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 am very sadded to learn of Luther's passing. I had received a note from Floreece and then called Nelson. For the past two years Luther was a member of our house band for the Jazz Fan Appreciation events at Malika's, Little E's and the Thunderbird Cafe along with Vince Taglieri and Annie Friedland. A world class guitarist in the long line of Pittsburgh greats.
We would talk often about our health issues since we are both diabetic and gave each other encouragement. Please folks...take care of yourself.
I intend to dedicate the next event on March 19 at the Thunderbird Cafe to my friend and brother. Come out to the session and celebrate his life.
I met Luther at the Hill House in 2008. We kept in touch for a little bit, but sadly never had a chance to get to know each other very well. I just found an email that he'd sent me with two mp3's recorded by his group New Identity in 1970. The songs are "What Do You Want To Do With My Love" feat. Brian "Skippy" Reed and "Your Love" feat. Eddie Lee. Luther and I never got around to doing an interview and discussing the group and the recordings. If anyone has any info about New Identity that they want to share with me that would be greatly appreciated.
I am deeply saddened by Luther's passing. When we last talked a month or so ago, we had planned on meeting up this Summer at the annual music event in the park on the Northside (near snowcone stand). I enjoyed the many years (long ago) we performed together. A talented friend whom I will truly miss.
I first met Luther when he was 14 years old and playing tuba in middle school. his teacher Joe Kennedy, III invited me and several others to give a clinic at his school. Little did I know that he would grow up to join the formidable jazz guitar lexicon and travel the world. Luther was always a joy to be around and that joy found its expression through his music. We will keep his memory alive on this network and invite you to post photos and share your memories on his page so others may experience him in ways they may not have before. We will miss his smile and presence and his great music. He left an indelible impression on the jazz and guitar world like many of his heroes did before him. Farewell my brother. May you rest in peace.
I just received word from Chris sullivan that the music world has once again lost a most wonderful musician...Luther DeJarunett...my heart is just so sadened.Oh...what a wonderful Guitarist...I had the pleasure to work many, many engagements with Luther over a 20 year period. I will cherish all the photographs I have from many Gigs we shared. I truly will sorely miss Luther and his outstanding musicianship. Oh my gosh....what a lost....Floreece Davis (AKA Gail Sonders)
I am working with a newly formed band, Dynasty and of course at the Jazz Workshop every Saturday. Working full time, and working on PhD. in Counseling Studies. Also studying for LCSW exam. Social Work licensing.
whats up my bro i havent heard from you in a while, i really miss playing with you an Keith what you two been doing . im loving your page .you been hideing all them tunes from me . you gotta let me play on a few.add me to your list and lets get back together soon