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 for the comment Ms Barbara Ray ( my blues Lady) , we had a good time and saw folks we had not seen in awhile. My friend who gave me the gig 's mom was in town from LA, we went to the first grade together. She is Japanese and taught us much about respect by examples , her family sacrificed the most for us to play in a band when I grew up. We played very well and the interplay was amongst neighborhood friends and was very much welcomed. I thought I would be kinda rusty as I have not played or sat in since early 2012 in Pittsburgh. Definitely miss the Pittsburgh scene but I will be back, I did get deep enough LOL- kev
Thanks for the encouraging words Barb. Actuall I had a gig in Harrisburg at a longtime friend /[ former musician bandmate's ]sister and husbands restaurant. They prefer soft 'dinner' music but wanted us to 'turn it out' LOL. I used another longtime associate Hasid Stevenson who is a virtuoso jazz guitarist but playes many styles. he played mainly keyboard and some guitar with his own soundtracts. His twin brother Burnie showed up and played killer bass lines solos and we took it up a notch as I mainly play jazz and blues. This same triumvirate has been playing together since high school ( 40 years) but not as much the last twenty years or so just sitting in with them as they have their own thing. Would love to bring them to Pittsburgh, Burnie has played there and loved it. Still waiting for that full time job in Pgh to come through.- kev
Yeah Barb I had tried to get to that vocal jam @ Lawrenceville for some time. I am working in Harrisburg since June and await something full time to materialize in Pittsburgh or Harrisburg. Some part timethings have come up and I have some opportunities to play my own limited gig in Harrisburg. Glad to here about the new family addition and from you in general. Take care , I am OK and plan to be back in Pittsburgh - love you sister- kev
Thank you! Barbara for thinking of me again, sorry I could not make as my daughter had a graduation ceremony that weekend but please keep me posted of your events so that I can check you out in the future!