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.
Jay Vonada, from Aaronsburg PA, is a trombonist in the central region of Pennsylvania. He has played with
such notables as Russ Kassoff, Dennis Mackrel , Catherine Dupuis, Steve Rudolph, Phil Haynes, Jay Anderson,
Eddie Severn, Mark Lusk, Dan Yoder and Rick Hirsch.
He recorded his debut CD Jammin’ in 2008, featuring his quartet of piano, bass, and drums. Here are some reviews it has received:
From Ed Blanco (ejazz news)
Jammin’ seems a very appropriate title for Jay T. Vonada’s debut release for in many ways the music does come across like
a jazzy jam session in a smoke-filled room of a jazz club and that’s made as a compliment not a criticism for some of the
best jazz you may ever hear will be in one of these places.
From Tony Rogers (jazzcdreviews.com)
From seemingly out of nowhere comes trombonist Jay Vonada, a native of the central Pennsylvania town of Aaronsburg.
He won a scholarship to study at the Berklee College of Music and has played with such jazz luminaries as sax man Bob
Mintzer and vocalist Catherine Dupuis. But his debut debut CD, "Jammin," is a homegrown, self-produced affair, and it's a
From Dan MacIntosh (Audioxposure)
Some have called jazz America’s classical music. Unfortunately, many have also treated jazz as though it were some stuffy,
snooty style, which it was never meant to be. Thankfully, Vonada and friends know it “don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that
swing,” because they swing this baby to the hilt.
From Rachel Sedacca (Indie-Music.com)
Vonada can be proud of this project, showcasing him not just as a trombonist but as a composer and a master of arrangement as well. The proof is in the pudding, and I think this project will give the band momentum and I wish them the
best, I think they’ve got the chops for certain. Well done.
Currently Vonada plays in several bands ranging from Dixieland to Big Band. His current quartet of guitar, bass and drums has played at Fairs and other venues in the central Pennslvania region. He can be reached at his email firstname.lastname@example.org , or his website, www.myspace.com/jjazzbone.