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.
Hello Nelson, I've been an fan of yours for a long time. My Sister digs you to to death man and so does a lot of Pittsbutghers. I took your advise and joined the network which is phenominal. I feel eterally grateful for the oppurtunity to join up with such a good group of solid cats. It's wonderful to share with you in this wide cyber space. Who knows maybe of past heros are getting this vibe. I just wanted to Holla at Nelson. Ma pease stay with you andd thanks for everything.Peace, Ali Parham
i want to learn as much as i can from you sir.i dont know how possible that would be.i saw your pix and was impressed,almost all i ever dreamt of acheiving, you have acheived. i'm fufilled crossing your path.God bless you for making me happy.Pls dont ever stop playing,coz i'm gonna meet you soon.
Sir, nice meeting you.are you a Nigerian? or have ever been to nigeria?coz i would'nt mind gettin all i could from you. i have playing jazz for thirteen years now but still dont feel the groove as i want. bcos when your line becomes too fast or groovy then pple dont understand you anymore. i have done trp exam up to grade 8 and i still play very well. i teach music now but i really want to be on the stage as a performer. talk to you soon.
Nelson, I don't know where we as a community would be without your tireless work. I went to a meeting the other day of photographers who were just now trying to understand the importance of networking, community and social media, maybe it is because our chosen media (jazz) is communal in nature, but watching them try to get it get to together, I explained how important this ning is to our community, and I just wanted to take a moment to tell you, thank you. I really hate to think where our music and our community would not and could not be if you weren't so insistent we all join this and just be in community together.
To be honest with you I don't know how to do that. I will get my son or him to figure it out. That would actually be great as I feel naked without music here on my profile when everyone else does. I will have them put it together.
Love your sound! Thank you for your comments on my photo's. There is a lot of jazz in the neighborhood. I live just around the corner and my guy has been a professional musician for over 40 years so he does know how to stir up the neighborhood. Have a great Easter weekend with friends and family.
Greetings... I am establishing a live Jazz Night on a Wednesday between 7pm to 10pm at a very nice, clean, and classy venue in the East Liberty area. The evening will feature local Pittsburgh musicians like Tony Campbell and many others performing for a very appreciative audience of jazz lovers.
I am a Pittsburgh native and local youth arts advocate attempting to expose young up and coming artists to the heart and soul of pure Pittsburgh music culture and traditions as they meet and learn from some of the local Music Masters. If you are interested in hosting a Wednesday night once a month or every other month I would be humbled and honored to make this happen.