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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
Edie Antoinette
  • 66, Female
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • United States
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All About Jazz

Born Today - Nancy Wilson



Nancy Wilson
Born: 1937

Nancy Wilson’s musical style is so diverse that it is hard to classify. Over the years her repertoire has included pop style ballads, jazz and blues, show tunes and well known standards. Critics have described her as “a jazz singer,” “a blues singer,” “a pop singer,” and “a cabaret singer.” Still others have referred to her as “a storyteller,” “a professor emeritus of body language,” “a consummate actress,” and “the complete entertainer.” Then who is this... Continue

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Pittsburgh Connection

Stanley Turrentine - Biography

Stanley William Turrentine (tenor saxophonist) was born on April 5, 1934 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and passed away on September 12, 2000 in New York City.

Stanley came out of a musical family in Pittsburgh, his father Thomas played sax in Al Cooper’s Savoy Sultans in the 1930s, and he was Stanley’s first teacher when the boy took up the tenor sax at age 13.

Stanley credited his mother, a piano teacher, with instilling in him the bluesy feel he brought out so distinctively in his music. His brother, Tommy, six years his elder, was a trumpeter and underrated composer who served stints in the big bands of Billy Eckstine, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie and Benny Carter. He gave Stanley his first job at age 16 in one of the small groups he led in Pittsburgh.

Upon graduating from high school in 1951, Stanley joined the Lowell Fulson band, which then included a young Ray Charles, who Turrentine considered a great influence. Turrentine left the Fulson band to join Charles’s first band. In 1953, Turrentine moved to Cleveland with brother Tommy to work in Tadd Dameron’s group. The following year, Stanley replaced John Coltrane in Earl Bostic’s group, and brother Tommy joined several weeks later. Stanley then joined the army where he played in the 158th Army Band, known as “Uncle Sam’s All Stars.”

In March of 1959, Stanley joined Tommy once again in drummer Max Roach’s quintet, where the pair began to attract attention. While his major influences – Don Byas, Ben Webster, Illinois Jacquet, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins and Sonny Rollins – can all be heard in his playing, there was no mistaking him for anyone else when he started to wail.

Read More:

http://stanleyturrentine.jazzgiants.net/biography/

Favorite Pittsburgh musicians/performers

Ahmad Jamal - Biography

Ahmad Jamal was born on July 2nd., 1930 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the home of, many artists known the world over for their work and contributions to both European Classical Music and American Classical Music (what Mr. Jamal prefers Jazz to be called).

He began playing the piano at age 3, the same age Erroll Garner started. They both attended the same elementary and high schools. Mr. Jamal started his formal studies with Mary Cardwell Dawson, noted educator, and the person responsible for placing the first African Americans in The Metropolitan Opera Company. When Madame Dawson moved to Washington, DC., he continued his studies with James Miller, a contemporary of Earl Wild, both Pittsburgh natives.

Mr. Jamal was composing and orchestrating at 10 years of age, and performing works by Franz Liszt and exploring the music of Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, Nat Cole, Erroll Garner, and a host of others, learning the repertoire that comprises the American Song Book. He became so proficient at amassing a huge repertoire that he was employed by Pittsburgh masters three and four times his age and joined the AFof M (American Federation of Musicians) at 14, the minimum age requirement at that time was 16.

He left home at the request of the George Hudson Orchestra at the age of 17, and began touring the country. The George Hudson Orchestra included Clark Terry and orchestrator Ernie Wilkins. The touring schedule included major theaters throughout the United States. Notably, the historic Apollo Theater in NYC, and The Howard Theater in Washington, DC. Mr. Jamal arrived at The Apollo with the orchestra at 18 years of age.

He formed his own group in 1951 and with the help of John Hammond started his recording career with Okeh Records. That career has continued for over six decades and has resulted in one of the most successful recordings in the history of Instrumental music. "The Ahmad Jamal Trio, at The Pershing". Used by Clint Eastwood in "The Bridges Of Madison County" and featured prominently in "The Wolf Of Wall Street". It is also used in dance companies all over the world, and continues to make musical history.

His many, many awards can be found on his web page, and includes The NEA Masters Award, French Government Awards, Malaysian Awards, Doctor of Music, Honoris Causa, New England Conservatory Of Music, which reads:" Ahmad Jamal, Jazz pianist, one of foremost leaders of small ensembles. An innovative great, who drew from and influenced idioms from the big band era to bebop to cool jazz to electronic styles. An American Jazz Master who inspired such important figures as Miles Davis, McCoy Tyner, and Herbie Hancock. Renowned for his exquisite touch, profound grace, and mercurial improvisational choices. For seven decades he's been sharing his inimitable and unique voice with jazz lovers the world over."

His career spans many eras of The Art Form, big band, the Parker / Gillespie era, the electronic age, etc. and is one of the most sampled composers and recording artists in the world. He is still recording and producing young artists, and has just released "Jamal Plays Jamal" on his own label, available from his web site,www.ahmadjamal.com.

Ahmad Jamal has been a Steinway Artist for over a half century.


Roger Humphries - Biography

Roger was 3-1/2 year old when his family first discovered his early talent for playing drums.


When Roger was 4 1/2 year old he sat in with the Tab Smith Big Band. His Uncle Frank Humphries was working with the Tab Smith band along with Savannah Churchill at the time.

He began playing professionally at the age of fourteen. He led his own group at Carnegie Music Hall when just sixteen. "I've had a love for music as long as I can remember. He was encouraged by his older brothers Lawrence Jr. and Norman who were musicians at that time. Additionally, Roger's son Roger Jr. and Norman's son Gregory have followed in their footsteps as professional drummers. 

In August of 1962 began Roger's first major road job. He joined Stanley Turrentine (also from Pittsburgh) and Shirley Scott at the Hurricane in the Hill District of Pittsburgh. 

In 1964 Roger went to New York to join the Horace Silver Quintet. While with Silver, he toured Europe twice and appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival, There, he was interviewed by renowned jazz writer, Leonard Feather. A summary of that interview is included in the Encyclopedia of Jazz in the Sixties

Roger recorded three albums while working with Horace Silver. 
They were "Song For My Father", "Cape Verderan Blues" and "Jody Grind". The Song For My Father album is one of the most legendary album's of our time, still being played by most jazz radio station as a popular hit. His tenure with the great Horace Silver lasted a little over three years from 1964 through 1967. During those three albums recordings he played with such giants as, Joe Henderson, James Spalding, Tyrone Washington saxophone, Teddy Smith, Larry Ridley bass, Woody Shaw, Carmell Jones trumpeters and J.J. Johnson trombone.

In 1965 Roger recorded with the great trumpeter Carmell Jones, the album called "Jay Hawk Talk".

He also recorded with such artists as, Geri Alan, Herbie Mann/Phil Woods, Richard Groove Holmes, Kenny Blake, Frank Cunimondo, Dwayne Dolphin and Nancy Wilson 2004 Christmas cd. He also appeared on Oprah Winfrey and Bryant Gumbel TV show with Nancy Wilson.

Read More:

http://rogerhumphriesband.com

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