Kelly Strayhorn Theater

November 29
Doors open at 7 p.m.; concert starts at 8 p.m.
VIP reception at 6 p.m.

Suites and sweets will come together at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater on Saturday, November 29th.

Among Pittsburgh’s most legendary locals is jazz composer and pianist Billy Strayhorn, who wrote timeless compositions such as “Take the ‘A’ Train” and “Lush Life” during his 30-year collaboration with groundbreaking bandleader Duke Ellington. On what would have been Strayhorn’s 99th birthday—he was born on November 29, 1915—the public is invited to a birthday bash for the cultural icon, who lived in Homewood as a boy, and attended Westinghouse High School and Pittsburgh Music Institute.

Honoring the theater’s namesake, Suite Life: A Billy Strayhorn Birthday Bash will showcase the composer’s prolific work alongside veteran and emerging voices from Pittsburgh’s local jazz scene.

Headlining the community celebration will be famed Pittsburgh drummer Roger Humphries, who will lead his 10-piece instrumental and vocal ensemble in performing a tribute concert honoring Strayhorn’s contributions to American jazz. Humphries, who was born in 1944 and began playing professionally at age 14, has performed with musical greats such as Ray Charles, Billy Preston, Dizzy Gillespie and George Benson. Humphries’ band, RH Factor, will also feature guest vocalist Spanky Wilson.

While toasting the heyday of jazz, Suite Life will simultaneously shine a light on the genre’s bright future. Also performing at the event will be emerging act, C Street Brass, a youthful local quintet currently working in residence at Carnegie Mellon and already creating a buzz around Pittsburgh. Their distinct and innovative concerts combine elements of jazz, baroque music and dubstep.

Guests will also enjoy a delicious Strayhorn birthday cake.

The event kicks off with a special VIP cocktail reception (21+) at 6 p.m. that include hors d’oeuvres, a champagne toast and live pre-concert performances. Discounts for the concert are available for 15206 residents, students and artists. The concert is open to all ages.

Purchase tickets.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.