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.
Mark Koch is the Director of Jazz Guitar for Duquesne University’s Guitar Department and Co-director of student Jazz guitar ensembles.
His guitar teachers were Hoyt "Slim" Bryant, Joe Negri, Ron Anthony, Joe Carola, Pat Monaco, and Bill Clydsdale, Mark also has studied Jazz theory and piano with Robert Doak and composition with Mike Tomaro. Mark Koch also studied with Pat Martino and appeared with Mr. Martino in the documentary, "Pat Martino: Open Road."
As a performer with various ensembles, Koch has opened for John Scofield, Diane Schuur, Tony Bennett, Emily Remler, Leni Stern, Yellow Jackets, Three Dog Night, Joe Beck, Gene Bertoncini and bassist Michael Moore, Delbert McClinton, Randy Brecker, Pat Metheny, Joshua Redman, Joe Pass, Barney Kessel, Stanley Turentine, Concord Jazz Guitar Collective, and Kool and the Gang.
He has accompanied and worked with a variety of artist in performances and/or clinics; Max Roach, H.B. Barnum, Frank Gambale, Emily Remler, Tommy Tedesco, John Pisano, Jimmy Bruno, Howard Alden, Seymour Duncan, Steve Dudas, Johnny Hiland, Bob Babbitt, Carol Kaye, Joe Negri, Bill Warfield, Sheryl Bailey, Mike Stern, Tim Eyermann, Little Anthony, Jerry Vale, Charo, Turtle Island Quartet, Frankie Avalon, Robert Guillaume, Peter Noone, Tommy Roe, Martha Reeves, Al Martino, Jimmy Beaumont, Bobby Rydell, Gianna Russo, Lou Christie, and the PBS My Music Series TV Show with Davey Jones, Roger McGuinn and Mitch Ryder, plus thirty (30) other performers.
Mark is the Administrative Director of the MENC/NAMM/GAMA (Music Educators National Conference / National Association of Music Merchants / Guitar and Accessories Marketing Association) "Teaching Guitar” in the classroom program, which was created to revitalize the guitar in education. This very successful task force has trained more than 1,000 high school and middle school music teachers across the United States, who in turn taught more than 280,000 young guitarists.
His solid reputation as a studio musician had led him to recording sessions for US Airways, Pappan Restaurants, the University of Pittsburgh, Roy Rogers, and Four Star Pizza. He has also worked with local radio and TV stations such as WQED, WTAE, WDVE, 3WS and WPXI and a variety of local musician’s CD projects.
Koch was the musical supervisor and guitar tutor for the Mel Shapiro's "The Lay Of The Land," directed by actress Lee Grant and staring actor Greg Mullavey.
He was also the guitarist for the Pittsburgh Public Theatre Production of "The Hairy Ape" with musical director and Jazz legend Max Roach. The production, directed by George Ferencz, was filmed for the Lincoln Center Archives. He was a Guest Speaker in a 2000 City Theatre production of "Sideman."
Mark Koch endorses Benedetto Guitars, D’Addario Strings and Fender Musical Instruments
Mark, where willl you playing over the holidays?? Would love to get my guys (Kenny & Ken) out to get together with you!! It's been a long time coming!!...Can't believe how time has past! Have a wonderful Christmas!! 'Joy To The World!!' Kristy Will
Kristy and I would love to see you perform sometime. Is there a site I can keep updated on your performances? My daughter Katie lives by the Rhythm House. Do you gig there much? Never will forget the Carol days. I'm proud of you.! You have done very well. Ken
Hey Mark: Wasn't checking regularly so didn't notice that you had agreed to my request to link up! I'm playing regularly again, in part to reclaim my "street creds" as I now publish that stuff on jazz and "emergence" in physics and cognitive science (first of two sections sent off to editors, and in part to play out a bit (with Roy Sonne among others). Best wishes.....mer