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.
You sounded really good at Jessica Lee's on Thursday; I enjoyed it. Don't faint, but I have finally gotten around to responding to my "Jazz Friends". I will be more engaged since I will no longer be teaching at Robedrt Morris University. More time for Jazz and creative projects. Thank you for developinig this site, Nelson!!
There are great things about Jazz legacy living in cyberspace! Its really interesting, having grown up in Pittsburgh and then having lived in Chicago for 16 years. My work has always been in solidarity with youth and communities leading me to constantly study and discover the legacy of the African American arts. What I have learned in relationship to Chicago, leads me to understand Pittsburgh's legacy on a deeper level than during the time I lived there.
I have a gig coming up on Nov. 1st. at Murphy's Tap Room in Regent Square. I'm hoping that if we get a decent crowd we could get a jazz thing started in the Square on a regular basis. Chris Pangikas (keyboards) and myself (drums) will be backing Michelle Benson from 7pm until 10pm. I would appreciate any notice you could post on the this great communication tool that I recently found!
It may be a little early so I'll pass you another comment in a week or so,
Yes I am the Bill Lowman from Pittsburgh. I also worked with your brother at 911 for a couple of years. I recently saw your video on Metaphysics of Music on FB and was completely blown away by your presentation. I am very glad to see the power and knowledge continuing to grow and be available for our people. Thank you for all your hard work and labors of love.
Hi Dr. Harrison. Yes, I have met and worked with Gary. Year ago we met, probably in the late 90`s and worked together in Nagoya a few times for the same company. I know he moves around a lot, but he is a fantastic vocalist and person. I really have a lot of respect for him. Thanks for letting me know he`s here, I`ll look him up now. Have a great day, Imani
Hi Dr. Harrison! Thanks so much for getting back and sharing a little more. Yeah, Fukuoka is growing up a little. Glad you had a nice time and actually remember "Hakata". I live in the same area. Yes, PLEASE post some of those priceless photos for us/ME to enjoy.... smile
I`ll be checking in often as I`ve already made some nice connections. Thanks again and keep slammin`.... Mad respect for you, IMANI
What a wonderful opportunity to connect with other jazz artists and fans. You have quite the outstanding list of accomplishments along with some excellent media on your page. I look forward to connecting and being part of such a wonderful community. Blessings & Peace. Long live jazz!