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.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh by two wonderful parents, who were also born and raised in this fabulous city.
Favorite Pittsburgh musicians/performers
Of course growing up a muscian's daughter I have been surrounded by the sounds of jazz all my life. My father of course is the most amazing pianist that I could ever expierence. Uncle Joe, as well, amazing! I was lucky to be expose to the "negri" talent, and always appreciated the music they created.
Favorite Jazz Radio or media station
Married to Richard Albert for 24 years with two beautiful girls Evie and Emma. Piano teacher of 31 years, attended Duquesne University Music School. Member and Past President of the Pittsburgh Piano Teacher's Association.
Artist or Fan
Comment Wall (10 comments)
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This is a note the late Sandy Staley posted about Bobby when he was hospitalized:
BOBBY NEGRI, A MARVELOUS PIANIST AND FRIEND OF OVER 40 YEARS, IS IN MERCY HOSPITAL, I.C.U. AND HAS BEEN FOR A COUPLE WEEKS.
PLEASE SEND HIM YOUR PRAYERS EVEN IF JUST IN YOUR THOUGHTS.
HE HAS BEEN ONE OF THE UNHERALDED HEROES OF MINE IN THIS
CITY. HE COULD SWING LIKE NO ONE AND KNEW 1,000,S OF SONGS, AND,
MIGHT I ADD, IN ANY KEY!!!!!!!!!
FORTUNATELY, HE WAS OF THE SCHOOL WHEN MUSICIANS COULD MAKE A LIVING PLAYING THEIR MUSIC.
THANK GOD FOR THAT.
WITH SO FEW VENUES TODAY, I FEEL SAD FOR THE YOUNG PLAYERS.
TO GROW, YOU DO OR SHOULD "SHED" WITH OLDER PLAYERS TO STUDY WHAT THEY HAVE LEARNED. MUSICIANS USED TO HANG AFTER THE GIGS BUT I DON'T SEE WHERE THEY CAN DO THAT NOW.. AND HANGING IS FUN, ESPECIALLY WITH PEOPLE WHO LOVE WHAT YOU LOVE.
OH WELL, I'VE SAID MY LITTLE PIECE.
LOVE TO ALL WHO LOVE MUSIC.....
Roberta, my most significant memory of your dad was when I sat in with him at the Holiday Inn when I was 11 years old. I played two tunes with him—Watch What Happens and Here's That Rainy Day. He was very supportive of me and when he asked if I knew any more tunes and I replied, "no," he said, "Come back when yo know more tunes." So, he gave me my start and then told your Uncle Joe about me and the rest is history. So, I will never forget your dad. He was genuine and no BS and I will miss his presence.
It is an honor tp have the Negri family represented on this network. We are here to celebrate the great legacy of music that has been our as Pittsburghers for over a century. The Negri family has contributed and continues to contribute so much to that legacy. As we mourn the loss of your father we will celebrate him here in perpetuity with your help. Our love and prayers are with your entire family through this trying time. Please add me as a friend.
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