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PITTSBURGH JAZZ

 

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, Parlan to 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.

 

WELCOME!

 

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Duke Ellington is first African-American and the first musician to solo on U.S. circulating coin

    MARY LOU WILLIAMS     

            INTERVIEW

       In Her Own Words

SHOULD THERE BE A PITTSBURGH JAZZ FESTIVAL AGAIN?

Information

SHOULD THERE BE A PITTSBURGH JAZZ FESTIVAL AGAIN?

Website: http://jazzburgher.ning.com
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Members: 99
Latest Activity: Sep 5, 2015

Discussion Forum

Pittsburgh Jazz Festival "Yes It Can,...Be"...you digg

Started by Christopher Dean Sullivan. Last reply by Maryellen Hayden Jun 11, 2009. 34 Replies

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Comment by Tony Smith on January 31, 2009 at 3:56pm
If I am given a bit of notice I will be glad to come up to Pgh. to help. It will give me a chance to help the jazz festival, visit family and hear Jim F. play again. If you know the person(s) responsible for volunteers please let them knoow they have at least one volunteer.
Comment by Tony Smith on January 31, 2009 at 3:53pm
I would say yes. There are a number of people from N.E. TN that go to Pgh for the Jazz Festival. I was surprised at the number. Although they go for the jazz it also gives Pgh. a good name.

Tony
Comment by Pgh Rich on December 31, 2008 at 10:03am
Any thing to keep jazz alive in the Burg............................
PghRich
Comment by Elizabeth "Betty" Asche Douglas on December 19, 2008 at 3:37pm
Thank you KIra Gray, for looking at the issue in a wholistic way, and with concrete suggestions as to how it might be brought to fruition.
Comment by Kira Gray on December 16, 2008 at 4:19am
I think the question is not really should there be a Pittsburgh Jazz Festival again but more "how much would you be willing to pay in time, sweat, energy AND money to make a world-class music event happen?" That means
YOU since to do even one night of music involves a lot of work, not fun work, like playing music, but boring but necessary work like fund raising, recruiting volunteers, persuading politicians, office work, security, ordering porta-potties etc. etc etc. It would not hurt to have a pre-planning meeting where folks who are interested could present their fantasy of what a perfect Pittsburgh Jazz Festival would look like. It could be online. My perfect Pittsburgh Jazz Festival would have moderate ticket prices, wealthy sponsors who want to give back something to their customers and earn some good will, a variety of jazz styles and some Blues with some very modern stuff to pull in the young, an oversupply of volunteers so that people survive their volunteering and want to return, and a postive upbeat feeling of "oh my God, it wasn't perfect but we DID it !!!" Enlist the support of other community groups to not only build a fanbase but fulfill important tasks. As a start begin to identify people with some event organizing experience who can play a role in giving shape to whatever the fantasy becomes. I want it to happen. I want the T-shirt!
Comment by Kevin Amos on December 10, 2008 at 1:08pm
Yes folks there could be a Jazz festival here but folks want to get politcal and non-inclusive with their choices of who should perform. Also the people who know how to organize events like this such as myself will not be hired.

To put together an event like this take many months of preparation and work behind the scenes that somewhat escapes folks. In other words, this is no walk in the park.

Kevin
Comment by Ed Skirtich on October 9, 2008 at 4:52pm
Hi again James,

You make some great points here.

Yes, that's true about how we do need to focus.

I like your point about cable access.

I used to work at Pittsburgh Cable Access Channel 21 and I had my own show.

The problem was it was an all-volunteer program and I didn't have the money to pay pro musicians to be on my show.

But I did do a jazz documentary film which was a lot of fun.

Also, at our Jazz Workshop, Inc. Family Night Concert Series, each band needs to encourage and promote the JWS Music School and Outreach Programs.

We all have to share the stage at JWS Family Nights.

And it is true in that I get so tired of seeing the same old, same old in Pittsburgh, PA that I had to go visit my family members to see jazz in Seattle, WA and Axelandria, VA/Washington,D.C.

There jazz scenes are incredible, and they have thriving school districts with music programs too.

So as you said, when we get together to plan this, let's be cohesive, and let's share the stage with each other.

Ed Skirtich
ejskirtich@comcast.net
(412) 422-4149 (H)
(412) 841-8046 (C)
Comment by James R. Meny on October 8, 2008 at 11:51pm
Don't think we can have the a great Jazz festival unless we all want it and that includes the players and fans. All of these forums, classes, workshops, music schools, teachers, venues, and musicians and, it seems, it's "everyone out for themselves." Living in Austin, TX for the last 20 years I can tell you that the focus is what keeps that city alive in the music industry, they take advantage of local and national acts and let the world think that they are the "live music capital of the world." Honestly, Pittsburgh has a superior musician base but doesn't have a philosophy to guide itself and thus nobody really knows about what is here. For the life of me, I can't understand why there is no a "PittsburghLive" music show that is broadcast on cable access channels just like Ausin has "AustinCityLimits." Is their anyone who everyone can agree with that is a clear choice of leader in the Jazz industry here? It really makes me sad that I have to drive to Washington, D.C. to see my favorite jazz vocalist, Rachelle Ferrell, and that her Management can't financially justify her coming to a Jazz "Mecca" like, Pittsburgh. Organization and a central focus and philosophy is the only way to get things moving and change the face of what Pittsburgh means to the world. Think of your kids. Their leaving. The average age of Pittsburgh is over 50. Pittsburgh sells more "lawn chairs" than any other city in America. You have more colleges and universities than Austin, yet when kids go to UT they tend to stay in Austin and build businesses because there is so much to support their hunger for entertainment. Pittsburgh has even more, but nobody is aware of them, there is very little support for most, except for pro sports, and then the musicians tend to criticize the audience. We have to change who we "are." This is not how to build a legacy. I want to make Pittsburgh my permanent home but I feel more "disconnect" between people than in the state I hated, Texas. Some have been very nice but that's proving to be more the exception. I'm willing to do whatever it takes, if that's what everyone else wants, too. What is everyone's real feelings about what's going on or "not" going on in Pittsburgh?
Comment by Ed Skirtich on October 2, 2008 at 5:00am
PITTSBURGH- WHY CAN'T YOU WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE?:- WE DO HAVE A ONCE MONTH JAZZ FESTIVAL/FAMILY NIGHT CONCET SERIES AT JAZZ WORKSHOP, INC. AT THE CARNEGIE LIBRARY OF PITTSBURGH HOMEWOOD ON 7101 HAMILTON AVENUE PITTSBURGH, PA 15206 ON THE LAST WEDNESDAY OF EVERY MONTH FROM OCTOBER- MAY AND EVERY WEDNESDAY ON THE STEPS IN JUNE AND JULY AND WILKINSBURG EVERY TUESDAY IN THE SUMMER MONTHS THAT ARE ALL FREE OF CHARGE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!

AT JWS FAMILY NIGHTS WE FEATURE THE BEST JAZZ GROUPS IN THE CITY ALONG WITH JWS ALUMNI BANDS AND FACULTY BANDS!

WHY DOESN'T ANYBODY SUPPORT US? WHY DOESN'T ANYBODY ATTEND?

WHY CAN'T WE WORK TOGETHER?

I'VE BEEN CALLING PITTSBURGH PUBLIC SCHOOLS ALONG WITH OTHER SCHOOL DISTRICTS AND NOBODY WANTS ANYTHING TO DO WITH US!

JWS OUTREACH PROGRAMS ARE TO ENHANCE PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOL MUSIC PROGRAMS, AND NOT TO TAKE OVER OR INTERFERE WITH ANY MUSIC PROGRAMS ALREADY EXISTING!

I'M TIRED OF PITTSBURGH JAZZ FESTIVALS THAT FEATURE THE SAME 6 OR 7 PEOPLE PLAYING IN DIFFERENT COMBOS!

WHY CAN'T WE FEATURE JWS BANDS AND AFRO-AMERICAN MUSIC INSTITUTE BANDS AND COLLEGE AND HIGH SCHOOL GROUPS?

EVERYTHING IS SOOOO BACK IN THE DAY IN PITTSBURGH- WELL, HOW ABOUT THE MUSICIANS TODAY, OCTOBER 2, 2008!

LET'S FEATURE THE UP AND COMING RISING YOUNG ARTISTS 40 YEARS OLD AND UNDER!

IT'S TIME FOR NEW TUNES AND NEW ARTISTS TO EMERGE!

SOO AS THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN SLOGANS SAY- IT'S TIME FOR A CHANGE!

IF YINZ ARE ABSOLUTELY SERIOUS ABOUT THIS, I'D LOVE TO PUT TOGETHER A JAZZ WORKSHOP, INC. GROUP TO PERFORM AT A PITTSBURGH JAZZ FESTIVAL! AND I'D LIKE TO HELP ORGANIZE THIS TOO!

SOOO- LET'S ALL STOP COMPLAINING AND LET'S MEET AT JWS TO SEE HOW WE CAN ORGANIZE THIS!

SOOO, HERE'S MY INFORMATION IF YOU'D LIKE TO DISCUSS THIS FURTHER!

Ed Skirtich
Artistic Director/Jazz Workshop, Inc.
ejskirtich@comcast.net
(412) 422-4149 (H)
(412) 841-8046 (C)
Comment by James R. Meny on September 30, 2008 at 6:17pm
I think at some time soon we should all get together and discuss this matter in more detail. This should consist of everyone we can get that cares. Nelson, you know I'm not a big advocate of corporate sponsorship, at least in the beginning, but that is something we should all discuss, too. Let's think about setting up a date. What do you think?
 

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