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.
I certainly will. I wanted him to re-release his Christmas Album Open Pantry has Betters This Christmas. I have the original record, which I Remastered, to get a more Hi Fidelity sound, as that album was done in the sixties. I believe, his first Album, Harold Betters at The Encore,was done in 1960, and 2010, will be the 50th Anniversary of his first Album, which would make a great re-release of it for next year. A double DVD of the two would make a great package, maybe released through the Jazz Club. I remastered it on a couple of cassettes, which I sent to Harold awhile back. There is alot of History of the Jazz scene of the 50's & 60's in Pittsburgh, I feel should be brought out. The Basic reason I ran the First Jazz Festival, was to decide the question who was the best Trobonist in Pittsburgh? Harold, or Tommy Turk. Harold won the contest, of course Tommy wasn't to bad. Dr. if you E-mail me your address, I will send you some very interesting material and also some of the Live tapes I did of Harold in Pittsburgh, at the Pitt Pott, Haddon Hall, and south hills. I never recorded him at the Encore, because the acoustics were so bad. I have a original copy of the Nitelife Paper, The TOWN-CRIER Nov 17 1961, which I will send you.
My name is Barbara James and I am a Pittsburgh Public School teacher. My cousin, 93 year old Joe Evans played with many of the greats including Billie Holliday, Jay McShann, Lionel Hampton, Cab Calloway, Charlie Parker, Bill Bojangles Robinson, and many others. Cousin Joe discovered, managed, wrote for, arranged, and produced for the Manhattans. He was also the owner of Carnival Records. He is still alive, has written a book titled, Follow Your Heart: Moving w/ the Giants of Jazz, Swing, and Rhythm and Blues and shares many stories about his days as an alto saxman. Thus, my interest in jazz.
Well, Thank you, Dr. Harrison. That is a supreme compliment. I grew up hanging around the Mellon Jazz Festival when it was still in Pittsburgh, so I am more than eager to learn about the current Jazz Community in Pittsburgh. I am totally open to suggestions about people to add to my profile, and as always good role models for a young, female musician who idolizes Buddy Rich. If you know what I mean.
Your page is very interesting and informative. I just came back from a long absence online ulogies. I miss being among those who love and share many stories about their musician lives and experiences. I appologize for not being able to take advantage visiting many of the sites featuring live and free jazz events. I am busy in churc. I sing gospel songs in worship and praise. I watch my grandson at my apartmen, then sometimes fatique after thatt. I practice my keyboard synthesizer when the time allows me too. I would like to learn piano and organ as a professional. I read and study the beginners books trying to make music. I also teach my grandson how to play easy songs. It is great to share a talent with others and see them enjoy the sounds they can create by ear or reading music. Thank you for all your invitation emails sent to me. I am still anticpating to show up to at lease one. The free outside concert may be feasible for us to attend. Thank you for sharing your life experience with me and everyone who come in contact with your web site. God bless you greatly to move into dead lives with rich live music to senthisize movement in them. God has done great things through you. I am very grateful to have met you in Pittsburgh.
Hello! my brother Nelson,it's great hearing from musicians from the past gigs,i was with Barry from 1975-1979 and moved to london and was asked to returned to Barry again from 1986-1990" and i decided to go solo and play more smooth jazz and jazz fusion.I remember my last gig in pittsburg with Barry was next to the river under a big tent and a railroad ran by it,it was still a great time and i have pictures from that show but they need to be scanned to send as attachments ciao,Emmett.PS.George Benson is my no.1 mentor!!!
The burgh is such a great place for jazz---we really appreciate the friendliness and comaradarie of all the professionals we meet...all of you are so down to earth and truly appreciative of our interest. hope to see you around and about soon.