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 George! Lovin' seeing you on the Cultural Trust Flyers/posters with Nelson! Long overdue. You've been on my mind. When I get back from teaching Teen Girl Rock and Roll Camps...(aha, it's big fun!)-I'm looking you up. Got some ideas I wanna share. Enjoy your summer and say hello to your wife. ciao, -janelle ps. I did not know that your mom played bass in the "Sweethearts of Rhythm"! Wow!! Awesome!
Thanks for your kindness, George.
My sister Linda truly appreciated you.
Sharing that great musical era with her was precious for me and you were definitely a part of that.
Pgh is fortunate that you are there playing your music and being who you are.
All the best to you and your Linda,
Brother George -
It has been my distinct honor and pleasure to perform with you these many years. You are the finest conga drummer ever in Pittsburgh that I know of, and taught me many good lessons along the way. Even more important is you are one fine gentleman, compassionate, and always honest and true to your nature. I am proud to have you as a friend. I have to agree with Nelson - your photograph collection must rival Teenie Harris', and spans the last 40 years of jazz in Pittsburgh. Here's hoping you'll share a few on the site when you find the time.
You are one of my all-time (no pun intended!) favorite musicians and humans.
I miss hearing you and singing with you.
You were one of my first jazz friends and I thank you for the powerful encouragement that you gave me when I first started singing jazz about a hundred years ago at the Stage Door...with you and Eric Kloss and Spider, Vince Genova,Dave LaRocca, Don D., et al. Being part of that experience changed my life. To me you embody the spirit/essence of this music at its highest level.
I will never forget your labor of love to come play with us at the Shadow Lounge on my birthday a couple of years ago. That was a peak moment for sure.
Thanks for your continuing inspiration.
Loved the song (with Salsamba) that you posted on your myspace page..you all sound fantastic.
Hope it sells a million. Maybe you'll add some of your recordings here?
ps I hope you'll post some of your photography work here too.
So glad you have joined us. I know when you post some of your pictures, they will rock the site. there's so much more you can do here than on MySpace and other platforms. Check it all out and feel free to take full advantage of it all.