10 Years and Growing: City of Asylum’s Jazz Poetry Concert

City of Asylum/Pittsburgh Jazz Poetry ConcertCity of Asylum Pittsburgh (COAP) is proud to host the 10th annual Jazz Poetry Concert on Saturday, September 6, 2014 from 7:45 until 9:45 pm. Because of its growth over the past decade, the annual North Side event will take place, rain or shine, in a new location – under a tent in Allegheny Commons Park near the National Aviary.

This year’s concert will feature an array of talent and reunite many audience favorites from past years, including the Oliver Lake Big Band, Gerald Stern, Kei Miller and TJ Dema. A new guest is Ali Cobby Eckermann from aboriginal Australia.

COAP’s Jazz Poetry Concert was initially conceived as a one-time celebration of poetry and music, a way for the nonprofit to introduce writers-in-residence to the community. The first concert was held outdoors on Sampsonia Way in Allegheny City Central, as have the concerts that followed.

Henry Reese, COAP co-founder and president, says that he never anticipated how the concert would take off.

“The first year, we expected it to be a one-off, as a way to introduce poet Huang Xiang,” he explains. “But the audience told us in surveys that it was an ‘important’ event that made both poetry and music accessible to them.”

Over the years, the roster of performers has grown, as has the audience. Last year, Reese estimates, nearly 700 people attended. Along the way, COAP had added a few surprises like magicians and tightrope walkers, and this year is no exception.

Reese hints there’s one thing planned that “should appeal to North Side residents in particular.” [Look for more on that next Friday in ACCA’s Weekend Update.]

He encourages people of all ages to come out and celebrate and take the opportunity to catch what is a relatively rare performance by the Oliver Lake Big Band on Saturday.

“Each is a talented musician in his own right,” says Reese. “To see them play together is a real treat.”

For a complete list of poets and musicians scheduled to perform at Jazz Poetry Concert 2014, along with bios, visit COAP’s website.

Admission is free, but reservations are suggested. Save your spot online or call Karen Simpson at 412-323-0278.

Take a look back at previous Jazz Poetry concerts:

2013 full concert

2012 concert highlights

2010 highlights (last time the Oliver Lake Big Band played)



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