| AandE

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Miles Davis tribute mixes it up

Giacomo Gates Andrzej Pilarczyk

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Giacomo Gates

When: 7 p.m. July 21

Admission: $20

Where: James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy, North Side

Details: 412-322-0800 or for tickets. For dinner reservations: 412-904-3335 or

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Singer Giacomo Gates is having a good time with themes, but does not want to turn them into patterns.

His current album, “Miles Tones,” is a collection of Miles Davis hits, given lyrics by writers from Jon Hendricks to Al Jarreau. At gigs such as the one July 21 at the James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy on the North Side, he will do a number of songs from the album, but he does not restrict himself to them.

“We don't want to do the album and nothing else,” he says. “That would get kind of boring, show after show.”

At the same time, his past two albums have been theme-oriented and quite successful. “Miles Tones” spent four weeks at the top of jazz playlists earlier in 2013. His last album, “The Next Revolution Will Be Jazz,” is a homage to composer Gil Scott-Heron and was six weeks at the top in 2011.

Such popularity would supply a reason to focus on that music, but he would rather mix it up. He says creating a blend in performance “adds an element of spontaneity, and I always hate to see that disappear.”

Gates is well-known for creating a blend of music with his baritone. He is a classic jazz singer, often delving into long scat passages. His material most often comes from jazz standards, material from the Great American Songbook and show tunes.

He will be performing here with drummer Roger Humphries, guitarist Marty Ashby and bassist Tony DePaolis.

Gates often will create lyrics for instrumental tunes or use famous ones created by other performers, such as Eddie Jefferson. Gates says understanding the direction of a song is a necessity to writing appropriate words.

For instance, Davis' “Milestones” is a reference to markers, so why not do measurement-oriented words? He then came up with a reference to “yardsticks, meters, inches, liters,” and ways of measuring life.

“The lyrics can come from anywhere,” he says.

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at or 412-320-7852.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Music

  1. Photo gallery: Luke Bryan at First Niagara Pavilion
  2. Old Crow Medicine Show ‘Raise a Ruckus’ at Stage AE