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McCali Manor hosts Kenny Blake

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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

When looking for an idea for weekly entertainment, Jane Altman, the proprietor of McCali Manor on the Diamond in Mt. Pleasant, decided to tap into the interests of jazz music.

She sought out legendary saxophonist Kenny Blake to fit the bill.

Blake of Murrysville is well known in the industry and has played for decades at venues across the nation.

Altman -- also a Murrysville resident -- recently contacted the artist to inquire if he was available to play on a weekly basis.

"I've been looking for something to do for entertainment," Altman said. "You look everywhere and everyone has bands. I went to Pittsburgh to see some jazz and thought, 'Pittsburgh used to be such a big jazz town and its reviving a bit now.' It was just a matter of good timing."

After speaking with Altman, Blake was happy to bring his trio to Mt. Pleasant.

"The people here have been absolutely lovely," Blake said. "They have been just wonderful and it's great to see that they enjoy this style of music."

Blake now performs every Thursday night, except for the third Thursday of the month, and has proved to be a hit.

"We get a good crowd and, of course, some weeks there are more here then others," Altman said.

Blake starts to play around 7:30 and usually plays to 11 p.m. -- if not later.

"We had a really good crowd in here one week and he (Blake) was really enjoying it," Altman said. "He played until almost midnight that week."

In addition to Blake, Altman now also features guitarist Fred Adams of Uniontown every Friday.

While listening to the entertainment, customers can enjoy drinks and also order anything on the facility's full menu.

Altman said when the weather warms she may move the trio out to her front patio area for some outside entertainment.

For now, Blake and his small band will remain indoors, where they plan to continue bringing their wonderful classic jazz to his many fans.

"I enjoy coming here," Blake said. "Just like I tell everyone. The Beatles went out on the road and Duke Ellington went on the road. It's great to go to the different pockets of the area."

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