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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.

 

WELCOME!

 

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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
Rhadha Sewell
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    Tommy's Blues; Tommy Sewell (bass)

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Pittsburgh Connection
Born in pittsburgh 1966, only child of the late local bass player Tommy Sewell who made me take piano, clarinet and flute.

I only wish I would have been disicplined enough to have continued in pursuit of music abilities. But I want to celebrate his.
Favorite Pittsburgh musicians/performers
ok Sure im biased: Tommy Sewell

I need to get aquainted with the scene havent been following too many artist. I will begin soon.
About Me:
I have discovered that I like photograpy Im a novice. The pictures (except the album cover) i took with my cell phone camera. I am going to get a real camera and see where it takes me. I think I have caught some great images. There will be more added. Any comments are welcomed and appreciated. I am thinking about getting serious about it but havent had the funds to get that good camera. It is in the works.

I am hoping to be able to share the natural beauty of this planet. so stay tuned. :-)
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fan
Some History about Tommy Sewell

(to be continued)


From late July through September 1953, the Cotton Club at 6249 South Cottage Grove had Willie Jones' Combo in on Monday and Tuesday nights (later changed to Tuesday and Wednesday nights); the indefinite contract was posted on August 6. Jones worked in a trio with Joe Daley (saxes) and Tommy Sewell (bass). Bennie Kelly (billed as the "comedy king") was the MC.


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We previously thought that Willie Jones played on two sessions with Red Holloway's band for Chance, backing doo-wop groups. The sessions at issue were by the Moonglows on September 27, 1953 and January 10, 1954. Red Holloway has told us, however, that he used his regular group, with Louis Carpenter on piano, on these sessions. However, Red also says of Carpenter that "He learned everything from Willie." These sessions can now be found in Appendix B of our Al Smith discography, Part II.


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A Defender ad from November 26, 1953, has Willie Jones and His Combo holding forth at the "IT" Club, 5450 South Michigan Avenue. This was part of a six-month stand (September 1953 through March 1954; Willie's first contract was posted by Local 208 on September 17). The band's lineup had expanded to Joe Daley (saxes), Tommy Sewell (bass), and Larry Jackson (drums); Herb Brown took over on bass during the final month. Tenor saxophonist Lucius Washington recalls finishing his gig at Ada's while the final set at the "IT" Club was still going, and dropping by to sit in with Willie Jones. He was never a band member, though

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At 9:49pm on April 17, 2008, Carlos Peña said…
p.s. if you want to contact me privately, just email me at
penac [at] carnegielibrary [dot] org
At 9:47pm on April 17, 2008, Carlos Peña said…
ok i added you as a friend. at least i think i did! i just signed up yesterday and am still figuring out how this site works.
Where do you live? I am busy these days but if you're in the Pittsburgh area I could meet you somewhere or drop a CD off. If you're not in the area, I can mail it to you.
i'm happy to connect people with music they are looking for- it's actually what i do for a living! talk to you soon,
carlos
At 7:52pm on April 17, 2008, Carlos Peña said…
Ms. Sewell,
Noticed you asking about the Charles Bell record that your father played on. I have the record and would be happy to make a copy onto a CD for you if you still need it. I know it's not as good as having the original, but it might hold you over. In the meantime, I'll try to find another copy of the LP for you and one for Poogie too.
Respectfully,
Carlos Peña
At 2:16pm on March 28, 2008, Rhadha Sewell said…
I work witih a guy that told me he knows your family very well . Daryl Jackson. He was telling me about you and I didnt even register when he talked to me that you were Mr. Bells son. Please to meet you. Ive found that album on line for sale. Went to google and entered the album name under shopping. Its on ebay i guess for like more than a few bucks. I tried ordering it from Tower.com it was one of the companys selling it. They must really didnt have it because three times my purchase was cancelled. SO im hoping for a breakthrough. :-) Maybe you could give me a contact number for your mom or if you want to let her know who I am then maybe she can contact me 412 -758-1830 cell number or house no 412-408-3475. I would really be pleased to meet her. Im sure she can tell me alot of stuff. Thanks sooo much!!!!
At 2:06pm on March 28, 2008, poogie bell said…
hi
nice to hear from.......i was in japan last year looking for the record you dad played on sorry to say i didnt find it but i'm going to keep looking
as far as pic's go you might want to reach out to my mom if anybody knows where some would be it would be her.......again nice to meet you
peace
poogie bell
At 4:34am on March 28, 2008, Dan Wasson said…
Miss Sewell, I was a student of pianist Carl Arter and he often and fondly spoke of your father.
At 8:12pm on March 27, 2008, Frank B. Greenlee said…
There are two pictures, one of Bell & Blairman and another of Bill Smith the guitar player on page 13 under photos... Enjoy!
At 5:21pm on March 27, 2008, Frank B. Greenlee said…
I remember your dad well, I loved his beret. Do you know where Charles Bell is now or any of his old band members are? I have posted a few pictures I took back in the day of Charles.
At 7:51pm on March 25, 2008, Dr. Nelson Harrison said…
Dear Rhada,

Welcome. You are the best. I'll be posting some more pictures soon. thank you for your astute research and for joining us to celebrate your dad.
 
 
 

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