MCG Jazz Play It Forward -- The Educators Series

All music programs of Manchester Craftsmen's Guild share a common mission—to preserve, present and promote jazz. We believe that through direct involvement in the making of art and through exposure to the Masters who teach and perform jazz, our lives will be enriched, even transformed. Since 1987, MCG Jazz has brought audiences and students together with jazz artists for innovative performances, recordings, and educational activities. We are uniquely positioned to help any student learn more about this American art form.

Dr. Alton Merrell is the Professor of Jazz Piano at West Virginia University.
Withholding Nothing represents transparency of the artist – Alton Merrell showing the world his true self. This recording is Merrell's message about when life becomes challenging, surrender even when you do not understand that is Withholding Nothing. Full of a variety of styles of jazz from rag to gospel. The music reflects Merrell's faith and diversity. Merrell offers seven new compositions along with new arrangements of hymns. The song's message encapsulates this warm, sensitive, lyrical and emotional recording.

Mike Tomaro is the Director of the Jazz Studies program at Duquesne University.
With 4 Seasons, Tomaro branches out from the music he writes for academia and focuses on music inspired by events in his life. Having been a member of the Army Blues, the Bob Mintzer Big Band, and co-director of the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, Mike is at home in the big band setting and brings a contemporary vision and sound to this big band of friends and colleagues.

Dr. Jason Kush is a Professor at Slippery Rock University and an Artist Lecturer at Carnegie Mellon University.

Finally Friday expresses the communal feeling of relief attained by the passage of a trying time and the arrival into a period of repose.

This feeling of short-term survival is most often felt at the conclusion of the work week or end of a stressful time. However, for the musician, Friday not only means the completion of the weekdays, but time to hit the stage and experience the release of artistic creation. That moment of euphoria is Finally Friday.

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