Jazzed Up: Dinner Concert

The Tania Grubbs Quartet

Saturday, June 22, 6 pm, $50 

Make it a date night with the Tania Grubbs Quartet! We’re jazzing up selections from the American Songbook to feature a laid back evening of dinner and cocktails. Vocalist Tania Grubbs is well known in the Pittsburgh jazz scene as a performer and Co-Music Director at the Fairmont Pittsburgh, overseeing Jazz at Andys.

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Dinner Menu

Pear Pecan Blue Cheese Salad w Warm Bacon Vinaigrette 
Roasted Asparagus
Rosemary Red Potatoes
Choice of:

  • Sliced Beef w/ Horseradish Sauce

  • Tuscan Chicken

  • Bowtie Pasta w/ Spinach & Mushrooms (vegetarian)

Dessert: Red wine, honey, berry parfait w/ fresh whipped cream


Meet The Quartet

Tania & Jeff Grubbs

Tania Grubbs has an extensive vocal range and has a interesting take on unique literature.

Grubbs has been singing as long as she can remember, in many different venues & genres. A graduate of Youngstown State University, located in Youngstown, Ohio while a student there she gravitated toward singing and learning about jazz starting with the classic American Songbook. Tania focused on listening to every vocalist she could get her hands on. Whenever possible, she would sing, and a little over 20 plus years ago at a jazz session is where she met her now husband bassist, Jeff Grubbs. Jeff’s career landed the couple in South Florida where they lived for 5 years. While in Florida Tania sang in many jazz clubs, performed in numerous concert setting and theatre productions. Tania was a featured vocalist with the Florida Philharmonic, and a “voice” of Boca Raton Pops Orchestra for 3 years. In 1996, Jeff accepted a position with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, where he is no celebrating his 23rd season.

Today you will most likely hear Tania fronting their own jazz quartet, The Tania & Jeff Grubbs Quartet, featuring Jeff on Bass.

She is also a part of TRAVLIN' an exciting quartet of musicians who play soulful, beautiful, honest, accessible songs. One of Tania's dreams is to travel the globe sharing her voice, music and passion for singing.

Tania is the Co-Music Director of the Fairmont Pittsburgh helping to oversee Jazz at Andys, a 3 night per week series located in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

While in Pittsburgh, Tania has been a four-time recipient of the Ready for Life Grants, founded by the Heinz Foundation, working with young children through music and movement. She has also been a featured vocalist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and has performed with the Civic Light Opera, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Jazzlive Series, Pittsburgh Jazz Society, Washington Jazz Wine & Jazz Festival, Westmoreland Jazz Society as well as Butler Jazz Society. Tania remains active by touring nationally and conducts masterclasses for high schools and colleges.

Presently, Tania is writing and producing a series of six/80 minute concerts, titled the I AM Series Vols1-6, Tania likes to explain them as “mini documentaries”. The concerts will be debuted at City of Asylum’s Alphabet City throughout 2019. The I AM creative is artistically encouraged and supported by the City of Asylum and the Heinz Endowment Small Arts Initiative.

In 2014 Tania released her debut CD; Lost in the Stars..."as a mother of three and a woman who has been given the privilege to revisit the thing she loves to do-sing; I feel that now more than ever I have something to sing about"

Clifford Barnes

Ohio native, pianist, organist & bassist Cliff Barnes is an accomplished and versatile musician spanning several genres with a firmly rooted foundation in gospel and jazz. Barnes has performed with many notable names in the music industry, including David Sanborn, Marcus Miller, Pieces of a Dream, Gerald Veasley, Phil Perry, Johnny Gill, Toney Terry & Monifa to name a few.

Cliff Barnes serves as the Music Director for the Black Nativity Production at the University of Pittsburgh and is currently on the piano faculty at West Virginia University.

Barnes appeared on the 2015 Marcus Miller album Afrodeezia and Miller’s most recent release Laid Black 2019, both on the Decca Records label (a division of Universal Music).

Phil Palombi

Grammy award winning bassist Phil Palombi is “one of the most sought after bass players in New York City”, according to Steely Dan tenor saxophonist and renowned jazz musician Walt Weiskopf. His performance and recording credits include such players as, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, George Coleman, Maynard Ferguson, Billy Hart, Louis Hayes, Vincent Herring, Etta Jones, Billy Kilson, Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman, Harold Mabern, Steve Smith, Curtis Stigers, Lew Tabackin, Mark Turner, Chucho Valdes, and The Village Vanguard Orchestra to name a few. Upon moving to New York City in 1997, he immediately began working full time performing at many of the city’s venues.

In addition to being an internationally recognized bassist, Phil is known for being the author of Scott LaFaro – 15 Solo Transcriptions, the first book of LaFaro solos ever published. Scott LaFaro was one of the pioneers of jazz bass soloing and  book contains all 15 of his solos taken from the Bill Evans recordings Waltz for Debby andSunday at the Village Vanguard. Publishing this book opened up many doors, perhaps the largest door being access to LaFaro’s amazing 1825 Abraham Prescott bass– the very bass that LaFaro used on his recordings with the Bill Evans trio.

James Johnson III

Described as a musical chameleon with wide-ranging talents, James Johnson III adapts comfortably to a variety of genres. He began his musical journey playing drums at five years old. His father, Dr. James Johnson Jr., a nationally known pianist and educator, sparked his passion for music. Precursory to his worldwide career, he attended Pittsburgh’s high school for the creative and performing arts (CAPA) where he was mentored by jazz great Roger Humphries. This laid the foundation for a stellar career that has included performing as a regular member with legendary jazz pianist Ahmad Jamal. His musical adventures have led him to play prestigious venues around the world such as North America, Europe, Africa and Japan. As a part of his portfolio he has performed with jazz masters George Coleman, James Moody, Geri Allen, Bob James, Kenny Garrett, Benny Golson, Mulgrew Miller, Bob Mintzer and Kenny Werner.

James serves as Artist in Residence at The University of Pittsburgh School of Music and is faculty at the Afro American Music Institute—a Pittsburgh institution that preserves the heritage of African American music. As a versatile percussionist, composer and producer, James maintains a diverse freelance career. Currently, he has two solo projects: Between and Full Circle.

Christopher Coles

Christopher J. Coles is a graduate of Cleveland South High School (2004). In 2009 Chris received his Bachelor Degree in Saxophone Performance from Youngstown State University. It was here that he studied with world-renowned saxophonist and educator Dr. James C. Umble, jazz saxophonist Dr. Kent Englehardt, and jazz bassist and composer Dr. David Morgan. In 2012, Chris received his Master Degree in Saxophone Performance from the University of Akron.

Chris has performed with many local and international jazz musicians such as, Eddie Baccus Sr., Melvin Burks, Kenny Davis, Glenn Holmes, Bill Ransom, and Cecil Rucker, Grammy Award winner Slide Hampton, Ralph Lalama, and Allen Vizzutti. Coles recently was accepted to perform in Italy with the Ohio Youth Jazz Orchestra. It was here that Coles performed with Wessell Anderson, lead alto saxophonist for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

Chris also played at the North American Saxophone Alliance Regional Festival in West Virginia with the Dana Saxophone quartet, performing at the International Saxophone Symposium in Washington D.C., and premiering a commissioned work by John Hollenbeck at the Whitney Art Museum Composers Workshop. Coles also recorded this work on John Hollenbeck’s album Rainbow Jimmies released in 2009. Some of Chris’s recent accomplishments include being a participant at The Banff Workshop for Jazz and Creative music in Alberta, Canada. It was there that Chris had the distinct honor of studying with some of the great pioneers in jazz today such as Vijay Iyer, Mark Turner, Imani Izuri, Tia Fuller, Billy Hart, Ingrid Jensen, Zakir Hussain, Somi, Yosvany Terry, and Miles Okazaki to name a few. In 2017 Chris was an awardee of the Knight Arts Challenge in Akron, Ohio and in 2018 Chris won grants from GAR Foundation as well as the Cleveland foundation for his multimedia work Nine Lives. This 40 minute work will be preimered in 2019. Chris is currently based out of Akron, Ohio and is on faculty at Kent State University and The Tri-C Creative Arts Jazzfest Academy. Chris is a Yamaha Performing Artist.