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PITTSBURGH JAZZ

 

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.

 

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

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            INTERVIEW

       In Her Own Words

James Ingram, Grammy-Winning & Chart-Topping R&B Singer, Dies at 66

James Ingram, Grammy-Winning & Chart-Topping R&B Singer, Dies at 66





James Ingram, Grammy-Winning & Chart-Topping R&B Singer, Dies at 66



R&B singer James Ingram, who collected two Grammy Awards and a pair of No. 1Billboard Hot 100 hits over his decades-long career, has died at age 66. The news was shared via Twitter by Ingram's friend and creative partner Debbie Allenon Tuesday (Jan. 29).

There are no details yet about when or how Ingram died.

"I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir," Allen tweeted. "He will always be cherished, loved and remembered for his genius, his love of family and his humanity. I am blessed to have been so close. We will forever speak his name."

The singer collected two Grammys during his career: His song "One Hundred Ways" won best male R&B performance in 1981 and his duet with Michael McDonald on "Yah Mo B There" won best R&B performance by a duo or group with vocals in 1984. He was also nominated for back-to-back best original song Oscars in 1993 and 1994, for co-writing "The Day I Fall in Love" from Beethoven's 2nd and "Look What Love Has Done" from Junior.

Ingram charted nine hits on the Hot 100, including a pair of No. 1s: "Baby Come to Me," with Patti Austin, in 1983, and "I Don't Have the Heart" in 1990. Other top 20-charting Hot 100 hits included "Just Once" (No. 17 in 1981, Quincy Jones featuring Ingram), "Yah Mo Be There" (No. 19 in 1984, with Michael McDonald) and "Somewhere Out There" (No. 2 in 1987, with Linda Ronstadt). He also logged 19 hits on the Adult Contemporary airplay chart and 18 entries on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

He also tallied hits as a songwriter, co-penning Michael Jackson's top 10 Hot 100 hit "P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)," from the Thriller album, as well as songs recorded by Pointer Sisters, George Benson, Ray Charles, Shalamar and others.

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James Ingram, Grammy-winning R&B singer, dies at 66




Grammy-winning R&B singer James Ingram, who co-wrote Michael Jackson's "P.Y.T." and had two hits that hit number 1 on the Billboard 100, his creative partner Debbie Allen said Tuesday. He was 66.

"I have lost my dearest friend and creative partner James Ingram to the Celestial Choir," Allen posted on Twitter. "He will always be cherished, loved and remembered for his genius, his love of family and his humanity. I am blessed to have been so close. We will forever speak his name."

The cause of Ingram's death was not yet released.

Ingram, originally from Ohio, got his start in the 1970s with the band Revelvation Funk and then played keyboard for Ray Charles. Ingram charted nine hits on the Hot 100, including two that topped the charts: "Baby Come to Me," with Patti Austin, in 1983, and "I Don't Have the Heart" in 1990. 

Ingram has been nominated for 14 Grammy Awards, winning for "100 Ways" in 1981 and for "Yah Mo B There" in 1984. 

Ingram collaborated closely with Quincy Jones over the years, including co-writing Michael Jackson's "P.Y.T" with Jones on the "Thriller" album. He also wrote songs for Pointer Sisters, George Benson, Ray Charles and more, according to Billboard.

James Ingram, a Hitmaking Voice of ’80s R&B, Is Dead at 66

James Ingram on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” in 1990. Among his many collaborations with the producer Quincy Jones, he participated in the all-star charity single “We Are the World” in 1985.CreditAlice S. Hall/NBC, via Getty Images
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James Ingram on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” in 1990. Among his many collaborations with the producer Quincy Jones, he participated in the all-star charity single “We Are the World” in 1985.CreditCreditAlice S. Hall/NBC, via Getty Images

  • Jan. 29, 2019


James Ingram, whose voice — technically precise, crisp and reserved, yet full of audacious feeling — made him one of the defining singers of R&B in the 1980s, has died. He was 66.

The actress and choreographer Debbie Allen, a frequent collaborator with Mr. Ingram on musical theater projects, announced his death on Twitteron Tuesday, calling him her “dearest friend and creative partner.” She did not say where or when he died or specify the cause.

Just as R&B’s “quiet storm” phase was peaking, Mr. Ingram was plucked from side-gig obscurity by the producer Quincy Jones to appear on his 1981 album, “The Dude.”

Mr. Jones discovered Mr. Ingram on a demo of “Just Once,” written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, which he sang for $50. Mr. Jones loved not just the song but the singer as well, and he called Mr. Ingram — who initially hung up on him — and invited him to perform “Just Once” and another song, “One Hundred Ways,” on that album.


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Both songs became huge hits, cracking the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100. “One Hundred Ways” earned Mr. Ingram a Grammy in 1982 for best male R&B vocal performance.



James Ingram sings "One Hundred Ways" and "I Don't Have The Heart" on "The Tonight Show" (Jay Leno, guest host) in 1990.CreditCreditVideo by DavEvans066

Up until Mr. Jones rang him up, Mr. Ingram had been content in the background. “I was never no singer; I never shopped a deal, none of that,” he told The Chicago Tribune in 2012.

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But his voice — austere, luscious, commanding — was foreground material. His music was gentlemanly and romantic, the aural equivalent of being courted.

Mr. Ingram was born on Feb. 16, 1952, and raised in Akron, Ohio. He sang in a church choir — his father was a deacon — and taught himself to play piano. After high school, he passed up a track scholarship to focus on music, eventually moving to Los Angeles.


Mr. Ingram performing at a jazz festival in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2008, the year he released a gospel album, “Stand (in the Light).”CreditSupri/Reuters
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Mr. Ingram performing at a jazz festival in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2008, the year he released a gospel album, “Stand (in the Light).”CreditSupri/Reuters

When Mr. Jones discovered him, Mr. Ingram had been inching his way into the music business for about a decade. He had been a pianist for Ray Charles; played in a band, Revelation Funk, which contributed a song to the soundtrack of the 1975 movie “Dolemite”; played in one of Dick Clark’s support bands; and done side work as a demo singer.

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