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, Parlanto 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.
JBC Band and Show, Pyrymyd, Pamoja, Sonny and the Satans, Funk Inc, Six Day Thing, The Del Tones, Bright Moments, Consolidated Energy, New Identity, Signs of Time, Aurora Borealis, LAW, Hot Damn... etc etc etc
Favorite Pittsburgh Jazz Venue
The Crawford Grill, played my last gig in Pittsburgh there with RPM, Sept. 1981
Walt Harpers' Attic
Pixburger for life
Began playing drums in early 60's took lessons at Babe Fabrizi's in Wilkinsburg, then from Dave Lee. I used to love sitting in with the grown folks at jam sessions on Rosedale St. in Homewood. Played in many R&B, Funk, Jazz and Rock bands throughout the 1970s.
about some of those bands. For instance, I never knew that there was any Pittsburgh connection with Pamoja. You're talking about the same group that recorded "Oooh Baby" on Kieper? I always assumed they were from Chicago.
So true Nelson, I am happy to be here. I realize the lable 'Smooth' is all about marketing. I thought it was a strong product though, all of the artists concerts and events are always well attended in our area and the demographic is certainly as or more affuent than that of other genres. 'Real' Jazz unfortunately won't make money. I thought smooth had a chance to introduce folk to the world of Jazz.
You'll find plenty of smooth jazz and every other variety n this network. Smooth jazz is actually over 100 years old. It's what jazz musicians play when they play for dancers, it's not a separate genre of music. The radio stations went to corporate formulas and made the music so impersonal that it became merely a background soundtrack.
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