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 have been abundently blessed with my music both as an director/educator and performer. A musical "Jack of all trades" I have done everything from conduct my choir with the Pittsburgh Symphony to playing oldies as a guitarist with Little Anthony and the Imperials. My teaching and performing career has afforded me the opportunity to work with some of the finest Jazz and Classical musicians in the area. I have a Bachelor of Musc degree, Cum Laude from West Virginia University. My graduate work was primarily at Duquesne University.
That's great that you run the music department at Schenley High School.
I currently work at the Jazz Workshop, Inc. at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-Homewood as Artistic Director.
One of my duties is to conduct Outreach Programs at schools and community centers.
I would love to meet with you about setting up a program with you at Schenley.
You can call me or send an email.
My brother, Fr. John and I, thank you fot your kndness for how well you worked with me with Ray Ryan's groups and at Ambridge with the musical "Bye, Bye Birdie," and at Schenley with "West Side Story."
I hope all is well with your family.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Artistic Director/Jazz Workshop, Inc.
(412) 422-4149 (H)
(412) 841-8046 (C)