Employees of Funk – 5.13.17 – East End Brewing, Pittsburgh, PA

On Saturday, Pittsburgh’s East End Brewing held held a cool “Crafts & Drafts” event that served as a release party for the new Illustration Ale at their brew pub in Larimer.  Six local artists/illustrators (including one of my all time favorites, Mike Budai) designed the art for the bottles for the limited edition brew.

In edition to craft vendors and food trucks, live music was provided by Pittsburgh’s Employees of Funk. This was my first time seeing or even hearing of these guys and I was pleasantly surprised.  I really dug their style which had more of a raw groove than most brass bands I’ve seen.  I also really liked the song selection which consisted of songs by The Meters, Michael Jackson, and Herbie Hancock in addition to some originals. I’ll be looking forward to seeing these guys again sometime soon.

Pittonkatonk Brass Band BBQ – 5.2.15 – Pittsburgh, PA

pittonk_01This past Saturday, we experienced some of the nicest weather that we can hope for here in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and the temperatures were in the 70’s for most of the day. Coincidentally, Pittsburghers were also treated to the 2nd annual Pittonkatonk: A May Day Brass BBQ in Schenley Park.   The free, family-friendly event featured several lively brass-centric bands that included PitchBlak Brass Band, the Detroit Party Marching Band, Pittsburgh’s own Beauty Slap, and many others.

Despite knowing that this was happening for months thanks to plenty of local buzz, I had not planned on going until the day before the event. But with the weather being so nice and word that some old friends were going to be there, this party was too hard to pass up.  The vibe was very relaxed, positive, and diverse.  The organizers, including local DJ/promoter “Pandemic” Pete Spynda, did a fantastic job putting this thing together.  I had a great time at this and, assuming this will become a regular thing, I look forward to next year.

What ended up being the most “jazzy” of all of the groups was a sextet called Hill Jordan & Slide Worldwide that included Pittsburgh-based trombonist Dr. Nelson Harrison.  Here’s a short video of their take on Stevie Wonder‘s “I WIsh”.  Enjoy!