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.
So wowza, it has been some crazy last couple of weeks....
For the record, NYC was awesome, I met a cousin I didn't even know I had , saw one of my best friends from college (I practically lived on their couch) .... here is some video from that night:
The next night was pretty awesome, I went to a place called Proteus Gowanus for the release of a new book "The Space Between" by John Law and was treated to some amazing presentations of pictures and stories of John's experiences with climbing bridges. I made a little video of that but it is too long to put on you tube and honestly I have been too swamped with gigs and holiday bruhaha that I haven't had a chance to post it in 3 parts yet, but here is a great photo of me with John Law and the publisher Julia Solis: Aren't they just adorable? You have no idea just how much mischief lies behind those beautiful eyes...... but if you buy the book you may get some idea. After NYC and Brooklyn the Amoeba and I headed for home, thankfully the young bucks that comprise my band, namely Tony DePaolis on bass and Mike Murray on organ decided they actually wanted to drive so Amoeba and I just cuddled and tried not to fart.....
After we made it home I had a whole slew of gigs , and international holiday sing a long called "We are all children of Abraham, Merry ChristmaChannaKwanzaa!!" at the New Hazlett put on by cityLive! wherein we sang songs from all over the world.
We sang songs from Turkey and Germany and Spain and Mexico, some Latin, some Hebrew , some French... one day I have a dream of me going on a musical peace tour across the world where I will sing songs with and from every culture I meet. Until then Pittsburgh will just have to put up with my husband and I in Santa and Elf costumes singing ChristmaChannaKwanzaa songs wherever they haven't yet banned us. At my show at the Backstage Bar we were invaded by 150 drunken Santas, led by 2 distressingly large men in bunny suits, they even had their own songbooks..... you have to have respect for those what travel with their own songbooks......apparently the dancers at Blush (their stop previous to coming to hear me sing) really enjoyed wearing the bunny heads while twirling around the poles, I am sorry I missed that.... and I never did get a figgy pudding.... all these years I keep asking and asking and do you think I would ever get one? Well, that's not true, once (just once) my friend Allie brought over a figgy pudding, it's kind of like a welsh fruity version of kimchee, you chop it up, bury it and mmm mmmm good!! But then she moved to Ireland, and now she can only send me small jpeg representations of figgy pudding on facebook and it's just not the same..... of course, if that is all I have to complain about than I consider myself very blessed person indeed.....
That said, I am very excited to invite you all to check out the Phat Man Dee Experience!! What happens when you get Phat Man Dee singing in a room with Mike Murray on organ, Chris Parker on drums and hopefully some guitar, Extreme Painter Kevin "the Nerve" Wenner, and artists from the Living Brush in North Carolina, Scott Fray with your favorite model Foxy Moxy? Well, I am not sure either, but you should be there just in case.....New to the Phat Man Dee Experience this year will be special guest Buddy Nutt!! Called "Pittsburgh's Tiny Tim" by the Rolling Stone, Mr Nutt will be gracing our souls with his crystal singing cups and his singing golden saw. Like I said, I can't predict exactly what will happen, but whatever it is, it'll be in a couple languages, it'll be hot, it'll make you feel better about the world we share and if nothing else you'll have some awesome music to listen to while your eyes drink in the beauty of the paint and canvas....
Sets at 6:45 pm, 9 pm & 10 pm. Tickets are available in the form of $8 buttons which you may purchase at any Giant Eagle and will gain you entrance into all of the First Night activities. (Some venues require vouchers, not mine, but refer to their website for details.)
Non alcohol event, family friendly, all ages!!
Wednesday, December 31, 2008 Shows at 6:45, 9 and 10 pm.
First Night Pittsburgh, 905 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA
Contact the Box Office for info:
or visit: http://firstnightpgh.com/
I hope to see you out, if you can't make it, come on out January 8 at Pegasus! I will be singing there with three mini sets starting at
10:30 pm. I'll be bringing a birthday cake for my friend Suz Pisano,
she's turning even more lovely than ever before, so mark the calendar
and come down and buy her a drink!
Happy New Year everybody, I really hope we can be the change we need to see in the world over the coming months, love , light and keep the faith!