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.
"Obviouly...some folks have not been following certain folks on the air. While to markey the music to the public is the goal, a lot of us were never part of the payola game to push certain records on the air. That is NOT how you further the Jazz…"
"Well said Travis. Thank you for posting your thoughts and experience. I couldn't agree more. Another shortcoming in the presentation of jazz today is that the DJs do not mention the sidemen by name or say anything significant…"
"The 50s were a golden era in jazz! Tenor sax men flourished a decade after Bird started a revolution. Jazz was used in Hollywood and TV commercials, the chitlin circuit thrived along with the black business community. Art Blakey's Jazz…"
I'm only 67 years old so I don't relate well to jazz before the hard bop era. One thing I know is that the period between the mid 50's and mid 60's produced the music that is most pleasing to me. My experience, to a great degree, is through records and now CDs. Blue Note, Prestige, Riverside and World Pacific were the labels that put out most of the "hits." I say it like that because I was able to connect an artist to a hit record such as Groove Holmes to Misty, Horace Silver to Song…See More
Mr. Klein, I am producing a video for the August Wilson Center and trying very hard to find a piece of music, probably NOT vocal, by an African American musician from Pittsburgh that is NOT jazz and NOT hiphop, but somewhere chronologically in between. I've seen the incredible descriptions of your Pgh Greatest Hits records, but cannot decipher who's who. can you help me with this? you can email me directly at email@example.com. I hope to hear from you very soon. thanks!!!
You can post any of your activities, pics, comments, videos here. You have a lifetime of involvement in the Pgh. music scene and we are happy to have you join us. I have some pics of you and Johnny Lytle that I'll post soon.
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