Jazz and Working-Class Experience: Book Talk, Poetry, Live Music

JOIN THE Battle of Homestead Foundation for an in-person program “Jazz and Working-Class Experience” featuring author Nicole McCandless, poet Fred Shaw and Stepping Stone Jazz Quartet.

In celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month, we explore jazz and working-class experience — past and present — with a focus on events and people connected to Pittsburgh. The program offers an experience of live jazz as well as discussion of the music and its cultural and social significance.

Date: Thursday, Apr. 20, 2023 from 7:00-9:00 pm

Place: The Pump House, 880 E. Waterfront Drive, Munhall PA 15120

Admission: Free … must register at Eventbrite here.


Nicole McCandless will introduce her children’s book, Down on James Street, based on a real historical incident in 1930s Pittsburgh in which an interracial dance sponsored by the Young Workers League was broken up by the police. Nicole will discuss the importance of music in storytelling and the feedback she’s gotten since the book was published by Hardball Press in 2021.

Fred Shaw will read poems from his book Scraping Away, as well as new works. Fred was selected for the Pennsylvania Public Poetry Project in 2017 and was an Allegheny County Emerging Poet Laureate finalist in 2020; his poetry offers elegiac, humanistic portrayals of work and working-class life frequently focusing on restaurant workers, family and music, particularly jazz. He will be accompanied by drummer Ken Foley’s Stepping Stone Jazz Quartet, with Daniel Lieberfeld (guitar), Lester Harper (bass), Derment Winston Jr. (soprano sax).

* Marking the site of the 1892 Battle of Homestead, the Pump House is a popular event venue at the trailhead of the Great Allegheny Passage encompassing the Steel Valley Trail in the Mon Valley.


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