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.
Dr. Nelson, Days away from my 89th birthday, I have added a goal for my remaining time on this earth---to last long enough to buy and read your book on jazz in Pittsburgh. Will it include a mention of August Wilson who was so influenced by his 78 rpm record of Bessie Smith? What an ear he had for dialogue! I met him after a talk he gave somewhere in the Pittsburgh area and have seen several of his plays. I have a favor to ask sometime. Bob Garvin
Dr Harrison it has been quite a while but I am back and looking forward to meeting new friends here. I did send you an email today at the events email address. I hope to hear from you soon and hope that we can possibly work together this year at some point. Thank you for your support here...
Doc, I got your email but I don't feel good about putting the 2 names on this main page and I don't know any other way to talk except to call you. It may take a few days but I can get your number. These 2 people must be working together because they use the same paragraph of being interested in my profile or something to that effect and mention to contact them because it cannot be discussed on this public site. I bet I'm not the only one being targeted. ok doc,thanks
Doc,don't know exactly how and where on this site to ask this question and wish i could ask you this in private. Anyway, are any of your members being contacted by these so called members from Ghana ? Scarey
Thanks so much for your birthday wishes Nelson. Life is good and I won't stop singin till it's over man! It's good to get older, right? Thanks for all you do for the Pittsburgh Jazz Community and Internationally too. Thanks for the picture on Walnut Street in 1991.It's nice to share a birthday with Pittsburgh's own Billy Strayhorn, pretty cool! Love, Michele
I remember growing up in the 60's the Steelers were like the sorriest team in the NFL! My Pgh cousins say the Pirates were sorry before 60s. LOLThe region produced many ofthe best anf football is the game in western Pa. The support of high school sports and bands etc were huge before the video game era. That's wild the Steelers hired Harold Betters to play berfore the games to get folks to come out. I woulda stayed to listen to him. When I went to PITT 1975-79 they couldn't GIVE away Penguins tickets LOL. When I visited Pgh @2009 the traffic was back to Ohio one night the Penguins played. When I moved to Pgh 2010 many locals dont know where there is live music
Thank you for accepting me as a member. I would very much like to connect with music lovers and of course learn as much as possible about Billy Strayhorn from other people. What does anyone really know about him. I would definitely love to learn even more.
FIRST..HERE'S THE VERY LATEST RE MARK MURPHY..AS OF MARCH 5 2015..MARK TOOK A TURN FOR THE WORSE..AND WAS AMBULANCED TO INGLEWOOD HOSP IN N. JERSEY. I HAVE A MESSAGE INTO HIS DOCTOR..INQUIRING AS TO MARK'S CONDITION..BUT NO ANS YET. I SPOKE TO MARK AND HE'S NOT VERY COMMUNICATIVE. HE'S WEAK AND A LITTLE "OUTSIDE"...BUT I'LL KEEP IN TOUCH WITH HIM, 'TIL I GET A TRUE PICTURE OF HIS CONDITION.
" APRIL 1ST, FROM 5PM 'TIL 8PM,,,I'LL BE DOIN' THE "STANDARDS"..REMINISCENT OF SINATRA, BENNETT, NAT COLE, JOE WILLIAMS AND MARK MURPHY. PRIVILEGED TO HAVE DE PAOLIS ON BASS, WHITEHEAD ON KEYBOARD AND...RICHIE COLE ON ALTO! THAT'S WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1ST, AT THE RIVERS CLUB, ONE OXFORD CENTER ON GRANT ST DOWNTOWN (6TH FLOOR)
This seems to be the first comment of 2015, but if not, So be it! This site is the best gift to Pgh jazz. Thanks for the memories, and the ongoing gifts to the Community. It has been a pleasure to have known yu as a friend from so far back in our "teenhood'. The EMonday gift at the Westin last year was a surprise since it has existed for 7 yrs previously. But,no sour grapes, I can be sure to be there from this year forward. Thanks for giving me a chance to experieence this great site and to be a part of this great Pgh Jazz legacy. Hooray for Jazz in Pittsburgh! "Your Ace Boon Coon"-Godfrey
I came in last weekend at Cioppinos and listened to your FANTASTIC musical tributes for the evening. I was awe struck, inspired, and very much looking forward to learning and listening more. I told my students about it I think I need to plan a field trip. :) Warm Regards, - Ms. Jen Vanella
I just learned about Fannetta and your fabulous grandparents!!! Can you tell me about anything about the youngest girls and Billy Strayhorn. Clearly, the French Club membership for Sophia and Billy. Tell me more about Fannetta and Billy. I'm having this existential angst with McVicker - I had always admired him for his sense of equality and justice - but this is hard!!!!
i could listen to guys like wardell all nite..and not get bored. so many of those tenor men...in that long ago period..there was just something about them..something they all had in common. they all PLAYED THE TUNE! So important..and many players today miss that. entirely too much emphasis on playin lots of notes, lots of scales and runs and phrases. seems like the further they can get from the melody..the better. they are all well schooled, they all read their asses off..i dont mean to demean them but..seems like the "heart" is missing.Sometimes I can walk in after only one minute..and dont know what the hell they're playin, even tho its obvious they're good! If ypou've got good ears, you can pick up the chord progressions and recognize the tune. its almost like these cats WANT to keep you guessin' about the tune's title! You and I could name maybe 3 doz guys, like Dexter and Mobley and Getz (stop now) and never get tired diggin. they were different..and yet...all the same...in that very important way. maybe it was they put THEMSELVES into the tune, rather than bein so clinical. thanks much for sending this