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PITTSBURGH JAZZ

 

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, Parlan to 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.

 

WELCOME!

 

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Duke Ellington is first African-American and the first musician to solo on U.S. circulating coin

    MARY LOU WILLIAMS     

            INTERVIEW

       In Her Own Words

Michael A. Constable's Comments

Comment Wall (11 comments)

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At 10:43pm on February 27, 2009, Ashley said…
There r a few places 2 hunt, but not a lot. I bet Wexford has changed so much since the 1970s. A lot of new buildings were built, good but bad. Good thing is I have more stores 2 shop at, bad thing is I'm a nature and animal lover so when they took down the trees for the buildings I was pretty upset.
Ashley
At 10:39pm on February 27, 2009, Ashley said…
Hello,
Yes there is still a few a places to hunt but, not a lot. Wexford still is a great town, but probably a lot different then what u would remember it to be. The people who work for the construction agency took down a lot of trees, even though there still is enough!!! Personally, I think Wexford is one of the best little towns.
Ashley
At 7:43pm on February 24, 2009, Billy Kuhn said…
Michael - I loved your Dad and think of him often. He was a legendary player and a wonderful person. Your tribute to him was really appreciated, and I will make sure my in-laws, Donna and Bobby Negri, check out the pictures you posted. Say hello to your mother Claire from my wife Kim and I, and keep your Dad's memory alive. Knowing him was a gift!
At 11:57am on February 24, 2009, Virgil Walters said…
Great pictures, your dad was a great player with a big heart for everyone. I was lucky enough to get to hear him play from 1969 on.
Thanks for sharing.
Virgil
At 9:43pm on February 23, 2009, Reid Hoyson said…
Hi Michael,
These are great pictures that you are sharing with us. Your dad was such an important part of this jazz community. He truly was a teacher, as others have mentioned. He was always respectful in the process. He touched many, his spirit is strong.
Thanks,
Reid Hoyson
At 3:51pm on February 23, 2009, Roger Dannenberg said…
Hi Michael,
Thanks for putting up those pictures of your dad. I had the privilege of playing with him many times and always admired his playing and spirit -- when Danny was on the gig, you always knew there would be some great playing and everyone would be happy.

-Roger
At 2:38pm on February 23, 2009, Max Leake said…
Great pictures Mike!
At 1:08pm on February 23, 2009, Valerio Gianferro said…
Nice to meet you Michael!!!!

Sixlips
Valerio Gianferro
At 11:27am on February 23, 2009, Bruce C said…
Great job!...Well done!...a great documentation of the life of your father...and great insights to a working musicians career, and some of the many people he shared his work with...a classic album of images...My best to you ...always b
At 5:42am on February 23, 2009, Ed Skirtich said…
Hi Michael,

Wow! You did a great job of giving a tribute to your dad!

Your dad was such a warm, embracing human being.

He was so nice to me when I had him as an instructor at Duquesne University's Summer Jazz Camps when Dr. John Wilson directed the jazz program at Duquesne.

I'm also a trumpet player and your Dad was always showing me ways of how to play chord changes on small and large jazz band pieces. The stuff he showed me was great and he was a fantastic trumpet player.

He also showed me different ways of holding the trumpet and was always passing musical knowlrdge onto to me even after I had a stroke back in 1994-95. He was very encouraging to me to keep playing trumpet during the darkest hours of my life. I'll never forget him!

In fact, I still practice the Miles Davis transcription book he recommended today and in the future.

I really apologize that I wasn't able to pay my respects to Danny and meet your family, but we may hook up eventually and maybe even play a gig together.

He also did a lot of great masterclasses, and got me hooked on Miles Davis transcription books.

I'm really sorry I was never able to pay my last respects at the funeral home, but I will keep him and your family in my prayers

Thanks again for making that picture tribute for your dad.

Sincerely,
Ed Skirtich
Trumpet Player/Artistic Director/Jazz Workshop, Inc.
ejskirtich@comcast.net
(412) 422-4149 (H)
(412) 841-8046 (C)
At 1:07am on February 23, 2009, Dr. Nelson Harrison said…
Welcome Michael,

We cannot express how joyful we are to see your page. Your father was one of the best and most beloved jazz musicians in Pittsburgh history and it was a privilege to call him friend and colleague. There's a couple of pictures of him on my page but the pictures you have added are testimony to the true value and purpose of this network. Families like the Constables are the backbone of our great legacy and we want the world to know the true history of our tradition. That story could never be complete without the representation of prominent jazz families like yours. thank you so much for joining and helping us to fulfill our most important mission.

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