Cool Picks Friday September 21, 2012

Cool Picks brings you the best in Pittsburgh entertainment every day!

1) The nightlife scene in Downtown Pittsburgh has been on the rise for awhile now. I experienced a vibrant part of it Wednesday night. After attending an event in an upstairs ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel,  I headed downstairs, where the evening’s jazz  was just underway at Andys Wine Bar (the beautiful, contemporary lobby bar in the Fairmont, well-stocked, beer on tap).  Singer Maura Minteer sounded wonderful and was accompanied by talented pianist Daniel May, Fairmont’s co-music directorAfter enjoying the first set, I wandered over to Market Square.  I soon heard more jazz, it was emanating from NOLA on the square , executive chef/owner, Yves Carreau’s vision of a New Orlean’s brasserie,  a fantastic design of rich woods and etched glass, reminiscent of the former Humphrey’s Corner Saloon in Shadyside (now Mario’s East Side Saloon). The sweet sounds were from the Benny Benack Trio. Here are some Downtown “Cool Picks” for tonight:

2) NOLA  (short for New Orleans, Louisiana) is featuring the music of John Gresh’s Gris Gris (New Orlean’s R&B) tonight beginning at 8 p.m.  A five-dollar voluntary charity donation goes to New Orlean’s flood relief and to BP oil spill wildlife recovery. 24 Market Square, Downtown.

3) Andys Wine Bar at the Fairmont Hotel hosts Spanky Wilson, an internationally known vocalist whose versatile singing is reflected in her renditions of jazz and soul tunes. 8 p.m. to midnight, no cover. 510 Market St. & Fifth Ave., Downtown.

4) Get your feet moving at Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Salsa Fridays. A free salsa dance lesson (included in the $5 admission) from 10-10:30 p.m., then dance to salsa music from various DJ’s until 1:30 p.m.. Tonight is DJ Jeff Shirey. Late night happy hour, 9-11 p.m. Food & drink service available. 655 Penn Ave., Downtown Cultural District.

5) The saxophone sound of the Jason Kush Band is the entertainment at Little E’s Jazz & Blues Club tonight. 8:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. 949 Liberty Ave., 2nd Floor. Downtown.