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PITTSBURGH JAZZ

 

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

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            INTERVIEW

       In Her Own Words
Moe Seager
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Moe Seager Jazz Poet

Profile Information

Favorite website
http://www.myspace.com/bluenotemetaphor
Favorite blog
http://moeseager.blogspot.com
Pittsburgh Connection
A native of East Liberty,Pittsburgh, Moe Seager lives in Paris where he publishes poetry and records and performs jazz-poetry with his Blue Note
Metaphor ensemble.The project was co-founded by fellow Paris expat, Trumpeter, Rasul Siddik. The ensemble came about thanks to another jazz-poetry band of 2 - Max Roach and Amiri Baraka - who introduced Seager to Siddik at the 1996 Paris Jazz Festival. The group is near finishing its second album.

For the past 3 years Moe's e-journal " Paris Calling"; poems,stories and political commentary, goes out as a direct email to a readership of several thousands around the world. His send includes direct links to his music and earlier written texts. To receive it, contact: moeseagers@yahoo.com

Many of Moe's poems and jazz lyrics are created from his Pittsburgh experiences. He can be heard in clubs and venues (in Pgh) as he visits town each year. In the meantime Moe performs in Paris, at home at the Duc des Lombards club, le Miroirterie and in any number of New York's haunts,in Harlem at St. Nick's Pub, the Lennox Lounge, Minton's Playhouse; downtown at the Poet's Club, the DUMBO festival and in Brooklyn night spots.

From Pittsburgh Moe won a Golden Quill award in Journalism, "One Day Longer Than Pittston", In Pittsburgh weekly, Sept.1988. He received an International Human Rights award from the University of Pittsburgh,1990. From 1985-1990, Moe founded,wrote and directed the Pittsburgh Guerilla Street Theater, doing the "Shadow Project" each August to commemorate the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.In the same period his commissioned works for stage were performed in Pittsburgh and for several out-of-town venues.While collaborating with mime artist Marc Thompson, Moe included music scores and choreography in his stage works, writing his own lyrics to the scores.In 1990 the French Ministry of Culture published Moe's lengthy poem dedicated to Nicaragua, "Rio Escondido". Two years later Busking Editions,Paris, published his poetry collection "Fishermen and Pool Sharks". In 2003, his collection "One World",Cairo press, was published entirely in Arabic translation by Sammy Stelios, Moe's poems and short stories have been published throughout the U.S.,France, Bahrain, elsewhere.

Moe attributes his wider jazz appreciation to his days as a founder and broadcaster of WYEP fm in 1972. From the station's Cable Place,Oakland basement Moe spinned jazz tracks weekly from 3 a.m to 7 a.m. Equally,he fondly remembers the early 70's as a regular in Sunny Days club in Oakland, listening to Spyder Rondinelli, Eric Claus, Kenny Blake and a line up of guest artists. In the 80's as a member of the Kuntu Poets, Moe read with Rob Penny, Chawley Williams, Lamont Steptoe, Dennis Brutus and Valerie Lawrence. From 1987-1991,his last years living in Pittsburgh he hosted a 30 minute poetry show, The Bards of Three Rivers. "On occasion I would read my own works and works from Langston Hughes with jazz background tracks from Lester Bowie and Pharoah Sanders.The combination of jazz to my spoken word was performance art."

"I'll never forget being invited to sit in once with the Centre Avenue Poets, the grand daddy bards of the Hill District, who met early Saturday evenings at the Crawford Grill.Yeah, these bards laid down poetry just before it was time for Blakey,Benson, Jamal, Turntine, to take the stage. On that particular evening , the Grill now shut down, we met at Kelley's Bar in East Liberty.The reading finished with newly awarded Obey winner, Yale Younger Drama Writers winner, Hill poet and playwright, August Wilson. The man was awesome! Hey, we poets understood that our verse was the spoken language of jazz. I thought, why not deliver my poems musically, my voice as instrument".

About Poetry and Jazz, Moe says " As a kid in Pittsburgh I started writing poetry at age 8. At the same time I was thrilled to hear radio and television plays of jazz tunes like Harlem Nocturne, Water Mellon Man, The Look of Love and the Bossa Nova craze ushered in by Stan Getz, Jobim, and Sergio Mendez.I heard Song For My Father by Horace Silver, featuring our own Roger Humphries on drums. I wore that record out! I remember singing poetry lines to it and feeling good in my skin, home in my soul. At 10 years old, late one night I watched Steve Allen on piano accompany Jack Keroac reading from "On the Road", on television stage. I knew then and there that I was forever changed, thirsty for the alchemy of Be Bop and Beat poetry, the upward spirals of Coltrane's riffs and me letting go with the language of the heart. I felt the urge and flow of poetry to jazz. I'm never so free, more expressive, than when I'm on stage, a pumped and throbbing jazz ensemble pushing me forward to poem, often taking the poem song to the bridge and flying off in improv, coming back in with the beat,melody and the word. Designed to morph, never the same, the last time like the first time - always unique".

Blue Note Metaphor jazz-poetry ensemble:
Moe Seager, vocals, author - all lyrics.
Rasul Siddik, Trumpet, flutes
Katy Roberts, Piano
Xavier Padilla, Bass
Ichiro Onoe, Drums

Guest Artists:
Brad Wheeler, Chicago. Tenor Saxophone (Dear Creation)
Pierre Chaz, Paris. Guitar (4 a.m.Pittsburgh, Excerpt to Liberation)
Mickey Neilson, Dublin. Guitar (Dear Creation)
Ronin Guilfoyle, Dublin. Bass ( Dear Creation)
Connor Guilfoyle,Dublin. Drums (Dear Creation)
Favorite Pittsburgh musicians/performers
Billy Strayhorn, Art Blakey, Ahmed Jamal, Roger Humphries, George Benson,Nelson Harrison, Howey Alexander,Eric Claus, Spyder Rondinelli, Kenny Blake,Billy Price, East Liberty's Gene Kelley ,East Liberty poet Lamont B. Steptoe, poet/playwright August Wilson,poets Dennis Brutus Chawley Williams and Rob Penny, mime artist Marc Thompson , my first stage director - City Theater's Mark Masterson, filmmaker George Romero, WAMO am "Easy 86 jazz radio", the masterful jazz radio hosts Tony Mowad and Frank Greenlee... and soooo many others!!
Favorite Jazz Radio or media station
WBGO fm Newark.
AlJazeera news network English broadcast.
Favorite Pittsburgh Jazz Venue
The Shadow Lounge. The Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, the legendary houses - the Crawford Grill, the Hurricane.
About Me:
I'm about creating poems, many of which are put to jazz arrangement for stage and recording studio by my band,Blue Note Metaphor.I'm a socially conscious human, exercising the Poet's role as voice of the community - local and global. We are messengers for the quality of life - and the lack of it! In the tradition of jazz-poets, Langston Hughes, Kenneth Patchin, Jack Keroac, Amiri Baraka, I am wed, a natural marriage, Poetry to Jazz.
Life is short - So am I.
Keep the Beat on the Pulse of Life!
Website:
http://www.myspace.com/bluenotemetaphor
Artist or Fan
artist, fan

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Moe Seager's Blog

2nd Annuel Jazz-Poetry Concert by Moe Seager and Friends

Posted on July 11, 2011 at 7:30pm 0 Comments

Monday, July, 11, 2011. 7:30-10:30 Park Bruges Restaurant, 5801 Bryand St., Highland Park. Free/No cover.

Moe Seager, Paris to Pittsburgh. Poet, singer. Hill Jordan-trombone, Lydia Powell-violin, Dave Pellow-bass, Spyder Rondinelli-drums, Plus: Jazz Dance by the Pillow Project  dance company.

Special guests...

To give back to my hometown.

Moe: 1 646 378 9596 

Comment Wall (6 comments)

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At 2:00am on September 4, 2008, Moe Seager said…
When I return to Pittsburgh in the winter I
'd like to see your work if you show it. I'll be jazzing about town, jazz-poeming at the Shadow Lounge and other places. See you then. Meantime, I hope North Side photographer Frank Hightower gets contacted to join the PJN, so I can contact him. I haven't seen Frank in 2 years. He is a very artistic, political, socially conscious man.
At 1:16am on September 4, 2008, Frank B. Greenlee said…
The heads on my site were done by me, they are air dried clay sculture I've been doing called "Talking Got Me Here" from a Nupe folk tale .... Some represent Imps of the seven sins, but these are good Imps, rub one on the head and all negative thoughts are consumed by him..
At 12:36am on September 4, 2008, Frank B. Greenlee said…
The Nail Sculptor was "Ding Bat", one of his pieces is hanging in the Manchester Craftsmans Guild. I have a picture of him I will post soon.
At 9:55pm on August 17, 2008, Mike Stout said…
Brother Mo - I am so sorry I missed you on your recent return to the Burgh. I was crushed with work, finishing my new CD, and editing Charlie McCollester's 650 page book, "The Point of Pittsburgh," - on the history of the Burgh, it's workers, minorities, women and people. We need to get you a copy - it's a wealth of material for us poets and songwriters. Stay in touch.
brother Mike
At 6:01pm on August 7, 2008, Lindsley W. Love said…
Hey Moe, It looks like you are still living in Paris...you lucky dog!!!
Why don't you call me at 412-802-6229 or just drop by 4007 Mintwood st. in Bloomfield near 40th st. in Lawrenceville where I bought house about five years ago right before I got married in Moscow. My wife is named Sabina...I went back to lawyering but still play the guitar naturally. Give us a call or just stop by...Lindsley
At 2:24pm on August 5, 2008, Moe Seager said…
I want to thank Kevin Amos, Nelson Harrison and ALL the artists and fans who make this, our voices, heard. So gotdam right - Pittsburgh is, always was, a Giant Killer!
I have reinfused a Pittsburgh-Paris jazz connection. C'mon over here. Be welcomed to the family.
Keep the Beat on the Pulse of Life!
Moe Seager
Paris

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