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.
"Pattye, our prayers and thoughts are with you and Gene's family. Gene provided so many musical opportunities for so many. He was truly a gracious person, on and off the bandstand. Playing with him was a thrill, and he brought joy to the…"
I was very saddened to hear about Bobby's death this past week. As you know, he was truly a great man and will be missed by many.
I have so many really great memories of playing with him and he was always so supportive! Wish I…"
I spent roughly 35 years living, playing, teaching and starting my family in the Burgh!
Favorite Pittsburgh musicians/performers
I love em all!
Don Aliquo Sr. of course
are on my short list!!
Originally from Pittsburgh, a city with a rich jazz tradition, saxophonist Don Aliquo grew up listening and learning from his father, a well-respected jazz artist himself. Growing up in this fertile environment, Don had the opportunity to play and record with musicians like Roger Humphries, David Budway, Dwayne Dolphin and Joe Harris. He soon began his professional career, performing with the legendary Buddy Rich in his early twenties. In 1999, he moved to the Nashville area to teach at Middle Tennessee State University where he is now the Director of Jazz Studies. Since arriving in Nashville he has performed in concerts and recordings with some of the nation's leading jazz artists including Gary Burton (Journey Home, Summit- DCD416) , Rufus Reid (Jazz Folk Young Warrior YW300), and Scott Robinson.
His latest recording, Jazz Folk (Oct. 2006) has been described as “a strong, engaging effort, full of inspired moments”, and showcases his talents as a composer as well as his melodic approach to the saxophone. Featuring Rufus Reid, Clay Jenkins, Dana Landry and Jim White the record has received critical acclaim and extensive national airplay Aliquo's previous release Another Reply (CAP 964) also broke the top 20 for airplay on the Jazz Week charts. Don's previous self-produced releases February Regrets (1997) and Power of Two (1999) were also critically acclaimed. Power of Two was featured on Jazz South Radio; a syndicated program carried by more than 240 stations on four continents and was nominated for Nashville Music Award’s Jazz Album of the year in 2000.
Internationally renowned bassist Rufus Reid recently had this to say about Don: Don Aliquo is a consummate player and composer. His new recording," Another Reply" was a real pleasure. His playing, compositions, and program were stellar. His music has the power and control of the tradition while putting a personal stamp throughout the presentation.
Besides his duties as director of the MTSU jazz program, Don runs the MTSU Jazz Artist Series which brings internationally acclaimed jazz artists to the Nashville area to perform. A partial list of artists who have appeared includes Phil Woods, Bennie Golson, Tim Hagans, Randy Brecker, Eddie Daniels, and Kenny Werner. Don holds the M.M. and the B. MusEd. from Duquesne University and has also studied at the Berklee College of Music as well as privately with Joseph Viola, Marino Galluzzo, Eric Kloss and Jimmie Mosher among others.