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Sweetwater jazz series set to kick off in Sewickley

Kevin McManus’ Pittsburgh Trombone Project will perform a tribute to J.J. Johnson and Kai Winding, prominent trombonists of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s, during Sweetwater Center for the Arts’ Sweet Jazz Series.

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What: Clearview Federal Credit Union and Sweetwater Center for the Arts' Sweet Jazz Series

When: 7-9 p.m. every Friday, starting Feb. 7

Where: Sweetwater Center for the Arts, 200 Broad St., Sewickley

Cost: $15 in advance; $18 the day of event for members and $20 in advance and $25 the day of the event for nonmembers; $50 for members and $62 for nonmembers for all four concerts

Includes: Hors d'oeuvres and wine in Sweetwater's night-club setting

Other concerts in the series will feature Roger Humphries, an internationally recognized jazz percussionist, Feb. 14; Spanky Wilson, internationally acclaimed vocalist, Feb. 21; and Howie Alexander, Emmy-award winning pianist, Feb. 28.

'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.

By Joanne Barron
Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014, 6:15 p.m.

Kevin McManus wants to change the image of the trombone.

The founder of the Pittsburgh Trombone Project, a band that will perform the first concert of Sweetwater Center for the Arts' 10th annual Sweet Jazz Series Feb. 7, said the trombone can be a wonderful instrument when it comes to jazz music.

The band will perform a tribute to J.J. (James Louis) Johnson and Kai Winding — prominent trombonists from the 1950s through the 1970s, who first began to use the trombone as a jazz instrument and were the first ones to “put the trombone in the spotlight,” McManus said.

“It's more than marching music and circus clown music,” he said.

“We want to change that humorous image and show people it can play beautiful melodies.”

The Swissvale resident said he founded the band five years ago. The core group includes McManus; Bob Matchette of Cranberry; Chris Carson of Donora; and James Nova of Ohio Township, all of whom play the trombone.

McManus said the group has branched out to include a rhythm section used at certain venues, such as Sweetwater.

The larger group includes McManus and Matchette, and Tom Glovier of the North Side on piano; Bob Insko, Vandergrift, bass player; and David Glover, Cranberry, drummer.

McManus, an award-winning trombonist who started lessons in 1992, has founded several bands; teaches a variety of musical instruments at several universities; has written and arranged music for other groups; toured nationally and on Broadway in the show “Urinetown: the Musical”; and performed solo in Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera's “Swing.”

Among the musicians he has performed with include Aretha Franklin, Glen Campbell, Tony Bennett, the Four Tops and Josh Groban. The other members of the band — all in their 30s and early 40s — also have extensive musical histories and music educations.

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