Imagine hearing jazz outdoors. Not too difficult since Pittsburgh offers many jazz concerts that take place outdoors in nice weather. Take that image up a notch, and picture yourself listening to jazz on your headphones while waiting for the bus in January. Then take your imagination one step further: your fellow bus patron presses a button attached to the bus shelter; a great swing band tune begins to play. People start tapping their feet. Hips sway. Everyone waiting in the shelter suddenly smiles. Selfies are snapped. It’s unlike any bus shelter experience ever. This could revolutionize the “bus wait.”
This is the idea brought forth by MCG Jazz, whose mission is to preserve, present and promote jazz. According to marketing manager Amy Kline:
“My job is to make a bunch of noise on behalf of MCG Jazz and raise our public profile. Hare-brained ideas are my current specialty. 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.”
Awesome Pittsburgh’s trustees smiled unanimously when they decided to choose the proposal for one of 2014’s $1000 grants, envisioning a bus patron who pushes a button, only to have an iPod play jazz music from one of MCG Jazz’s Grammy Award winning recordings. The interior walls of a bus shelter will feature images of Pittsburgh’s jazz legends, and a blank “Your Face Here!” space to take a picture of yourself at “Pittsburgh’s Smallest Jazz Club.” Lamar Outdoor, owner of the bus shelters in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, is already on board to help make the project happen.
MCG’s wish is that these recordings reach both a national and international audience. Dean of Awesome Pittsburgh Emily Keebler reports:
“Every Awesome Pittsburgh trustee enthusiastically agreed that this project will strengthen the long time Pittsburgh jazz community and contribute to the overall cultural and artistic diversity of the region.”
To learn more, visit Pittsburgh’s Smallest Jazz Club’s Facebook page. Pittsburgh’s Smallest Jazz Club is on Centre Avenue, less than a block from Consol Energy Center.