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.
The Shango Band is a D.C. area reggae group that sings about real life and current world issues with a likeable mix of smooth, lovers-edged tunes and harder, more "true" roots tunes. With all-encompassing sound, strong instrumentation and quality songwriting, the Shango Band has been performing since the late 1980's and won the award for Best Reggae Band in the 2001 D.C. Annual Reggae Music Awards. The band's bass-player, lead singer, songwriter and producer, Englishman, spent a number of years in England as a youth. He has performed with many reggae bands there and around the U.S. for about 30 years. Englishman received WAMMIE awards in 1989 for Best Male Vocalist, in 1990 for Best Instrumentalist, three in 1991 and two more in 1992. He has been a Master Artist in the D.C. Folks Arts Program for the Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Other members of the Shango Band also have performed with reggae bands throughout Europe and the U.S. They include Eric (Spiduki) McDermott (drummer/singer) and Jackson (Professor) Briscoe, a graduate of Howard University and MIT, where he studied mathematics and classical music. The Shango Band performs at many university night clubs and international events in Europe and the U.S. Their live performance keeps the audience feeling upbeat, irie and positive! Englishman and the Shango Band recorded their latest CD, Got to Know Your Purpose, in Iceland, while completing their European tour.
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