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.
Gene Ludwig, Eric DeFade, Billy Price, Lou Stellute!, Max Leake, Sandy Staley, H.B. Bennett, Salsamba, Don Aliquo Jr. & Sr., Chuck Austin, Jimmy Ponder, Matt Ferrante, Dave Pellow, Ken Karsh, No Bad JuJu, Benny Benack,
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I am a freelance designer and full time saxophonist with No Bad JuJu.
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Comment Wall (15 comments)
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THANKS FOR "BEFRIENDING" ME. LOVE BEING WITH THE NEXT
GENERATIONS OF JAZZ PLAYERS TO ENDURE THE LIFE FOR THE
SAKE OF THE MUSIC.......
WHEN I SEE YOU IN PERSON, I HAVE A VERY FUNNY STORY TO
TELL YOU ABOUT RED PRYSOCK... NOT SO FUNNY TO ME AT THE
TIME BUT NONETHELESS VERY FUNNY TO THE LISTENER....
STAY WELL AND HAVE FAITH IN YOUR MUSIC,
Amen Eric, you're onto it! Bring that big sound to Ava. I am so glad that you have grabbed that secret. I always tease the young sax players when they pick up their horn to warm up. I tell them, "You just played more notes than I'm going to play all week." ;-) Their problem, I think, is that they only know how to play a note one way so they have to play a lot of notes to get something said. You wind up hearing all the scales and patterns but no message. I have a copy of a Dizzy Gillespie big band CD that I use to demonstrate with my students. I'm not sure who the tenor player is because I don't have the liner notes but they play an Ab blues and he solos on one note for 3 choruses and has the audience screaming in response. Right on my man.