tootie Heath, Donny McCaslin, Pedrito Martinez, Miguel Zenon and Jose Alberto, Ambrose Akinmusire, Orrin Evans, Noel Quintana, DJ Selecta, the University of Pittsburgh Jazz Ensemble and more.

Janis Burley Wilson, the new president and CEO of the African American Cultural Center at the AWC, created the former JazzLive festival in 2011 and directed it during her tenure at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. She brought it with her to her new job and considers the festival to be a signature program of the center.

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Visit Pittsburgh: You don’t have to be a seasoned Jazz musician to love one of Pittsburgh’s coolest and funkiest summer festivals

Join us June 15-17, for the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival presented by Citizens Bank, when Downtown Pittsburgh is transformed into a huge jazz club complete with jam sessions, beer gardens, and concerts that will keep you vibing all weekend long. With laid-back and intimate settings for some of the most highly anticipated Pittsburgh jazz performances of the year, it’s an event you won’t want to miss.

The two days of the Jazz Festival are jam-packed with music, food, and good fun. Between free and ticketed events at the August Wilson Center and beyond, the festival will feature master classes, artist talks, as well as concerts from over 140 local and international artists including Marcus Miller, Shemekia Copeland, Kenny Garrett, Polly Gibbons, Terri Lyne Carrington, Cory Henry & the Funk Apostles, Noel Quintana, DJ Selecta, the University of Pittsburgh Jazz Ensemble and much more.

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JAZZIZ Festival Guide: 8th Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, June 15-17

The 8th annual Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, formerly known as Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival, returns to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the weekend of June 15-17.

This year, the event will move to Liberty Avenue to take advantage of the wider street and closer proximity to Pittsburgh’s African American Cultural Center at the newly relaunched August Wilson Center. Janis Burley Wilson, who created and directed the festival since its founding in 2011, was appointed as the Center’s new president and CEO, and an official news release states that she plans to make changes to the footprint and to expand the festival format with her new appointment.

“The new name, new venue, and expanded program will please our devoted jazz fest attendees and attract even more jazz lovers from around the world,” Burley Wilson says. “The team at the African American Cultural Center is committed to the continued growth and success of this dynamic festival that is a celebration of joy and unity through jazz.”

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