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.
"Not to make excuses for musicians, but just to shed some light from my perspective: Some musicians are terrified of speaking on a microphone and are never taught how to do anything other than play their instrument. This seems counter-intuitive…"
As our musical icons are graduating into the higher realms we want to keep them fresh in our memories. Please join this group where you can post any obituaries of the ancestors of our tradition for all to read and learn more about them.
I live here, work here and generally have fun here.
Favorite Pittsburgh musicians/performers
I don't have enough time to list all that come to mind.
Favorite Pittsburgh Jazz Venue
Currently CJs in the strip. I miss the Balcony, the Top Shelf, the Tender Trap, Sonny Day's, the Encore, the Manteca, the Crazy Quilt, Too Sweet, the club downstairs at the Roosevelt Hotel. Man I could go on all day with that.
Local jazz musician and a multimedia developer for the WISER institute at UPMC/Pitt.
Mara here. I see you are also a jazz musician, so I am writing to extend to you a personal invitation: My group, the Mara Rosenbloom Quartet will be on tour from New York City next week! We perform original jazz music, & will be kicking off our spring tour in Pittsburgh, Wed, April 14, 8:00pm @ Shadow Lounge. We make this music for sharing! So, I hope you'll be able to join us. You can have a listen at www.mararosenbloom.com, or simply write me for more info!
I drove around about 4 times looking for a place to park in Highland Park while the concert was on. I could have never walked that far to find a place to sit, but hwta I heard of your playing sounded great and what a great turnout for the concert . That's the way it should be here in the "Burg"! Friday's gig was fun too, thanks for making it Max.