Today begins the launch of AW Studio Sessions, a new monthly virtual music series, by the August Wilson African American Cultural Center (AWAACC), based in Pittsburgh, Wilson’s hometown and the backdrop for many of his notable plays. The series will feature digital concerts pre-recorded live in a series of intimate studio sessions by various jazz, blues, and R&B musicians. AW Studio Sessions expands the AWAACC’s mission to offer programs that advance the influential playwright’s legacy, reflect the universal issues of identity he tackled in his work, and celebrate Black culture.
The series kicks off Thursday, December 3, with a program directed by Orrin Evans and commissioned by AWAACC, bringing together musicians in modern jazz and Brazilian music to create arrangements of Brazilian standards. Other sessions will include performances by Leela James, Roger Humphries, Gerald Veasley, Carol Riddick, and Lyndsey Morgan Smith.
AW Studio Sessions’ digital concerts will be streamed on the first Thursday of every month through April 2021, with a special additional performance by Leela James on Thursday, December 17. According to a press release given to JT, the series allows the AWAACC to support artists at a time when many are being asked to play for free, while also presenting a new way for audiences to connect to Wilson’s work and to expand the Center’s mission.
“The August Wilson African American Cultural Center is proud to champion these artists at a time when opportunities to perform are so limited,” says Janis Burley Wilson, President and CEO of AWAACC. “We have long served as a platform to support artists, and we are eager to share their work and bring joy during a year of uncertainty. Blues and jazz music were a great influence on Wilson’s writing and creative process, and I’m thrilled to share this series, which showcases the music he loved, along with other styles that draw inspiration from many artists that Wilson admired.”
Tickets for all sessions are $12. For a more detailed schedule or more information, and to purchase tickets, go here.