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.
Seeking some - the music has no language barriers, the internet has no geographic barriers
Favorite Pittsburgh musicians/performers
I don't know many, but can tell you about a few great Africans
Favorite Jazz Radio or media station
The fatherland and motherland of all mankind, and its music, has too few jazz radio stations, or venues. The music lives daily in shacks and the occasional tavern, with a smattering of big money-making annual sausage machines of sound that leaves the soul lonelier than before. We can turn this around.
Favorite Pittsburgh Jazz Venue
With global ICTs and smart partnerships, a few Africans will soon find favorite venues in Pittsburg and anywhere else on earth, and vide versa. About 2610 years ago. Laozi reminded humankind that a journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step. Who is willing to walk this talk with us?
I spent a lifetime trying to catapult Africa into the global information society via ICT, still trying but recognize that it will take a few more lifetimes. Tried to cheer myself and my country folks through jazz – live performances 7 days a week at jazz club called “Kind of Blue” was the plan, all I achieved was the loss of financial livelihood, and the pleasure of knowing very special human beings, the creators of music. I am trying to do it again, combining my training in ICT and my passion for jazz. I will dedicate the project under development to Bheki Mseleku - his only life-reward was his capacity to create great music.
We'll do all we can to help on your mission. We belong to the South African Jazz Network started by my friend and colleague Hotep Galeta. We'd also love to see Abdullah Ibrahim come to Pittsburgh. Please add me as a friend.
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