Stacey Kent + Benny Benack III

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  • Benny Benack III

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MCG Jazz Concert Hall Sat, Dec 9, 2017 6:00 PM
MCG Jazz Concert Hall Sat, Dec 9, 2017 8:30 PM
Concert Information
Musicians:Stacey Kent – Vocals
Benny Benack III - Trumpet, Vocals
Jim Tomlinson – Music Director, Woodwinds
Genre:Vocal Jazz
Connect With The Artists


Stacey Kent is a jazz singer in the mold of the greats with honors including a GRAMMY® nomination, album sales approaching 2 million, Gold, Double-Gold and Platinum-selling albums that have reached a series of No. 1 chart positions during the span of her career.

Raised and schooled on the East Coast, this comparative literature graduate with a musical bent, travelled to Europe to further her studies. In 1990, through a series of twists of fate, she found herself in London where she enrolled in a graduate music program at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and where she met her future husband and musical collaborator, Jim Tomlinson.

With a catalogue of 10 studio albums including the Platinum-selling, GRAMMY® Award-nominated Breakfast On The Morning Tram and an impressive list of collaborations, Stacey has graced the stages of more than 50 countries over the course of her career.  Kent paid her dues in the jazz clubs of London, including the famed Ronnie Scott's Cub, where she still performs every year.  The Boy Next Door was Stacey’s first album to achieve Gold status.

Stacey has cemented her reputation as a singer capable of putting a distinctive stamp on an impressive repertoire of standards. With each successive album, Stacey's style has become more honed as her artistic outlook has broadened. Stacey's search for songs had led her to look beyond the Great American Songbook, with French chanson and Brazilian music forming an ever-larger part of her repertoire.

During a lunch with her husband and friend, and author, Kazuo Ishiguro, the conversation turned to repertoire and the idea was hatched to write a series of songs for Stacey that distilled themes of memory, travel and love. From this conversation, the songs for Breakfast On The Morning Tram were conceived and Stacey transformed from being a singer of the Great American Songbook to a singer with a highly distinctive and personal repertoire.

The album, The Changing Lights, revealed an ever-present influence of Brazil in Stacey’s music.  Stacey first visited Brazil in 2008 when she was invited to perform at the TIM Festival. On subsequent visits to Brazil, she met many of her musical heroes, including Marcos Valle and Roberto Menescal. She has recorded with both Valle and Menescal having been invited to record with Valle to celebrate his 50 years in music on the album, Ao Vivo.

With Roberto Menescal, Stacey recorded the release, Tenderly, an intimate collection of standards that showcases her crystalline voice and Menescal's warm guitar. Jazzwise Magazine referred to the album as “an extremely beautiful meeting of minds.”  It is Menescal’s only recording as a jazz guitarist and demonstrates the debt he owes to the great Barney Kessel. As Kent’s first standards album in a decade, it shows her increasingly impressive and maturing interpretative gifts.

Following a successful concert series with the Bordeaux Symphony Orchestra, Stacey is planning an album for release this year on SONY.


We asked you to tell us which of your favorite new artists you would like to hear on the MCG Jazz stage and we have been able to arrange for one of those Pix this fall.  Pittsburgh’s own Benny Benack III will be joining the program to celebrate the release of his first solo CD project.  Benny now resides in New York City and travels the world as a soloist, leader and educator.

He is both a formidable, modern-minded trumpeter and an affable and expressive jazz singer, and these elements of his musical self are deeply and effortlessly intertwined. On One of a Kind, his debut release, Benack also reveals himself to be a wry and expressive songwriter and lyricist, bringing his boundless musical gifts together in a program that’s steeped in tradition but every bit as restlessly individual as his album title suggests.

Benack’s original compositions (both vocal and instrumental) paint a self-portrait in sound, honoring a legacy that stretches back to Benny Benack, Sr., his trumpeter/bandleader grandfather. Having grown up playing gigs with his father Benny, Jr., and absorbing influences from his classically trained vocal professor and mother Claudia, Benny III became the kind of player, writer and interpreter we hear today on One of a Kind: Benack comments, “I gravitated first to the legends of Tin Pan Alley. I find myself identifying not only with their timeless harmonic and melodic sensibilities, but also the whimsical charms of their musings on romance and melancholy. I would love for my songs to capture the essence of that magical Golden Era.”

Additional Information

MCG Jazz’s mission is to preserve, present and promote jazz. Through our performances, we strengthen the long time Pittsburgh jazz community and contribute to the overall cultural and artistic diversity of the region. Through our live recordings we reach a national and international audience - a market we’d like to grow. Through our educational programs we are able to have students attend the concerts at low or no cost to them, make artists available for master classes and provide opportunities for internships in production and marketing.

Since 1987, MCG Jazz has brought audiences together with jazz artists at its 350 seat music hall in Pittsburgh for innovative 4-day performances and recordings. Many of these international masters of jazz would headline a list of Jazz’s “Needs No Introduction” - Joe Williams, Billy Taylor, Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Turrentine, Ray Brown. MCG Jazz Archives now contain over 300 CDs worth of jazz history by those who represent the past, present and future of jazz music. The performance series, one of the oldest in the nation, is an anchor of Pittsburgh cultural and community life.

The jazz artists come to the Guild to perform with an understanding that we’re a school. Most leave feeling that they got as much or more from their MCG experience than they gave. They frequently mention “hope” and “the spirit of the place.” You will hear what they mean in their recordings. MCG Jazz label recordings are unusually joyful. Artists spread the word and encourage others to perform here. Many come back time and again, choosing to record something unique on the MCG Jazz label. They generously give proceeds to support our programs.



• MCG has parking lots in both the front and rear of the building. Front parking is reserved for MCG Jazz Club members with a parking pass. The rear lot is free and open to all other patrons. In the event that the lots are full, you may park onthe street or at the Casey Industrial Park.


• Children are always welcome at MCG Jazz, and we invite you to bring yours at any time. All children must have a purchased ticket, but student discounts are available for most shows. Please remove disruptive children.


• Please arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled start time of your concert. Latecomers will be seated at the first convenient pause in the program.

• House management and ushers will not open the doors after the lights are dimmed or during the artist’s performance. Management accepts no responsibility for this inconvenience.


• Recording devices are not permitted in the concert hall.

• Please turn off all cell phones, pagers, and other electronic devices.

• Remember: the light and sound from your cell phone, Bluetooth headset, or other personal device is distracting to others.


• Wheelchair seating is available and can be requested when buying tickets. If you have any other needs, please bring them to the attention of the box office when purchasing tickets or to an usher upon arrival at the concert hall.


• Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild is a non-smoking facility.


• Concealed weapons are not permitted on the property.


• A coat rack is provided for your convenience. Please do not carry large bags, strollers, or other disruptive items into the concert hall. Management accepts no responsibility for items left at the coat rack.


• MCG Jazz does not enforce any type of dress code. Many patrons dress “business casual” or “evening casual,” but please wear whatever makes you most comfortable.


• Refreshments can be purchased at the bar in the lobby.

• Food & drink of any kind are not permitted in the concert hall.

• Management reserves the right to refuse service and admission to any person whose conduct is deemed inappropriate or disruptive to the audience or performers.