Each Sunday from 12-3 p.m., (weather permitting), a different jazz musician or band will set up outside of the Ellsworth Ave. restaurant in Shadyside. Conveniently, this is also during the time Con Alma is open for takeout and delivery hours: Fridays and Saturdays 4-7 p.m. and Sundays 12-3 p.m.
The performances are scheduled week by week and this Sun., May 17 is Howie Alexander Trio. Last week Reggie Watkins performed with Anton DeFade Trio playing the week before.
"We felt it was important to keep presenting jazz because Pittsburgh is a jazz music city," says John Shannon, Con Alma's music curator. "It has one of the deepest jazz legacies in the world and we see it as a part of this city’s backbone. To us, keeping jazz going is an important part of keeping the spirit of our city strong during this difficult and unprecedented time."
Con Alma has also launched the Con Alma Solo Series, a livestream from different jazz musicians' homes every Friday and Saturday which can be viewed on the restaurant's Facebook and Instagram pages.
"This helps to keep the strong jazz fan base of Pittsburgh in touch with the musicians, as well as create money for the musicians through virtual tipping on Venmo, etc.," says Shannon. "We have also started a fund to help the Elders of the Pittsburgh Jazz Scene. Even once musicians can come out and work again, the elders of the scene (a very important part) won’t be able to and shouldn’t. Many of these musicians have been gigging musicians their entire lives and can definitely use the money right now."
"It was a success, and we plan to do another one next week," says Shannon.
Since it's opening last year, Con Alma has continuously brought live jazz performances to Pittsburgh, filling the void left by urban redevelopment and demolition of the Hill District and the vibrant jazz lineup of Wiley Ave.