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.
"Thanks Jim for your response. Yesterday I started to interview Harold as one of my main mentors. One day soon perhaps we three could get together for some reminiscent conversation in Shadyside (of course)."
"I certainly will. I wanted him to re-release his Christmas Album Open Pantry has Betters This Christmas. I have the original record, which I Remastered, to get a more Hi Fidelity sound, as that album was done in the sixties. I believe, his first…"
I just spent a couple hours with Harold Betters earlier today downtown. I used to be his regular sub at the Encore. You are a very important member of the jazz community having helped to launch one of our great icons and one of my…"
Jul 29, 2009
jdlaughead is now a member of Pittsburgh Jazz Network
I got Harold Betters booked into the Encore, in 1961. Did the First Pittsburgh Jazz Festival on Dec 1 1961, at the Soldier's & Sailors Memorial Hall. Help produce, record, Harold's first Record Album. Harold Betters at the Encore, Recorded at United Recording,1961
Favorite Pittsburgh musicians/performers
Favorite Jazz Radio or media station
WHOD Homestead Pa, DJ, Porky Chedwick
Favorite Pittsburgh Jazz Venue
The Pitt Pott, The Encore, Saturday afternoon Jam sessions.
Retired Safety Director, now live in Vermont.
Artist or Fan
Comment Wall (3 comments)
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Thanks Jim for your response. Yesterday I started to interview Harold as one of my main mentors. One day soon perhaps we three could get together for some reminiscent conversation in Shadyside (of course).
I just spent a couple hours with Harold Betters earlier today downtown. I used to be his regular sub at the Encore. You are a very important member of the jazz community having helped to launch one of our great icons and one of my mentors in his early career. Harold has a page here so please add him and me as a friend. I bet you have some fabulous photos you can post. Please do. Thank you for joining.
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