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 was born and raised in Pittsburgh. Currently live in Westchester County, NY just outside of New York City.
Favorite Pittsburgh musicians/performers
Kenny Blake, Eric Kloss, Dwayne Dolphin, Don Aliquo Jr., Leon Dorsey, Ned Gould, Frank Mallah, Nelson Harrison, Cecil Brooks, Cecil Brooks III, Nathan Davis, Kenny Powell, Tony Cambell, Roger Humpries, Tim Tucker
Past: Stanley Turrentine, Tommy Turrentine, George Benson, Earl Fartha Hines, Roy Eldridge, Art Blakey, Billy Eckstine, Dodo Marmarosa, Ray Brown, Ahmad Jamal, Errol Garner, Grover Mitchell, Billy May
I am currently Lead Alto Saxophone in The Count Basie Orchestra, I've been in the band full-time since 2001, I was a long term member of the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, and have played with The Duke Ellington Orchestra, The Illinois Jaquet Big Band, Paquito D'Rivera and the United Nation Orchestra, The Chico O'Farrill Afro-Cuban Orchestra, Charli Persip Supersound. I've been fortunate to keep working in this business and tour the world. Some of the best musicians in the world have come from Pittsburgh PA.
Marshall, what up man, thanks for the shout-out; I didn't know you were from Pittsburgh, I thought you were from New York. Anyway, good to be here on the Pittsburgh Jazznet. Hoipe to get together and play soon. Take care.
A pleasure to meet you here in the network. Wow, Basie band and other amazing groups that you have worked with. You are
one of the true spirits of Jazz today. Yes, I have heard Nikki, a very talented young lady, and going far, I am sure.
Thanks for stopping by to say hello. All the best,