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.
"Mandy, don't be discouraged Sweetie, your doing fine. You listen to Doc. We have been here in Nashville for a long time and you have far surpassed many people that have been at this for years. Your gonna be fine. I love you Sweetie,
"Doc, I couldn't agree more with you about Mandy's new pictures. The only thing I would like to add is "Our Princess is even more beautiful on the inside than she is on the outside." You did a great job at The Preston on Sat.…"
What a wonderful event Sunday turned out to be! It was so good of you to put that event on. You are such a great person. I appreciate you Marion and all of the wonderful things you do for the community.
You were amazing at last nights Blues Reunion as were all of the great artists that were there. I was so touched when you asked Bobby Hebbs family to stand for recognition. God was smiling on your performance last night. I have never heard…"
I just wanted to thank you so much for doing your typical fantastic job last night at the Pig Gig. You were amazing as always and I am sending you a big hug! Today should be a lot of fun doing the Blues Reunion together. I look forward…"
Gary has performed with Kenny Rogers, Helen Cornelius, Dave and Sugar, Lobo, Michelle Wright, Suzy Boggas, Linda Davis and Billy Dean. He was band leader for Razzy Bailey and can be heard on songs by Willy Nelson, Johnny Cash, Mickey Gilley, Johnny Lee, Percy Sledge and Razzy Bailey. He has appeared with various artists on Nashville Now, New Country, Pop Goes The Country, On Stage, HBO Special Delivery, The Grand Ole Opry and The Grand Ole Gospel Hour. Brotherman can be reached at: