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 recently moved to Pittsburgh and started working for a nonprofit organization called Strong Women, Strong Girls. Although I grew up only 40 minutes north of the city, I'm enjoying finally getting to know the city a little bit better and making new friends in Pittsburgh.
Favorite Pittsburgh musicians/performers
My absolute favorite Pittsburgh band of all time is Rusted Root.
I'm pretty new to the local Jazz scene, but I'm looking forward to adding some local jazz performers to this list.
Favorite Pittsburgh Jazz Venue
Well... I went to the New Hazlett Theater recently and that was a real cool place. I'll definitely be adding more places to the list soon though!
I like most music genres. I even tried out a little jazz improv with my flute for a brief stint in college. I'm way out of practice, but after going and seeing a jazz performance the other day I'm starting to think it's time to get back into it! :)
Artist or Fan
Comment Wall (2 comments)
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It was such a pleasure meeting you and Alisha at the
New Hazlett and I look forward to helping you both immerse yourselves in the local jazz culture. You truly are cool jazz cats and if you like, we'll have you playing as well. Thanks you for joining. Love the profile pic.