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.
My wish for everyone is good health, peace, happiness and prosperity.
Be thankful at Thanksgiving, spread joy and peace at Christmas and be confident and optimistic at New Years.
Phil the Knight with Christmas spirit
Although I am an experienced guitarist in almost all of the current marketable styles of club music, my forte has been and always will be classic rock/blues/jazz rock fusion. I’ve been in show bands, R & B, blues, rock, classic rock, dance, disco, bluegrass, country, new country, rockabilly, swing and jazz bands. Some of my notable bands are the Rhythm Kings, Bad Juju, Rage, Double Dealin’, Brok-n-Pic and Indecision.
I’ve had the fortunate opportunity to open for Blood Sweat and Tears and Marshal Tucker. I have recorded a blues CD, a jazz rock CD and a Xmas CD, and I am currently working on an all original CD. All of my CD’s are all guitar all jamming all the time. I am currently unsigned and in the process of finding the right group of players to perform with in the "Burgh".
In the Rhythm Kings I was part of a pioneering blues scene in Pittsburgh. I create my own midi files and use other midi files that I have revamped and enhanced as my backup music and record my guitar performances over them. The songs I have posted were created in that manner and are solely for the demonstration of my playing styles. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family and friends do.
I do have one musicman manlaw you must adhere to. When you listen to my songs, you have to listen to them all the way to the tag. Think about it. You don’t read a book and stop with ten pages left. A song’s not a song without taking it from the "top" and going all the way to the "out".
Lou Lordi was one of the best clarinet/sax players in the Western PA area during the big band swing era. He received many invitations to move to New York City to play but for the love of his family decided to stay in Ellwood City. I liken his decision to stay to me winning the powerball. He was the man who taught me all I know.
When I was done with the clarinet he then taught me how to make a saxaphone whisper, scream, growl and sing after which he told my father that I needed to get out and play and that there were no more lesson books left. I had gone through them all.
The one lasting memory I will always carry with me about Lou was after every lesson he would play for me for me for an hour until my father got off work to pick me up. He not only gave me the rudiments of music but he showed me how to extract the heart and soul out of an instrument. I was able to transfer that heart and soul to the guitar thanks to Lou. I will never forget him.
I love the Rhythm Kings!!! What a pleasure to talk to you!
I loved "The Boardwalk" as well....what a great local place. I wish there were still places like that around, especially out here in Colorado Springs.
Anyhow.....I'd love to get together back in Pittsburgh when I visit! I miss Pittsburgh!
Have a wonderful day!
Hi Phil... Great to see you here... not only are you a great guy but you have been a walking, talking encyclopedia of remembering who has played with who in Pittsburgh. Hope to catch you out and about.