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.
Jimmy Ponder, Nelson Harrison, George Heid, Roger Humphries, hmmm, if I included everyone I love that was originally from Pittsburgh, the list would go on forever.
Favorite Pittsburgh Jazz Venue
Well, I saw some amazing shows(McCoy Tyner, Kenny Burrell, Bill Heid) at the Balcony, and have seen legends(Kenny Burrell, Herb Ellis, Tal Farlow, Charlie Byrd, Elvin Jones) at Manchester, but really anywhere that is supporting live Jazz in Pittsburgh is wonderful in my book!
Born into a family of musicians, I picked up guitar at about 8 years old. My father played guitar and when I was about 5 or 6, I had a tape that had Grant Green's "Idle Moments" on one side and "Feelin' the Spirit" on the other. These great recordings along with "The George Benson Cookbook" and "It's Uptown with the George Benson Quartet" were my earliest inspirations. I have since drawn as many influences and inspirations from whoever and whatever I can and try to make music that stays true to the essence of music, expressing emotions.
I would love to feature "you" as my guest on my show..If I am not your friend..please add me...also please call me @ the offc at 757 538 3540...757 971 3733 for details...click on the banner below to be a guest...JB
Luke, Thanks for remembering our lessons. A lot of my students don't. I can't understand why. Great to hear you're playing. Hope all is well with you. See you when I get back to pionas n' stuff. I'll keep ypu informed of my gigs.