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.
Hey man...I didn't even see you. We had just slogged through a very expensive and VERY BAD meal...and I just wasn't in the mood to stand to hear the music...although they sounded great! Stop out at Gullifty's some Wed.
Hey Nelson, it's been a long time I miss the Burg and all the good players LA is a lot diffrent a bit cold not worm hearted like home I cant believe it has been almost 20 years when I decited to hed for LA my last job was on the Gateway Clipper with Roger Hump.
I am out now I have 4 more dated to do in Japan then I head back home.
I come back to my home town every year "Connellsville Pa." I hope I have the chance to hit the Burg and see all my old friends.
stay blessed and keep in touch.
Thanks, Dr. Harris. No doubt about it, I'm looking forward to it as well. It should be quite a show. Its not a typical performance for the Palace Theater, and I hope it will be well attended by Pittsburgh jazz lovers.
Hi Nelson, yes I think I was talking to you at a JAZZ talk last year my brother Joe Lewis and I attended I think you had a small Trumpet with you when you gave your talk about the soul in Jazz without all the song and play sheets, just play from the soul. We enjoyed that episode. Anyway, I attended some of your gigs long ago, but I did not personally meet to greet you because I was in the Air Force and didn't stay in Pgh long in those days. I will be returning to the Burgh" in the summer months of June or July for a few months vacdation God Willing. So I hope to get in toudh with you then. Take care my brother and keep the Jazz rolling in PITTSBURGH.
Hi Nelson, It seems as though I know you, but not for sure. I left the Pgh scene back in 1956 and I was a Jazz Addict then. I use to go to Mutt's Hut on Wylie Avenue and peep in the celler opening to hear Stanley Turntine when he was starting up on the Sax and I always hung out at the Crawford Grill and Birdie's on Centre Ave sneaking in to hear Jimmy Smith, in the early 50's and also Jack McDuff with Joe Dukes on drums which was a smash in those days. I watched John Coltrane at the Crawford Grill and other Jazz Giants who played there before I left Pittsburgh and went into the US Air Force. I hope to meet up with you guys when I return to the Burg" when I come this summer God Willing. Take care and keep blowing your horn.
Congratulations Nelson!!!! It is going to be great having an
exciting jazz network in our beloved Pittsburgh. Call on me for
anything I can help with. I am pretty proud of this. Truly. Thanks for inviting for inviting to be a part of this wonderful site.
I am very excited for us all!!!!!!
Neslon, hey, why don't you call me at 412-802-6229 and stop over to my house in bloomfield to check out some jazz records (mostly historical of course) and see my lastest Ibanez jazz guitar model, etc. lindlsey