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Free jazz pops ups in unexpected hot spots

City of Asylum houses feature art-covered facades

Pittsburgh's smallest jazz club

Pittsburgh's summer jazz scene just got a whole lot hotter -- and it won't cost listeners a cent.

A few surprising venues are popping up in Pittsburgh to draw jazz aficianados outdoors during July, August and September. 

Pittsburgh's Smallest Jazz Club was installed at a bus shelter on Liberty Avenue across from 9th Street in Downtown Pittsburgh on July 6 thanks to a $1,000 grant from Awesome Pittsburgh last year. 

MCG Jazz, which is a music program of the nonprofit Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, dreamed up Pittsburgh's Smallest Jazz Club as a bus shelter on Liberty Avenue across from 9th Street in Downtown Pittsburgh. Thanks to a $1,000 grant from Awesome Pittsburgh, the project was installed on July 6 and will run through the end of September. The shelter's interior walls feature photos of Pittsburgh's jazz legends, while speakers pump out a Grammy Award-winning recordings from MCG Jazz, which has hosted luminaries such as Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Williams and Stanley Turrentine through the years.

"The intent is to promote jazz music as Pittsburgh's greatest arts export, and to remind people that jazz music -- and art -- is fun, familiar, and everywhere," Kline says. 

A patron waiting in the bus shelter simply pushes a button, which connects to an iPod playing the songs. Lamar Outdoor, which owns the bus shelters in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, helped to put the idea into action. MCG Jazz, whose mission is to preserve, present and promote jazz, aims to introduce both national and international audiences to Pittsburgh's jazz legends.  

Meanwhile, across the Allegheny River on the North Side, City Of Asylum is introducing a series of free concerts from local jazz icon Roger Humphries and RH Factor every Wednesday from now through Sept. 16. 

Jazz Wednesdays are part of Summer on Sampsonia, the summer programming series from exiled writers sanctuary City of Asylum. The events will take place from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. every Wednesday at the City of Asylum's pop-up venue, the Alphabet City Tent, at 318 Sampsonia Way in the North Side. 

The free tickets for Jazz Wednesdays are available online.

To learn more about Pittsburgh’s Smallest Jazz Club, visit the project’s Facebook page.
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