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.
Hi Moe remember when we worked together for years Steve Sekelik Drummer, with Corsairs Jimmy Sturr, Oldies Marcels etc. You guys sound great my music. Will you be playing at the Rivers Casino on July 4 2010 do you have my number give me a call a am deal with film productions. Take care see you soon Steve.
The variety and excitement of this big band's performance for the Pittsburgh Jazz Society at The Rhythm House on November 1, 2009 was superb! Lori Russo's vocal ease hypnotized the audience to verify how great and vibrant this band creates their Jazz/Pop/DooWop vibrations. Sincerely, Dr Bruce
I am a parent of one of the students at the Vandergrift Elementary School that you played on Wed Mar 27th. I want to say that first of all the concert was fantastic. You really put on a great show! Second you really made that night a night to remember for my daughter, who was fortunate enough to get to play with you on stage. I really appreciate you taking the time to come to the school to perform, but to go that extra mile and do what you did at the end was unbelievable and that is her last impression of that night. She is as we speak floating on cloud nine. Thanks again to all of the musicians that were at Vandergrift Elementary tonight.
Thanks for adding me as a friend.
I started my career singing with big bands in Pittsburgh.
1. The Frank Jarema Band
2. The Bunny Castrodale Band
3. The Hal Curtis Band
4. The Joey Sims Band
5 The Jimmy Dorsey Band w/ Lee castle
6. The Balcony Big Band
7. The Roger Humphries Big Band
7.The Stan Kenton Alumi Band w/ Mike Vax
Kloman Schmitt wrote my first big band charts when I was 17 and I still have them, plus a few more!
Keep on swingin,