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Kente Summer Madness: Howie Alexander Band & Ezra Smith

July 9, 2023 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm EDT

This summer, the Kente Arts Alliance is presenting a series of three energetic and engaging concerts at City of Asylum, with special focus on the art and music of the African Diaspora. The second concert in this series presents the Howie Alexander Band, who share the stage with spoken word artist Leslie “Ezra” Smith. 

Before the concert, the first 30 minutes of this program will act as a welcome period, during which time attendees are encouraged to order food or drinks from the in-house restaurant 40 North while enjoying a playlist curated by Kente artists. The concert and livestream will begin at 6:30. 

About the Artists:

Howard “Howie” Alexander, pianist and teaching artist, graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School in Pittsburgh, PA in 1992. He hails from Wilkinsburg, PA and grew up in a home filled with jazz, rhythm & blues, and funk. Howie started taking piano lessons when he was 15, and over the course of the next 27 years, he performed with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, drummer Poogie Bell, Ciaro, and iconic jazz musicians like Stanley Turrentine. During his formative years he even found the time to graduate from Duquesne University. He regularly performs as a sideman or headliner at clubs and concert venues from Pittsburgh to Monaco. He has been a piano instructor at the Afro-American Music Institute (AAMI) since 1994 and is now its Artistic Director.

Leslie “Ezra” Smith is a professional spoken word artist, actor, director, event coordinator and host. He has performed for various theater companies including the Kuntu Repertory Theater, New Horizon Theater, and Pittsburgh Playwrights. In 2008, he won the best lead actor award by The African American Council of the Arts for his performance in New Horizon Theater’s production of “Freeman.” His first full length solo show, “The Book of Ezra,” was produced at the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company as the opening show for its 2014-2015 season. He was awarded the Poet of the Year by the Pittsburgh Hip Hop Awards. He portrayed “Red Carter” as a part of the historic production of noted playwright August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars.” Ezra was a member of the 2003 Pittsburgh Steel City Slam Team and competed in the National Poetry Slam and has been a popular open mic host and coordinator of several events.

About Your Visit: 

Remember you can dine at the in-house restaurant 40 North before, during, or after the show. Please visit Open Table or call 412-435-1111 to make a reservation.

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July 9, 2023
6:00 pm - 7:30 pm EDT
Program Category:


Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh,PA15212United States
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