The 2017 Monroeville Jazz Festival Monroeville Jazz Festival will hold its 15th anniversary festival on Saturday August 19, 2017 at the Tall Trees Amphitheater in Monroevillle Community Park West.
The opening act begins at 4:30 PM with The Funky Fly Project, a funk and jazz group out of Pittsburgh, PA consisting of Winston Bell, Henry Schultz, Brandon Terry, and Eric Dowdell Jr. A powerful combination of skill and virtuosic playing, you would never know by listening that each member is still in high school.
The complex sound of the Funky Fly Project is made up of four equal yet distinguishing parts, Winston Bell on saxophone, Henry Schultz on keys, Brandon Terry on drums, and Eric Dowdell Jr on bass guitar.
The local headliner begins at 6 PM with a well-known locally based performer, Etta Cox. Etta, originally from St. Joseph, Missouri, has appeared on Broadway in “I LOVE MY WIFE”, with Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs, the “1940’s RADIO HOUR” with Dee Dee Bridgewater, as well as the starring role in Showtime’s production of “THE ME NOBODY KNOWS”. Locally she has appeared in the Pittsburgh Public Theaters’ “MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM”, City Theaters’ productions of “FROM THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA”, “SPUNK, AVENUE X” and “CROWNS”. She is well remembered for her starring roles in Ken Gargaro’s production of “BEEHIVE” and the Shakespeare Festival’s “TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA”. Her film career started in 1985 with “SILENT WITNESS”, starring Valerie Bertinelli and John Savage, “LADY BEWARE”, with Diane Lane and Michael Woods, “CRIMINAL JUSTICE” with Jennifer Grey and Forrest Whitaker, “BUMP IN THE NIGHT” with Meredith Baxter and Christopher Reeves and “THE CEMETERY CLUB” with Ellen Burstyn and Danny Aiello, “WARRIOR” starring Nick Nolte and “THE NEXT THREE DAYS” with Russell Crowe.
Etta Cox has been voted “Best Jazz Vocalist” in Pittsburgh for 8 consecutive years and has received the Harry Schwalb Award for Excellence in the Arts , was selected as one of the 25 MOST POWERFUL WOMEN IN PITTSBURGH by Pittsburgh Magazine , voted Performer of the Year by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, received Talk Magazine’s 2008 Walt Harper All that Jazz Award, 2001Arts and Letters Award from the YWCA and Lifetime Achievement Award from Covenant Church on the Hill for 2008.
The national headliner begins at 7:30 PM with the return of Tony DeSare and his group. Tony DeSare is a Grammy award nominee, a jazz singer, pianist and songwriter. He has performed throughout the United States, as well as in Australia, Japan and Hong Kong. He continues to perform all over the world in theaters, jazz clubs and with symphony orchestras. His original songs have been featured in the 20th Century Fox film “THE TOOTH FAIRY”, and the 2005 Indie hit “MY DATE WITH DREW”.
DeSare's 2007 recording, “LAST FIRST KISS”, includes a contemporary combination of originals and standards, from Prince's "KISS and Carole King's "I FEEL THE EARTH MOVE" to classics like "YOU’D BE SO NICE TO COME HOME TO"" and Sammy Kahn/Jimmy VanHeusen’s "COME ON STRONG". "The album also features guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli, a horn section, and sidemen Mike Lee on bass and Brian Czach on drums. The album was featured on NPR's “WEEKEND EDITION SATURDAY”. DeSare has three top ten Billboard jazz albums under his belt and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, NPR, A Prairie Home Companion, the Today Show and his music has been posted by social media celebrity juggernaut, George Takei.
DeSare launched an international tour with three weeks at the Algonquin Hotel's Oak Room in New York City, two weeks in London, then continuing on to cities such as Los Angeles, Boston, Washington DC, Seattle, St. Louis and Palm Beach. "LET’S JUST STAY IN", one of the CD's original songs, was featured in the 20th Century Fox film “THE TOOTH FAIRY”.
DeSare has performed at major jazz rooms such as Birdland and the Bluenote with his quartet; nightclubs including the Café Carlyle and Feinstein's at the Regency; with his big band in concert halls like Jazz at Lincoln Center; or with a 60-piece orchestra. For the 2009-2010 season DeSare headlined major symphonies around the country. In February 2010, Tony headlined his first show with a major symphony orchestra in Indianapolis.
Shortly after moving to New York City in 1999, DeSare was cast as the star of the long-running Off-Broadway musical “OUR SINATRA”. In the fall of 2002, DeSare performed at the Apollo Theater where he first met jazz guitar icon Bucky Pizzarelli. Since then, Pizzarelli has continued to perform with DeSare's band around the country. DeSare was also featured in New York TV personality Bill Bogg’s off Broadway show “TALK SHOW CONFIDENTIAL” at the John Houseman Theater
The festival is free, with free parking on site. Food and beverages will be available from several food trucks at the event.
Thanks to partners: Epilepsy Foundation of Western & Central Pennsylvania. They will be collecting donations and passing out their helpful literature.