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.
Baltimore Celebrates Black Music Month with Exhibit on Local Jazz Superstars
Though it doesn’t come up as often as New York, New Orleans, or Kansas City in discussions about jazz history, Baltimore has always served as an important source of some of America’s most treasured music. Jazz singer, author, and historian Tamm E. Hunt showcases this history at her exhibit at the Pratt Free Library this summer, “The Roots of Jazz Baltimore The Movers, Shakers and Music Makers."
The exhibit provides glimpses of Baltimore's historic jazz life from the 1920s through the present day. Visitors will experience a montage of exceptional Baltimore jazz moments from local street musicians “Snow Ball" and “Tomb Stone" to world class performers like bandleader Cab Calloway (and his siblings Blanche and Elmer), drummer Chick Webb, banjoist Elmer Snowden, singer Billie Holiday and Ragtime piano king Eubie Blake. Images of Pennsylvania Avenue's Royal Theatre and performers Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Pearl Bailey, Louis Jordan, Ruby Glover, Mickey Fields, Roy “Tangle Foot" McCoy, The Left Bank Jazz Society; and Charlie Tilghman's Sphinx Club all validate Baltimore as a major jazz center and contributor to America's indigenous music called jazz.
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