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




What is happening to live music venues locally and nationally and why? Are live musicians an endangered species or will we stand up and fight back? Weigh in!

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Members: 146
Latest Activity: Feb 2

Discussion Forum

More on Walt Harper's Attic

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison Oct 7, 2014. 0 Replies

Comment Wall


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Comment by DR. LEO CASINO on January 13, 2009 at 2:18am
Before he died, Miles knew what the future would entail. He started playing music that could be danced to as well as listened to. Stanley and George Benson are perfect examples of going beyond the comfort zone and broaden ones scope.

I have played many times with his keyboard player Demore Brown who is electro-fying.

The main thing is to seek knowledge and don't be bitter over the scene, smile and the world smiles wqith you, cry and you cry alone.
Comment by Keith A. Dames on January 9, 2009 at 9:46pm
It was suugested to me by a veteran Vocalist...when there isn't any gigs...create a gig...make it happen...there are 4 types of people...People who makes things happen,(movers & shakers)... people who watch things happen, people who talk about what happened, and people who wonder, what the hell happened?(smile)
Comment by Max Leake on January 8, 2009 at 3:56pm
I am joining this discussion late. I don't always have time to sign in and participate.

A lot of what was said here are age old discussions about un-educated audiences, the growth of accessible home-based entertainment, and the lack of effort by musicians in presenting new and fresh material. They are true today and were true 20 years ago. I believe that all of these things feed on each other and grow worse with time. I remember putting lots of effort years ago in to writing original material, rehearsing bands, putting together shows only to have the audiences requesting "My Funny Valentine" and having little interest in hearing something that they weren't familiar with. At some point you stop putting the extra effort out > Fewer people come out, as they get older and have responsibilities > The clubs stop having live music > Unless you have an alternate source of income, stay single or are traveling beyond your area, you need to get a day gig to support your family > you have less time to work on new ideas... and round and round it goes. Another thing that happens is that the audience that sees Gershwin, Ellington, Porter, etc as their standards are aging and don't come out as often as people who see the Beatles, Sly Stone, Stevie, Motown, EWF, Sting and other music of the 60s, 70s and beyond as their standards. I don't think that means we should totally abandon older standards and style, but many of us are stuck in time (I include myself). Think about it, people who grew up watching Ed Sullivan are now in their 50s and 60s.

I think Sean and Tony both had great points about exploring alternative ways of funding and changing how we do things to match the times.

I for one have made a New Year's resolution to try to renew my energy that I put in to my music. RH Factor had our 1st of what I hope to be many rehearsals this year. We are going to introduce a lot of new material. During the holiday break, I actually sat down and practiced. (something that I haven't done in years) I have gotten so busy just trying to survive and provide for my family that the rest of life gets shoved aside.

Here's to a great 2009 for all of us. "Jazz is Life is Jazz is Life"
Comment by James R. Meny on December 31, 2008 at 9:07pm
Comment by Jazz Surgery w/ Tony Campbell on December 31, 2008 at 9:02pm
I have always started music or jam sessions while living here in Pittsburgh. There are people who have clubs that want live Jazz ! The musicians have to have proper rehearsal techinques, show type performances and the people will respond. The club owners will respect you as a musician and buseness people,also you will build a following !!!!! As Roger Humphries has taught me the MUISC(JAZZ IS IN YOU) where ever you go Music (Jazz) lives.!!!!!!! (Bird lives!!!)
It is up to us to sustain the high standard that has been set. (ie STANLEY T.)
Comment by Debi Arnett on December 31, 2008 at 2:55pm
I heard about a new Jazz venue in the Pine Tree Shoppes in Wexford at the D'vine Wine Bar and Lounge. They only are listing one show booked in January so maybe that would be an opportunity for some musicians to contact this merchant for bookings
Comment by Kevin Amos on December 31, 2008 at 3:54am
I hate when I type too fast. People tend to get it wrong. I meant will money be drying up from places like the Cultural Trust?
Comment by Kevin Amos on December 31, 2008 at 3:50am
What are people planning to to in a struggling economy? Will money be dying up form places like the Cultural Trust to pay folks to do gigs. Will folks create their own perfomance spaces? We we resort to playing back in the neighborhoods?
How will folks utilize the technology available to get the word out about their perfomances and recordings?

A lot of stuff to ponder but it's time for folks to get off their you know what. Either folks will do business to get work and promote themselves or....get the business.

Comment by Diva JC on November 23, 2008 at 6:22pm
I'm asking all of you to call your library and request that they purchase my book and CDs for circulation. They can buy the book at this link:

Comment by Phat Man Dee on October 2, 2008 at 8:48pm
This is a fascinating discussion, I really dig what Sean J and Tony D and George H have had to say, I for one, will sing anywhere someone wont stop me. That has included storm sewers in Los Angeles to salt flats beneath flaming lotus sculptures 15 feet high and on 3 story high traveling Victorian houses. Quality of music is def key, and an honest approach to a new audience who may actually have no idea that what they are listening to is called jazz, be it cloaked in fire or clown makeup.

Example: I have a gig at Pegasus, tonight. I am singing to backing tracks. I am doing this as a concession to the venue, they are not set up for live musicians on their dance floor, but I know from experience that if I take the music (new compositions, new arrangements, played by local young Pgh jazz superstars, you can hear a new track right now on my profile, recorded at local studios) into unlikely venues, someone will book me on a party or a gig where I can and will call live musicians to play with me. (And I am still waiting for a musician to call me, but that is another discussion for another time...... ;) .. )

I have spoken to my sidemen and friends about this, though we don't like it, we do prefer to be with each other live and not memorex, but if the venue can't afford it, I mean if I were playing for like a $500 guarantee and still went with tracks that would be another issue entirely, but I am not doing that, I am playing a gig and people love the music and it is a taste for them to come and hear it done in person. I consider me singing to tracks in unlikely venues to be a kind of "gateway" experience which I hope will lead to a booking for the band.

So, anyhow, I think there are alot of issues and we do need to be creative in how we get the music to the people and where and when that might be. And we need to school ourselves and make sure our stuff is real and valid and not just rehashed standards that sound like we microwaved them. ( I am as guilty as anyone.....)

I look forward to continuing this journey with everybody here and in the world at large.

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