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.
I write songs in the traditional jazz form (AABA structures, melodies that emphasize the sixth and the ninth, strict rhyming schemes etc.) and was hoping there might be others out here who are interested in the same. My goal is to find other like-minded composers arrangers and songwriters who also sing, harmonize, and perform. I am looking to put together a recording project of my own songs (and others hopefully) combined with some of the best-kept secret vocalists in Pittsburgh. Some…See More
" Sound, words and music are all extentions of the voice and the heart out of the need to express and communicate a value to another being or thing. Go for it, but always come from the heart! That way you'll stay honest and find a…"
"Great article. Yes, music can serve the interest of the hater or healer, the builder or blaster. As musicians we should be clear on our intentions for as we can see, our music reflects our humanity and we are no longer innocent virgins."
I am a songstress. I sing Jazz (or Jah-z, meaning God's inherent music), I compose and arrange music, Much of it is jazz re our times, and also compose spiritual music and have written plays with music. I am looking forward to assembling a new band. My former band in D.C. was called 'The Gold Standard'. I enjoyed creating music that moved people and kept them involved in life on this planet as we know it. That's my mission: to use the music to heal, inspire and revolutionize our thoughts, behaviors and attitudes toward our Divinity and oness in life!