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.
A fusion of ideas, cultural identities, and genres of music is the best way to describe veteran jazz group Cabo Frio. Emerging from the musically fertile Upstate New York region-home to a host of other acclaimed musicians like Cab Calloway, Chuck Mangione, and Steve Gadd. Cabo Frio's beginnings date back to 1979, when members of the group from the Rochester-Buffalo area joined forces.
Over the past two decades, the group has recorded six albums and toured with the likes of Buddy Rich, Phyllis Hyman, Jeff Lorber, Joan Jett, The Yellow Jackets, Dave Valentine, Paquito D'Rivera, The Crusaders, and Joe Sample. Cabo Frio has participated in national jazz festivals, sharing the bill with such notables as Miles Davis, Carlos Santana, and Kenny G. The group has appeared regularly across the country at such venues as the Newport Jazz Festival, Blue Note in New York City, Blues Alley in Washington D.C., the Baltimore Inner Harbor Concert Series, and Carnegie [Mellon] Hall. Named after a city in Brazil, Cabo Frio has strived to reflect cultural diversity in its music. Influenced by cultures around the world, its members meld their backgrounds and individual sounds to create music that is as diverse as its audience.
Cabo Frio's recording career began in 1982, with the release of their self-titled album; at that time they were at the forefront of the genre of music called fusion. Back on the scene with several original members contributing, Cabo Frio released Island Dance in 2004 on KEZIA Records, nationally distributed by IDN.
Island Dance is fresh new music from Cabo Frio and from the silky smooth "You Don't Know" to the festive "High Tide" featuring Chris Vadala on flute to the title track "Island Dance" featuring John Whitney (guitarist for contemporary jazz great Greg Karukas) one can tell that this project is full of the warmth and quality that has made the contemporary jazz genre so popular.
Reunited for Island Dance were original members Curtis Kendrick (drummer/founder/producer), pianist Joe Santora, guitarist Marc Copani, plus talented newcomer bassist Mark Russell. Also featured is one of the foremost woodwind artist and educators Chris Vadala who is newly signed to KEZIA Records! Chris Vadala has performed and recorded with greats such as Chuck Mangione, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King and Herbie Hancock. Chris Vadala is director of Jazz Studies and associate professor of saxophone at the University of Maryland School of Music. Look for a new release from Chris Vadala on KEZIA Records later on this year!
Your group has been a favorite around Pittsburgh for a couple of decades now since you picked one of our greatest native sons, Kenny Blake, as a member. So please understand that we accept you as family around these parts. You have many fans on this network that will become friends as well. Keep up the great tradition that you helped to pioneer and keep us informed of your activities. Thank you for joining. (Coffee Bean)
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