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.
Dave Samuels has established himself as the top mallet player of his generation. He is recognized for his fresh new sound and creative approach to both the vibraphone and marimba. Samuels has demonstrated his versatility and gained world wide recognition by performing and recording with a broad scope of artists ranging from Gerry Mulligan, Oscar Peterson, Chet Baker, Stan Getz, Carla Bley and Pat Metheny to the Yellowjackets, Bruce Hornsby, Frank Zappa, The Fantasy Band and Spyro Gyra. For over a decade, Samuels has been performing and recording with his group The Caribbean Jazz Project whose most recent CD ‘Afro Bop Alliance’
serves notice that the CJP is the most thoroughly inventive Latin Jazz ensembles of this or any era. The album
received a Latin Grammy and was also nominated for a Grammy. Previous cd’s ‘Hear and Now – Live in Concert’
and ‘Birds of a Feather’ were nominated for “Best Latin Jazz Recording,”. Their recording ‘The Gathering’ won the Grammy in 2003 for ‘Best Latin Jazz Recording’. Some of his other recording projects include ‘Remembrances’, a percussion recording that features a commissioned marimba concerto for chamber orchestra and soloist composed by Jeff Beal, and ‘Tjaderized - A Tribute to Cal Tjader’ (Verve) that features contributions from some of Cal’s former band mates Chick Corea, Eddie Palmieri, Clare Fischer, Ray Barretto,
Michael Wolff and Karl Perazzo as well as performances by Dave Valentin and David Sanchez.
Ron Oswanski, a Manhattan School of Music graduate, has performed with some of the most renowned musicians in jazz and contemporary music including: The Maria Schneider Orchestra, Maynard Ferguson & Big Bop Nouveau, Blood Sweat & Tears, Tim Ries & The Rolling Stones Project, Jack Wilkins & Mike Clark, Milt Hinton, Sheryl Bailey 3, Myron Walden Countryfied, Ira Sullivan, John Corbett's Band, Dave Berger & the Sultans of Swing, Dan Willis & Velvet Gentlemen, The Temptations, and Aretha Franklin just to name a few. His touring credits include: world tours with Maynard Ferguson's Big Bop Nouveau, and national touring with Blood, Sweat, and Tears. Active on the New York jazz scene since 1992, Ron can be found deep inside the trenches of New York's most cutting edge jazz.
Marko Marcinko attended The University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida, and gained an enormous amount of schooling in classical /ethnic percussion, drum set, piano, and arranging/composing. While at Miami he had the great fortune to study with one of the best music faculties in collegiate music education. During his time performing with the University’s top concert jazz ensembles, Marko had the chance to play with some of his greatest musical jazz mentors/performers, such as; Joe Henderson, Red Rodney, Michael Brecker and Paquito D’Rivera. For the past 11 years Marko has been a member of the Dave Liebman group as well as the Dave Liebman Big Band and is featured on numerous recordings with both. He also has toured and recorded with Maynard Ferguson's Big Bop Nouveau . Marko currently is artistic director of the Scranton Jazz Festival and leads the PA Jazz Alliance which promotes, jazz in North Eastern Pennsylvania and through out the state.