Tom Roberts

Tom Roberts is a leading exponent of early jazz piano. He's played everywhere from New York’s Carnegie Hall and the Tonight Show to the major jazz clubs in the French Quarter.


7:00 PM19:00

The Great Buster


We are finally bringing the incredible documentary by Peter Bogdanovich to Pittsburgh! 

The Great Buster

And what's even better:
The Great Maureen Conlon Gutierrez will be joining me as we perform live to Buster Keaton's amazing silent short The Scare Crow!

Those of you who attended The Allegheny City Ragtime Orchestra tribute to James Reese Europe last month heard her create magic with her glorious playing. Wait til you hear her here!

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8:00 PM20:00

The Red Beans & Rice Combo: Holiday Spectacular

The Red Beans & Rice Combo returns to the Allegheny Elks Lodge for our 2018 Holiday Spectacular.

Once again, we'll be joined by our friend Rick Sebak, who will perform a dramatic recitation of "A Visit from Saint Nicholas," and throw in some other seasonal surprises.

We'll play our favorite holiday numbers, along with our usual selection of rockin' rhythm & jazz.

The Elks Lodge features a full bar, which will be open for this event.

More info


You're encouraged to bring along a plate or two of cookies for a traditional Pittsburgh cookie table.

Doors open; tickets

Doors open 7 p.m.; music starts at 8 p.m.

Tickets: $12.50 advance; $15 cash at door

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7:00 PM19:00

Tango Bar

Where can you enjoy a living Argentine Tango performance in the Burgh? The Indigo Hotel in East Liberty is bringing a taste of Argentina through "Tango Bar".

Listen and dance at this one-of-a-kind event that you can't experience anywhere else!

A night filled with romance and passion through the exquisite voice of Ada Lis Jimena (Argentine singer) and the musical genius of Tom Roberts (pianist), this is something you won't want to miss.

More info

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7:30 PM19:30

Allegheny City Ragtime Orchestra's tribute to the Harlem Hellfighters

  • Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

Join us as we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I with a rare opportunity to share the music of Lieut. James Reese Europe performed by the Allegheny City Ragtime Orchestra. Europe was a leading figure in the American music and military circles in the early 20th century.

About James Reese Europe & The Harlem Hell Fighters

Arranger, composer, union organizer and Army National Guard Lieutenant, Europe led his men to Carnegie Hall and on the Western Front. Europe served as band leader and officer for the 369th Infantry Regiment, named “The Harlem Hellfighters” for their battlefield prowess.

Sent to assist the French, the 369th was the first black American infantry regiment to fight in WWI and spent more time under fire than any other US military unit. They’re among the most decorated American units of WWI. The 369th Infantry Regiment band gained equal notoriety by extensive touring overseas and introducing American jazz to Europe.


$20 Advance reserved seating
$25 at the door
$5 youth under 12

Doors open at 7:00 p.m.; concert begins at 7:30 p.m

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5:30 PM17:30

Tango @ Mansions on Fifth

Is live music your thing? Do you like to watch dancers perform the Tango, or maybe even join in yourself? How about watching a painting transform before your eyes?

If you said yes to any of these, then mark your calendar and stop by the Mansions on Fifth. It will be a rousing night of dance, music and art.

  • Live painting demonstrations of Tango dancers by me and Claire Hardy

  • Tango music by renowned musicians Tom Roberts and Alejandro Pinson

  • Tango dancing by Koichiro (Chewy) Suzuki and Yulia Zhukoff

  • Specialty drinks and complimentary charcuterie

  • A brand-new art exhibition "City Views and Vistas"

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8:00 PM20:00

Red Beans & Rice Combo CD Release Party: Let The Joy Begin!

Pittsburgh’s rockin' rhythm & jazz trio, The Red Beans & Rice Combo, returns to Elks Lodge #339 on the North Side to celebrate the release of their debut recording, LET THE JOY BEGIN! on Bonedog Records.

Join the Combo in the fabulous Allegheny Room for an evening of music and surprises, and pick up a CD for some Red Beans & Rice to go.

The Elks Lodge features a full service cash bar, and you're welcome to bring snacks to share at your table.

Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door.

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7:00 PM19:00

Why Louis Armstrong Matters

There is much, much more to Louis Armstrong than you could ever imagine! Whatever your generation, you might associate him with “What a Wonderful World”, or “Hello Dolly” or “Cabaret”. These were hits from the last decade of his life, but did you realize that Louis Daniel Armstrong single-handedly changed everything about music?

During the 1920s Armstrong created the very essence of solo-oriented jazz performance through the sheer power and brilliance of his being. His influence extended far beyond the world of jazz: classical musicians were also deeply affected by his sound. We can’t hear any piece of music anymore without hearing traces of the genius of Louis Armstrong.

Come learn how a child from the poorest and most dangerous neighborhood in the Deep South rose above poverty and prejudice to become America’s Ambassador of Goodwill.

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8:00 PM20:00

Fonky New OrYinz Piano Summit!!!

If you like piano music, especially New Orleans-influenced piano music, come join us on August 17. We are going to ease into the Music For MS 2018 weekend by borrowing M4MS headliner Johnny Sketch & The Dirty Notes' amazing keyboard player, Josh Paxton, to perform with Pittsburgh's own virtuoso Tom Roberts.

How good are these guys? Well, Josh is one of the finest players from New Orleans (a town that has a reputation for piano players), and quite literally wrote the book on James Booker. Tom's accomplishments are too numerous to summarize, but according to Jazz Beat Magazine “Tom Roberts is without question one of the finest pianists today in the exciting Harlem stride piano style.“

Another excellent Pittsburgh piano player, Bill Maruca, will act as our emcee.

This event will be conducted in the intimate confines of Steamworks Creative, only 50 tickets will be available. BYOB!

The Piano Summit kicks off the weekend of Music For MS 2018. Josh and Tom will also be performing at Music For MS the next day—Josh with headliner Johnny Sketch and The Dirty Notes, Tom with The Red Beans & Rice Combo. More information is available at

Music lovers: Steamworks is a listening room. No yapping audience members talking over the performers, no cell phone videos, etc. You will be able to fully enjoy the music, promise.

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Esquivel! Space Age Sound Artist
7:00 PM19:00

Esquivel! Space Age Sound Artist

Esquivel book cover.jpg

Come out to the Space Age Bachelor Pad—for all ages, of course—while Tom reads and brings to life this incredible kid's book to life before your very eyes and ears because stereo is the sound your eyes can follow! 

Innovative short produced by Ernie Kovacs in which the various objects of an office workspace come to life. The music they dance to is a medley ("Jalousie/Sentimental Journey") by space age pop maestro Juan Esquivel.
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6:00 PM18:00

Tom @ SOAP

I will channel my inner James Booker—except for the one eyed gay junkie part—for what is looking like might be the weirdest gig of my entire career.

The Sleeping Octopus Assembly on Psychedelics (SOAP) is an intimate conference exploring the role of psychedelics in science, medicine, policy, and culture, taking place at a historic mansion in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from July 13-15, 2018.

This conference features presentations from key figures in the psychedelic research and policy community, a psychedelic-themed comedy show, live musical performances, and a benefit dinner for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). We hope you will join us for this unique opportunity to inspire and unite local communities in a creative setting, the recently-remodeled historic mansion known as the "Sleeping Octopus."

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7:30 PM19:30

City of Asylum presents: Cave Canem Poets

Tom provides the music by James Booker, Professor Longhair Jelly Roll Morton and other black giants of the black and whites
Chris Abani
Robin Coste Lewis
Amber Flora Thomas


Each June since 2010, City of Asylum has presented the poets of Cave Canem. The poets and their readings are unique in their appeal to both devoted and casual poetry audiences. These are rousing performances that speak to issues of the day with beauty and excitement. Poets have included future Poet Laureates, National Book Award winners, MacArthur "Genius" award winners, and Pulitzer Prize winners. 

This year's annual reading will continue the tradition, with acclaimed poets  Chris Abani, Robin Coste Lewis, and Amber Flora Thomas!

Chris Abani is the recipient of the 2008 PEN USA Freedom-to-Write Award for his novel Song for Night. Robin Coste Lewis is the author of Voyage of the Sable Venus, winner of the 2015 National Book Award in poetry. Amber Flora Thomas is the recipient of several major poetry awards, including the Dylan Thomas American Poet Prize, Richard Peterson Prize and Ann Stanford Prize.  

Founded by former COA board member Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady in 1996 to remedy the under-representation and isolation of African American poets in the literary landscape, the New York-based Cave Canem Foundation is a home for the many voices of African American poetry and is committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets. 

A book signing with the poets will follow the reading.  

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7:30 PM19:30

Funky First Friday with the Red Beans & Rice Combo

Let the joy begin!

The Red Beans & Rice Combo returns to the warmth and intimacy of Orbis Caffe for Funky First Friday, as we celebrate (or hope for) the coming of Summer. We'll be trying out some tunes you haven't heard us play before, as well as your old favorites.

Delicious small plate dinners, soft drinks, and coffee will all be available for purchase, and the event is BYOB.

Cover charge is $15. Seating is limited, so stop in at Orbis or call (412) 563-1220 to reserve your table.

As aways, ladies & gents are encouraged to dress up for an elegant, fun, and funky evening. Come hungry, and wear your dancing shoes.

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©2018 Tom Roberts