PITTSBURGH 3D




Roger Humphries


From Blakey to Brown, Como to Costa, Eckstine to Eldridge, Galbraith to Garner, Harris to Hines, Horne to Hyman, Jamal to Jefferson, Kelly to Klook; Mancini to Marmarosa, May to Mitchell, Negri to Nestico, Parlan to Ponder, Reed to Ruther, Strayhorn to Sullivan, Turk to Turrentine, Wade to Williams… the forthcoming publication Treasury of Pittsburgh Jazz Connections by Dr. Nelson Harrison and Dr. Ralph Proctor, Jr. will document the legacy of one of the world’s greatest jazz capitals.


Do you want to know who Dizzy Gillespie  idolized? Did you ever wonder who inspired Kenny Clarke and Art Blakey? Who was the pianist that mentored Monk, Bud Powell, Tad Dameron, Elmo Hope, Sarah Vaughan and Mel Torme? Who was Art Tatum’s idol and Nat Cole’s mentor? What musical quartet pioneered the concept adopted later by the Modern Jazz Quartet? Were you ever curious to know who taught saxophone to Stanley Turrentine or who taught piano to Ahmad Jamal? What community music school trained Robert McFerrin, Sr. for his history-making debut with the Metropolitan Opera? What virtually unknown pianist was a significant influence on young John Coltrane, Shirley Scott, McCoy Tyner, Bobby Timmons and Ray Bryant when he moved to Philadelphia from Pittsburgh in the 1940s?  Would you be surprised to know that Erroll Garner attended classes at the Julliard School of Music in New York and was at the top of his class in writing and arranging proficiency?


Some answers  can be gleaned from the postings on the Pittsburgh Jazz Network.


For almost 100 years the Pittsburgh region has been a metacenter of jazz originality that is second to no other in the history of jazz.  One of the best kept secrets in jazz folklore, the Pittsburgh Jazz Legacy has heretofore remained mythical.  We have dubbed it “the greatest story never told” since it has not been represented in writing before now in such a way as to be accessible to anyone seeking to know more about it.  When it was happening, little did we know how priceless the memories would become when the times were gone.


Today jazz is still king in Pittsburgh, with events, performances and activities happening all the time. The Pittsburgh Jazz Network is dedicated to celebrating and showcasing the places, artists and fans that carry on the legacy of Pittsburgh's jazz heritage.






Duke Ellington is first African-American and the first musician to solo on U.S. circulating coin



       In Her Own Words



There is a dearth of oral history available documenting the greatness of the Pittsburgh Jazz Tradition and Legacy.. Please feel free to add a quote of your own or words of wisdom or humor from a Pittsburgh artist that you may find of interest.

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Members: 78
Latest Activity: Feb 22

I don't need time. What I need is a deadline. -Duke Ellington, jazz pianist, composer, and conductor (1899-1974)

Discussion Forum

Kenny Clarke's Life and Sessions

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by Dr. Nelson Harrison Jun 23, 2009. 7 Replies


Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison Jul 7, 2008. 0 Replies

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of QUOTATIONS to add comments!

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on April 21, 2013 at 8:24pm

 "....Billy Strayhorn was my right arm, my left arm, all the eyes in the back of my head, my brainwaves in his head, and his in mine."
- Duke Ellington

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on April 21, 2013 at 4:44am

"Do you ever wish that the world had no music in it? Would you rather be deaf than listen to anybody play anything ever again? Are you sick and tired of hearing all of the same notes being placed in slightly different order all the time? Is it your hope to do away with music completely by the year 2021? That's awesome.( I feel the same way about Republicans. ) Today at the Atlas Cafe we are having an open forum discussion about this topic. Also, we will play music from 4-6 to demonstrate exactly why a no-music ordinance is so desired. Joining us in this debate will be thirteen angry people staring at their laptops, at least five of whom go out to cafes to "work" on their "work" while we play. Thrill to the vision of me walking from table to table with the tip jar and hearing each of them say "I'm sorry...I have no cash" and me frowning and saying in my best imitation of a Market St panhandler "please don't say you're sorry..."All of this....the scowling...the tip collecting....the laptop working....all of it could still go on if we didn't play a note." --- Craig Ventresco


Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on April 21, 2013 at 4:33am

"I just got word that a real Jazzist will be singing tonight at our gig in Alameda. When I asked this person to scat sing she quickly held up the words to Heebie Jeebies, smiled slyly, dropped the lyric sheet to the ground and yelled out "skid-a-bibbee--booo-la-la-gee". Then she began twirling a parasol. At that point, as if she knew that I was unsure of her true ability to sing jazz, she told me that she is not a full time singer but that she's also a dentist! That clinched it. Everybody knows that you're not a good jazz singer unless you're also a doctor or dentist! At rehearsal we were pleased to hear her say stuff like "I didn't know that this song had a verse but I can learn it and sing it tonight in any key" and "I'm going to be wearing these jazzy vintage shoes". amazing stuff. Like all other singers, she sounds and looks exactly like Billie Holiday. You haven't encountered someone who sounds and looks so much like Billie Holiday since you were last in the (one remaining) used book store and that person humming Strange Fruit walked past. In fact, she sings Strange Fruit all the while holding up a half-eaten kumquat. She wears a flower in her hair, thus channeling Billie Holiday. Oh---and Ella. She just switched channels and channeled Ella. Now she just got back from swimming the channel where she sounded like Gracie Fields. Now she's changing the channel again and watching As the World Turns. I can hear her rehearsing from in here..."skoo-ba-ree-falop". I'm pretty sure she's good. Honestly, I can't tell...." ----Craig Vestresco

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on April 19, 2013 at 11:14pm

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on April 12, 2013 at 4:23pm

Musicians are Instrumental to World Harmony

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on August 17, 2011 at 2:39am
For the rest of history, the human race may not experience another artistic phenomenon equal to 20th Century African American music.
---Fred Logan
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on August 3, 2011 at 2:18pm
I was blessed to work with The Jazz Messengers when the two piano players were Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea.

---Chuck Mangione
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on August 2, 2011 at 8:15pm
"Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn. They teach you there's a boundary line to music. But, man, there's no boundary line to art..."

---Charlie Parker
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on August 1, 2011 at 11:00pm
Jazz is... One of life's greatest gifts: fun found within surprise.

---Author Unknown
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on July 31, 2011 at 6:34pm
The first thing is, jazz is one of the few things to let you know that there is a God and there is a creation.

---Billy Higgins

Members (77)


© 2015   Created by Dr. Nelson Harrison.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service