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.
Good to be a part of this magnificent historical site. The lengthy list of formative names in music takes my breath away, just before I smile with my heart. Gonna get down there one day Nelson, count on you to show me some sites before a fine dinner.
Dr Nelson glad to finally be here! so funny you liked the few that you did! one is a slide show photo impression of a dear friend and talented Musician & Singer Ulysis Slaughter part of the Jazzberry Jam group before he passed here in Nyc, the dog looking in the phonograph is a shot I took before recording my new Album at Bennett Studios in Englewood NJ before they closed.. looking forward to peaking around Pittsburg's Jazz Shed! would love to come to Pitsburg to perform. My name is LaRe & I am a 10x award winning Jazz SInger & accomplished World Class Musician doing big things in Jazz..
I just wanted to let you know that I spoke with Bob, and we are both excited to get something going!! Also the Pittsburgh Jazz Society has decided to hold their gatherings here every sunday starting Jan 8th. I will keep you updated as things they develop...
This Pittsburgh jazz Network has been a boon to helping connect with new and old friends, established artists in the great city and elsewhere. I have hit some of the happenings and always enjoyed listening. i want to get more listeners here then they can find their favorites and follow them and me too hopefully. i just need to keep practicing and studying!- kev
Carl Carrington and I were at PITT together when Calvin Stemley was a grad student! Also I heard David Moore and thought he was awesome. A trumpet friend of mine Daryll Cogdell hooked me up with Dick Lilley when I needed a tenor for a band I had at PITT. David and Mr Lilley were very encouraging back then in the late 70s.Carl told me he ran into a drummer I grew up with named Ezell Jones in Baltimore. I am sure Dwayne Dolphin heard him in his Harrisburg travels. I have been giving Harrisburg folks the lowdown on Pgh jazz legacy and the chitlin circuit. Small world! - kevin
Derrick was a dear friend of mine and still to this day I think about him alot. I miss him. He was a very accomplished pianist. He was committed to education and jazz. He was a LOT of fun to be around. He told me many times that at some point he planned to come back east. I wanted him to come back to the DC area, but he had his I on Philly. What a loss. But, I clearly remember all the good times. Gigging with him. Joking with him. Having serious talks about this music we play. RIP my brother.
Hi Dr Harrison
I hope things are well with you and yours - and apologies for getting you back a few days late. I was searching frantically for some photo's of Jothan and myself and came across a couple (I have put them on my profile). I only actually heard that Jothan (ethnomusicologist extraordinaire) had passed by Associate Proffesor Niyi Coker (who had originally ran the 1st civil rights programme course at Alabama Birmingham. I hope that now I have reconnected with some of Jothan's musical associates that his spirit can live on. Peace to your friends and the loved ones you've left behind Jothan x