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 remember Kenny Karsh, who knew Spider well, always mentioning him for one reason or another when I was at their home. His sister was my best friend way back then in the 1970's and so for me, that name is liked to Kenny but I did see Spider at…"
"Thank you, Dr. Nelson, you are to be commended for this place where we can share our memories. I had a wonderful experience of learning about jazz at the Encore, which was one of THE places to see live jazz being played nightly in Pgh in the mid…"
"Great idea to keep JAZZ alive and well and growing stronger especially in Pgh which has so many connections to it as a musical form, its history is littered with jazz greats, from artists to legendary venues and smoky clubs! I know, I worked at one,…"
"Mark Murphy was beloved in London and the UK too. I remember them announcing him on Jazz FM here as playing at The Jazz Cafe not that long ago...maybe a couple of years ago where he may have been promoting his latest album. I also recall his name…"
"Harold Betters always played in the Shadyside Encore while I was there and then he left for a while. I remember his brother Jerry getting up and singing too and that was always something to witness. The crowd loved Harold and his band and Jerry…"
"Hi Dr. Nelson, would be delighted to share those memories here. I was referencing Michele and I connecting on FB just yesterday. If I think back, there was always a line out the door when big acts came to the Encore downtown. I am speaking of…"
I started this group because I am curious as to what your thoughts are on: the main problems facing the industry, what you think can be done to resolve these problems, and what actions can be taken to ensure a flourishing future for jazz music.
"There should be Jazz in Pgh year round, all the time and well known about so having a Jazz Festival where the locals and the Greats meet is a no brainer, of course!!! Let's make this happen! Pgh=Jazz, one and the same, isn't it? It always…"
"This is very good. It is truth that many will not "get" but once aware can see that we all need to wake up. Very good advice on it too. Safe guarding our "sensitive" people, now that is the very first time I have heard this! As…"
Born and raised! Worked at The Encore I and II and was witness to many of the great Jazz legends who worked there and played there. I am looking for stories, pictures of anything to do with The Encores, Art Swiden, Bobby Davis, as I am currently working on a book about my experience working there. Please email me at : email@example.com if you can help. Thanks!
Favorite Pittsburgh musicians/performers
Worked at the Encore Jazz Bar and Restaurant from 1976 to 1979, in Shadyside and Downtown as a waitress and bartender, and was witness to all the Jazz greats and The Harold Betters Quartet! My love of Jazz began there...and has lasted ever since. Kenny Karsh is a legend too!
Favorite Jazz Radio or media station
Jazz FM here on Dab radio in London.
Favorite Pittsburgh Jazz Venue
Since I now live in London, England we have a few good ones here, Ronnie Scott's, The Jazz Cafe, and the 606 Club, been to them all. But nothing like some of the great atmospheric jazz clubs which have come and gone in Pgh.
See my websites: I am also on Facebook, which is: www.facebook/shawnmcohen
I am a Psychic, Medium, Teacher of Esoteric Knowledge and Author, currently writing a book about Pgh, Jazz and life after death...:)
Hi Shawn, Dad is pretty much computer free...except when he comes over and I will show him pics or something on the computer...so I added you. Hope you and Autumn had a great Christmas. Love and Hugs to you both<3
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