ShareThis Page
Home

Bennett headlines downsized Mellon Jazz Festival

| Friday, April 12, 2002

The Mellon Jazz Festival is now a four-day event featuring eight acts, shrinking from 35 over six days last year and more than 40 in years past.

Emphasizing Mellon Financial Corp.'s "commitment to the community and to jazz," corporate chairman Martin McGuinn Thursday announced the festival's June 13-16 programs.

The lineup, featuring singer Tony Bennett and sax star Kenny Garrett, was offered in a lunchtime news conference at One Mellon Center, Downtown.

Speaking to the reduction in size of the festival, Rose M. Cotton, senior vice president and head of Mellon Corporate Affairs, said she is "not worried about possible negative reaction."

"We're a different company than we were a year ago," she said. "This makes sense for the community and for us as a company."

Mellon Financial last year sold its 345 banks — 120 in this area — to Citizens Financial Corp. of Providence, R.I.

The festival is different from what it was in the past years 15 of Mellon's sole stewardship. It features one concert at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, North Side, one at Heinz Hall, Downtown, and two free events at Point State Park, Downtown.

No longer part of the event:

  • Shows at clubs with performers such as Hugh Masakela, David "Fathead" Newman and David Sanchez.

  • Free concerts with avant-garde players such as Henry Threadgill or Anthony Braxton.

  • Concerts in sites in surrounding areas such as McKeesport, Hampton Township and South Park.

  • Lunchtime concerts Downtown.

    Dan Melnick, producer of the event from New York City's famed Festival Productions Inc., said those events were eliminated in an effort to be practical about producing shows that would draw good crowds.

    He said he believes the headliners of this event "all are leaders with a unique voice, whether singing or playing an instrument."

    Besides Garrett and Bennett, the event will feature pianist Geri Allen, organist Gene Ludwig, New Orleans singer Dr. John, singer Rene Marie, bassist Mark Perna and his band and the Pittsburgh Jazz Society Big Band.

    At the news conference, the festival's Mellon Jazz Community Award was presented to Tony Mowod, executive jazz producer at WDUQ-FM (90.5). Mowod is also the founder and president of the Pittsburgh Jazz Society.

    An event related to the festival will be April 27 and 28 with the Student Jazz Spectacular. In that event, high school students will study with jazz masters at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild and then perform the next day at the Byham Theater, Downtown.

    McGuinn said Mellon's "continuity and commitment" to the festival reflect Mellon's "communication campaign" to establish the nature of the current firm

    Melnick spoke well of that commitment, saying many festivals across the country have scaled back operations. Transportation had become more costly following last September's terrorist attacks, making touring a little more difficult, he said.

    "Overall, the business of event planning has really, really changed," he said. "It's a new world out there."

    Mellon Jazz Festival


    June 13
  • Pittsburgh Jazz Society Big Band. Noon. Free. One Mellon Center Plaza, Downtown.
  • Geri Allen, 8 p.m. $20. Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, North Side. (412) 392-0800.

    June 14

  • Tony Bennett, 8 p.m. $39.50, $52, $67, $82. Heinz Hall, Downtown. (412) 392-4900.

    June 15

  • Mark Perna, John Schmidt, Mike Sakash, Dave Turner with Eric Susoeff and Eric Defade, 5 p.m. Free. Point State Park, Downtown.
  • Gene Ludwig, following Perna band.
  • Dr. John, following Ludwig.

    June 16

  • Rene Marie, 6 p.m. Free. Point State Park, Downtown.
  • Kenny Garrett, following Marie.

    Details: Mellon Jazz Festival hotline: (412) 234-3275.

  • TribLIVE commenting policy

    You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

    We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

    While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

    We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

    We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

    We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

    We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

    We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

    click me