Check out new music, upcoming live shows around Pittsburgh area during the holidays

Looking for holiday entertainment to round out the year? Here are some recommendations for new music from artists from the Pittsburgh area and upcoming performances over the holidays.

Leo P, “Comin’ Up Ace”

From performing with Beyoncé and the Dixie Chicks at the 2016 Country Music Awards to watching his signature dance moves go viral on New York City subway platforms, baritone saxophonist Leo P. has appeared in unexpected places in his career.

The Pittsburgh native, who now lives in New York City, recently released a new album, Comin’ Up Aces, which pays tribute to music heroes like Charles Mingus, Maceo Parker, and Earth, Wind & Fire. . He plays regularly with his own band, Too Many Zooz.

He spoke to Tribune-Review about the new album and about growing up in Pittsburgh with a polka-playing dad.

Q: Which song from your new album, Comin’ Up Aces, are you most excited to let people hear and why?

answer: Most enjoyable is the title track. I’ve always loved funk music, and she loved Maceo Parker. The song is my homage to that style of music. Inspired by Maceo, wrote a “sucky” hook and vocal her chants to help carry the song. It’s about having a great day, where luck is always on your side. Another thing I love about this song about her is that it features my good friend and colleague Josh Holcomb. I played with Josh for many years in a band called The Lucky Chops and we have great chemistry. Listening to the riffs going back and forth in this song makes me feel really excited and nostalgic, and I think the listeners will feel that too.

Q: In your bio, you said, “I want to bring the party back to jazz. I want people to dance.” Why is this important to you, and what do you think it will bring to your own jazz scene?

A: “Keep the party going” is important to me because jazz comes from a history of fun dance parties. Jazz has become a museum of music these days, and I want to change that. I also noticed that jazz fans are aging and there are not many younger fans to replace them. I think the show needs more young people to keep jazz alive. To that end, I think we need more of a “dance party” element. I think he brings that energy to the stage with his unique dance moves. My movement comes from years of experience, but I don’t take it too seriously. There is always a comical aspect to my performances that makes me want to break out of my shell. I think this is because I seem to be enjoying myself without limit and other people want to do the same.

Q: What music-related lessons you took in Pittsburgh helped you in your career?

A: I first started playing with my father, Stephen Pellegrino, who plays the accordion. The biggest lesson I learned during that time is the importance of spending time on your craft. I think there is an energy from the audience that you can’t get from practice. That energy is hard to process, especially if you have little experience. I was very nervous during every performance, but the more I did it, the more I understood how to control it. So I took as many opportunities as I could to get out. Being able to play constantly in Pittsburgh was a big advantage when I moved to New York.

JAZZPRJKT by Jeff Novotny

If the esoteric side of jazz music is faster than you, JAZZPRJKT from University of Pittsburgh and University of Massachusetts alum Jeff Novotny might be faster than you.

Pittsburgh native Novotny, who now lives in Phoenix, recently released a new song, “Vitamins!” The instrumentation is certainly not reminiscent of his classical orchestra, but the piece itself is based on Brahms’ Rhapsody Opus 79 No. 2.

Novotny described his music as a mix of diverse elements such as rock, metal, electronic, world music, and classic jazz styles like bebop stride here and there.

“Listeners have no idea what to expect in the next few seconds, much less how the piece will unfold over time,” he said.

Al Emanuele “Liar”

For Al Emanuele, a resident of Mount Pleasant Township and owner of audio and video production company AEA Multimedia, music has been a way of life since he can remember.

Emanuele was a member of the Westmoreland County rock band Henwae in the 1970s and 80s. The band reformed with some new members to release albums in the early 2000s, but Emanuele continued to record and release solo music along the way.

His latest work, Liar, satirizes and satirizes the social media culture of people desperately seeking clicks, views and likes on apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

“Liar” is available on Spotify and other streaming platforms.

upcoming show

• December 31: Start Making Sense: A Tribute to the Talking Heads, Mr. Smalls Theatre, 8 p.m. at 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. Tickets are $25. For more information, visit

• December 31: New Year’s Eve at Thunderbird, Beauty Slap and Big Blitz, 9pm, Thunderbird Cafe & Music Hall (4056 Butler Street, Pittsburgh). Tickets are $17. For more information, visit

• December 31: The Nick Moss Band and guest Dennis Grünling will headline the Blues Society of Western PA’s New Year’s Eve Blues Bash. on the moon. The show will include special guests Miss Freddy’s Home Cooking His Band. Tickets are $130-$135 and are available at

• December 31: New Year’s Eve Rock’n Eve Bash at Jergel’s Rhythm Grille featuring Totally 80s. Doors open at 7pm, show at 9pm at Jergel’s (103 Slade Lane, Warrendale). Tickets are $50-60. For more information, visit

• January 6-7: “Dead of Winter” at Thunderbird for two nights of Grateful Dead Music featuring The CAUSE, SamJAMwich, The Sun Champs, Dave & Pappy and The Ditch Trio. The show takes place at 6pm both days at the Thunderbird Cafe & Music Hall. Tickets are $20 per night. For more information, visit Thunderbird

• January 8: Thank You for the Music: A Modern Tribute to ABBA at 6pm at the Lamp Theater at 222 Main St. in Irwin. Tickets are $28. For more information, call 724-367-4000 or visit

Patrick Varine is a staff writer for Tribune-Review. You can reach Patrick by email at or on his Twitter. .

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