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.
Marek Wysoczyński, an initiator of this very unique project has asked us to prepare an identity for his one in a kind collection of 'smiles & autographs'. He believes that this simple act can have a major positive impact on our everyday life. His enthusiasm seems to be shared by many celebrities such as: Pedro Almodovar, Michael Jackson, Liza Minelli, Andrzej Wajda and Lech Wałęsa who supported this cause by dedicating their 'smiles & autographs'.
Our major goal was to show the essence of Marek's initiative in the simpliest possible way. We hoped to find a solution that would show the whole idea behind that simple emotion in a single emblem, however we knew that drawing nothing but a smile was not an option even if the whole project seems to be strictly based on it. Although it's not apparent at first, the concept of a helping hand follows, unravelling Marek's true intentions - behind a simple muscle contraction lies a deeper meaning, a desire to help one another, a desire to lend a helping hand.
We combined these two ideas into one - a helping hand, carrying and passing the smile on. Aforementioned result served as a basis to create a minimalist and simple emblem which allows others to easily comprehend the whole concept without any unnecessary and misleading elements. Additionally, logo composition was prepared in a way allowing one to isolate a sign with a 'smile word' from the whole logo, which stands alone as a simplified logo version. However, the emblem alone is concise enough to be used without typography
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