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.
My brother Lou said to tell you hello. He was really surprised when I told him I was in touch with you.
Bad news Jack, Aldo DiIanni passed away Saturday. Funeral is Wednesday March 4th/09
WHAT A GREAT FEELING TO HEAR FROM YOU, MY FRIEND. SO MANY
YEARS HAVE PASSED SINCE WE SHARED A STAGE. I HAVE HEARD
THAT YOU HAVE DONE WELL IN VEGAS AND RIGHTFULLY SO. PGH.
HAS SURE REAPED AN ABUNDANT JAZZ HARVEST..... I DO HEAR FROM
RIC TORACASO WHEN HE COMES TO TOWN. DANNY VARLOTTO, THE
DRUMMER, JUST YESTERDAY WAS TALKING ABOUT LOU CARTO.
DANNY NO LONGER PLAYS. HE GOT INTO REAL ESTATE YEARS AGO
AND MADE TOO MUCH MONEY TO PLAY. HAHAHAHA THAT IS VERY
STRANGE FOR A MUSICIAN. I'VE ALWAYS SAID THAT THIS IS A
WONDERFUL WAY TO MAKE A HORRIBLE LIVING, AS A RULE. BUT, IT
SURE HAS BEEN A BALL FOR ME. GREAT LIFE, GREAT PEOPLE.........
PLEASE STAY IN TOUCH. IT HAS WARMED MY HEART TO HEAR FROM
YOU. BY THE WAY, GO TO CDBABY.COM & YOU CAN WRITE IN MY
NAME & HEAR A CD I MADE IN 2005. LONG STORY INVOLVED. STAY
WELL AND AGAIN, STAY IN TOUCH.
LOVE, SANDY STALEY
It is great hearing from you. I often talk about you as being one of best
durmers I have ever worked with. I know you still have your talent.
I am still teaching in the Keystone Oaks School District as an Instrumental Music Teacher. I have two more years before I retire; can't wait!
I still have my jazz quintet and still play around town. We play the
Jazz Society around twice a year and some of the Jazz Clubs.
However, "Things Are Not What They Used To Be."
I teach jazz piano on Saturday at the church where I am the Organist
and Choir Director.
I have also been very fortunate to win the ASCAPLUS AWARD
five years in a row for my jazz compositions.
In the last several years I have been in to Bill Evans to the point of
obnoxiousness. He was the Master!!!
Nelson Harrison get's a big feather in his hat for starting this Web-Site.
Jack , I saw your nephew the teacher at District Band last year.
I told him just how great of a Percussionist you were.
I hope you are doing well, and stay in touch with me. My email is
Again, great hearing from you.
Welcome! So glad you found us and it will be great to be able to keep in touch this way. No matter how far and wide we travel, Pittsburgh will always be home. I remember our few gigs in the good old days and I'm glad to see you are successfully active still. Perhaps you can recruit Rico, Lou Cardo and any other Pittsburghers in Las Vegas to join us as well if you see them. We want the world to know that we have always had an unbeatable musical tradition in the 'Burgh. Thank you for joining.