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.
"I first heard the great Harold Betters in the late 70S and he was a master who was very accessible musically
Decades later I got to sit in with him and he played in a nice Italian restaurant in Wilmerding and was very accommodating. Then he played…"
Attended PITT from 1975 to 1979. My son went to business school in 2004 downtown and remained in the area.Also have many friends and relatives there.
Favorite Pittsburgh musicians/performers
Stanley T, George Benson, Ahmad Jamal, Art Blakey, Roy Eldridge, I once met the great Kenny Clarke and bought a Miles cd because he is on it. Ray Brown, I loved Eddie Jefferson when I lived in Pgh.. Nathan Davis is a mentor , I heard Eric Kloss at Sunny Days, The great Harold Betters, Walt Harper, David Moore,Lou Stellute and Jay Willis are awesome, My main brother Dan Wasson on bass! Roger Humpries is still awesome. Dr. Nelson Harrison low to the bone and high in the sky on that Trombetto in the Blues Orphans. Jessica Lee , Tony Campbell, James Johnson is always mean on them drums! Barbara Ray sings sweet blues
Favorite Jazz Radio or media station
I remember WDUQ, and listened to Jazz Alive- wish I would have recorded some of those! They are probably available on cd like Piano Jazz is. I recorded some of them when I got back to Harrisburg(then they called it the American Jazz Radio festival ).Now I am back here listening to DUQ again and hope it stays jazz.
Favorite Pittsburgh Jazz Venue
Heard some great jazz at monday night at AVA's also at CJs where Roger Humphries holds court. the Hill Toppers Pub is very casual and great for blues, Penn Brewery also. Pangea is very nice.Little E's will be a favorite.
I play saxes, flute, and bass since 1966. It was in Pgh. that Nathan Davis showed me the universiality of jazz and jazz training for preparation to play all American musics. I wanted to relocate to a larger venue, work, be a grandpop and enjoy life! So I am back and forth in the area!
I first heard the great Harold Betters in the late 70S and he was a master who was very accessible musically
Decades later I got to sit in with him and he played in a nice Italian restaurant in Wilmerding and was very accommodating. Then he played an Easter show for youth at a Catholic church in Uniontown ! Pied piper on When The Saints. A friend who was given jazz albums asked me if I heard of Harold after reading the liner notes. I told I saw him in my. College days. I showed my buddy who plays bone a AD Harold did for King? Trombones in Downbeat! I have 500 of them as I subscribed June 1975 ( biweekly) to June 2010 lol.
Your comments are so interesting and true. People need to remember what things were like so they appreciates today even more. that's what this network is about... comments from the members directly from their own experience.
As the changing of the season .. so are those that we meet... some stay for a reason why others slip away. But when we think of all the memories some good and some bad -- it was all for a purpose - all did not make us sad. Some were learning experiences as we traveled on our way .. never knowing what the future holds or what the outcome may be ... only one thing we can be sure of as we travel on our way .. and that is God loves us and HE doesn't make mistakes... God -- HE loves us and HE doesn't make mistakes.
Hey, Kev .. sounds like ya had the house jumping .. that's always fulfilling. Staying positive that it all will be coming together .. full circle on our future endeavors .. until then -- will be seeing you soon.
I want to do a short tour (2 weeks) in your area at some clubs. It doesn't have to pay a lot. I have been here 17 years and I need to see if my voice still is good enough for the American audiences. Any suggestions about some places to contact.
Hey! My brother Kevin,thanks much for your comment,yes he helped quite a few people,funny enough i learned more about chords,rhythms,harmonies, voicings and playing off time from him,he gave me a break,he also loved jazz,funny enough i listened and played jazz when not on the road,George Benson,Earl Klugh,Wes,Grant Green etc.,i got more into jazz with him and being around so many great musicians,he brought me to pittsburg twice,again thanks my brother,Emmett North Jr.