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PITTSBURGH JAZZ

Roger Humphries

 

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, Parlan to 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.

 

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Duke Ellington is first African-American and the first musician to solo on U.S. circulating coin

    MARY LOU WILLIAMS     

            INTERVIEW

       In Her Own Words
Michael A. Constable
  • 56, Male
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • United States
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Michael A. Constable and Michele Bensen are now friends
Mar 5, 2009
Michael A. Constable commented on Michael A. Constable's photo
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Danny Conn and Chuck Spadafore

"Thank you very much for the info.Yes, I remember the Holiday House job was the first "regular" income dad had. A lot of musician's names became familiar to me because of that place. Thanks again."
Mar 5, 2009
Michele Bensen commented on Michael A. Constable's photo
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Danny Conn and Chuck Spadafore

"hi Michael, That's Bob Insko on bass. He and I have done a few concerts together. I sure miss your dear father. I always had such admiration for him as a person and deepest respect for his musicial talent. He and my ex worked together for…"
Mar 4, 2009
Michael A. Constable posted a photo

Danny at James Street

Chuck Spadafore, Danny Conn and Bob Insko jammin'.
Feb 28, 2009
Ashley left a comment for Michael A. Constable
"There r a few places 2 hunt, but not a lot. I bet Wexford has changed so much since the 1970s. A lot of new buildings were built, good but bad. Good thing is I have more stores 2 shop at, bad thing is I'm a nature and animal lover so when they…"
Feb 28, 2009
Ashley left a comment for Michael A. Constable
"Hello, Yes there is still a few a places to hunt but, not a lot. Wexford still is a great town, but probably a lot different then what u would remember it to be. The people who work for the construction agency took down a lot of trees, even though…"
Feb 28, 2009
Michael A. Constable joined Valerio Gianferro's group
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Sixlips 5et

An Italian group of fusion jazz!!!! ARMONY & SOUL!!!See More
Feb 27, 2009
Troy W Campbell and Michael A. Constable are now friends
Feb 27, 2009
Michael A. Constable left a comment for George C Jones
"Thanks for the Friend Add George. I hope I can continue to contribute in my own small way here and it's been a pleasure "meeting" all these great musicians that knew my dad; I had no idea of how many of you guys regularly played…"
Feb 27, 2009
Michael A. Constable is now friends with Otto Spruill, Bob Breen and Virgil Walters
Feb 26, 2009
Michael A. Constable posted videos
Feb 26, 2009
Michael A. Constable posted a photo

Danny Conn 9

Danny and George Jones (?)
Feb 25, 2009
Michael A. Constable commented on George C Jones's photo
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Danny Cohn and Bobby Negri

"I remember Danny Conn's "Perm Years" very well. Do you know when and where that picture was taken? The cigar in Danny's right hand is more than likely a Garcia y Vega."
Feb 25, 2009
Michael A. Constable posted a video
Feb 25, 2009
Michael A. Constable posted a song

 play Horoscope, Virgo Movement - Dodo Marmarosa

Pittsburgh 1958
06:59
Feb 25, 2009
Virgil Walters left a comment for Michael A. Constable
"Great pictures, your dad was a great player with a big heart for everyone. I was lucky enough to get to hear him play from 1969 on. Thanks for sharing. Virgil"
Feb 25, 2009

Profile Information

Pittsburgh Connection
Born and raised in East Liberty. 3rd son of Danny Conn. Everyone on the list below (except Sandy, whom I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting) has either kissed me, hugged me or patted me on the head in my lifetime. I am EXTREMELY happy to have meet them all on a personal level as a youth, usually in my dad's musty old cellar where they would play the best music I ever heard until the wee hours of the morning; my Mom, Claire, would just smile and make more coffee! Many days I would go to school at Larimer on only 4 hours sleep! Spider, thanks for letting me sit on your lap while you played that one night! Remember how you told me how you got your name? Love you man. Carlo, you beautiful, beautiful man. Feb 8, Feb 8....I will NEVER forget your birthday my friend. You were taken WAY too early..... Bobby, I remember having breakfast with you, LIFE cereal, on Shetland Ave.; you in your boxers and me in my pajamas with the stars and moons on the feet. Bill Price, you looked like you could have been an Insurance Salesman, but you played man, you played! and Chuck, you large, soft wonderful human being...you were as cool and nice as you were tall. I could go on forever, but .... (maybe I will blog later)
Favorite Pittsburgh musicians/performers
Danny Conn, Ron Anthony, Jay Constable, Joe Dallas, Carlo Galluzzo, Eric Kloss, Michael Marmarosa, Bobby Negri, Joe Negri, Bill Price, Buzzy Renn, Spider Rondinelli, Chuck Spatafore, Henry Sciullo, Sandy Staley, John Wilson.
Favorite Jazz Radio or media station
Three men die and go to Heaven. St. Peter says, "Before I let you in, I need to know your financial status; please tell me how much money you made on Earth in your best year." The first man says, "I made well over a million dollars one year" "Oh, what did you do?" asked St. Peter. "I was a corporate executive for Steve Wynn." "Oh, fine, you go up THIS path.", says St. Peter. The second man said, "I made $100,000 one year" "Oh, what did you do?" "I was a Union Surveyor in Las Vegas in the 1980's" "Oh, OK, You go up THIS path then." The last man said, "I think I cleared $15,000 one year." To which St. Peter replied, "Oh yeah, what instrument did YOU play?"
Favorite Pittsburgh Jazz Venue
How do you get a Bass Player off your front porch?
You pay him for the Pizza.
About Me:
I have NO musical ability what-so-ever! My Dad's genes went to Dante and Jay. I am in awe of those of you that can earn a living doing it. I, on the other hand, do possess a very good mathematical mind and managed to become licensed as a Professional Land Surveyor in Nevada. I am married and have 4 daughters, all of whom are blessed but can't play music either!
I would say I like hanging out with musicians, but then someone might think I was the drummer. (Rim Shot goes here)
We enjoy LISTENING to you guys! Keep it up.
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Obit and follow-up

Posted on April 1, 2009 at 1:30am 0 Comments

Obituary: Daniel 'Danny Conn' Constable / Versatile jazz trumpeter



June 13, 1928 - Nov. 2, 2006



Friday, November 03, 2006

By Nate Guidry, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



Danny Conn, a lyrical and versatile trumpeter whose self-effacing style provided the perfect accompaniment to everyone from 1950s burlesque dancers to Frank Sinatra, died yesterday from complications related to thyroid cancer. He was 78.



"He was such a strong player," said… Continue

Comment Wall (11 comments)

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At 10:43pm on February 27, 2009, Ashley said…
There r a few places 2 hunt, but not a lot. I bet Wexford has changed so much since the 1970s. A lot of new buildings were built, good but bad. Good thing is I have more stores 2 shop at, bad thing is I'm a nature and animal lover so when they took down the trees for the buildings I was pretty upset.
Ashley
At 10:39pm on February 27, 2009, Ashley said…
Hello,
Yes there is still a few a places to hunt but, not a lot. Wexford still is a great town, but probably a lot different then what u would remember it to be. The people who work for the construction agency took down a lot of trees, even though there still is enough!!! Personally, I think Wexford is one of the best little towns.
Ashley
At 7:43pm on February 24, 2009, Billy Kuhn said…
Michael - I loved your Dad and think of him often. He was a legendary player and a wonderful person. Your tribute to him was really appreciated, and I will make sure my in-laws, Donna and Bobby Negri, check out the pictures you posted. Say hello to your mother Claire from my wife Kim and I, and keep your Dad's memory alive. Knowing him was a gift!
At 11:57am on February 24, 2009, Virgil Walters said…
Great pictures, your dad was a great player with a big heart for everyone. I was lucky enough to get to hear him play from 1969 on.
Thanks for sharing.
Virgil
At 9:43pm on February 23, 2009, Reid Hoyson said…
Hi Michael,
These are great pictures that you are sharing with us. Your dad was such an important part of this jazz community. He truly was a teacher, as others have mentioned. He was always respectful in the process. He touched many, his spirit is strong.
Thanks,
Reid Hoyson
At 3:51pm on February 23, 2009, Roger Dannenberg said…
Hi Michael,
Thanks for putting up those pictures of your dad. I had the privilege of playing with him many times and always admired his playing and spirit -- when Danny was on the gig, you always knew there would be some great playing and everyone would be happy.

-Roger
At 2:38pm on February 23, 2009, Max Leake said…
Great pictures Mike!
At 1:08pm on February 23, 2009, Valerio Gianferro said…
Nice to meet you Michael!!!!

Sixlips
Valerio Gianferro
At 11:27am on February 23, 2009, Bruce C said…
Great job!...Well done!...a great documentation of the life of your father...and great insights to a working musicians career, and some of the many people he shared his work with...a classic album of images...My best to you ...always b
At 5:42am on February 23, 2009, Ed Skirtich said…
Hi Michael,

Wow! You did a great job of giving a tribute to your dad!

Your dad was such a warm, embracing human being.

He was so nice to me when I had him as an instructor at Duquesne University's Summer Jazz Camps when Dr. John Wilson directed the jazz program at Duquesne.

I'm also a trumpet player and your Dad was always showing me ways of how to play chord changes on small and large jazz band pieces. The stuff he showed me was great and he was a fantastic trumpet player.

He also showed me different ways of holding the trumpet and was always passing musical knowlrdge onto to me even after I had a stroke back in 1994-95. He was very encouraging to me to keep playing trumpet during the darkest hours of my life. I'll never forget him!

In fact, I still practice the Miles Davis transcription book he recommended today and in the future.

I really apologize that I wasn't able to pay my respects to Danny and meet your family, but we may hook up eventually and maybe even play a gig together.

He also did a lot of great masterclasses, and got me hooked on Miles Davis transcription books.

I'm really sorry I was never able to pay my last respects at the funeral home, but I will keep him and your family in my prayers

Thanks again for making that picture tribute for your dad.

Sincerely,
Ed Skirtich
Trumpet Player/Artistic Director/Jazz Workshop, Inc.
ejskirtich@comcast.net
(412) 422-4149 (H)
(412) 841-8046 (C)

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