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 relocated to Pittsburgh in 1979 from my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio to enroll in the graduate Ethnomusicology program at Pitt under the direction of Dr. Nathan Davis.
Favorite Pittsburgh musicians/performers
There are way too many to acknowledge, but here are a few of the individuals who I met here in the Pittsburgh area that have influenced me to some degree: Denise Sheffey Powell, Dr. Nathan Davis, Chuck Austin, Jothan Callins, Geri Allen, Marshall McDonald, Tony Campbell, Carl Arter, Ramone Morris, Joe Harris, Stanley Turrentine, Kenny Fisher, Dr. James Johnson, Sean Jones, Spencer Bey, Roger Humphries, Don Aliquo Sr, Don Aliquo Jr, George Green, Herman Green, Art Nance, DeValle Payne, Dave Budway, Dr. Harry Clark, Sandy Dowe, Shorts Davis, Etta Cox, Jim Emminger, Joe Dallas, Dr. Nelson Harrison
Favorite Jazz Radio or media station
Pandora, XM/Sirius Real Jazz, Last.fm, Slacker
Favorite Pittsburgh Jazz Venue
Crawford Grill #2
Elien's Zebra Room
Dr. Kenneth E. Powell is Principal of the Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School located in Midland, Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the administrative ranks of the PA Cyber Charter School, he served for over ten years as an Assistant Principal and Principal of Quaker Valley Middle School in Sewickley, PA. Before he entered the field of educational administration, Dr. Powell served as a middle school instrumental music teacher in the Pittsburgh Public Schools for nine years. He also worked for the Urban League of Pittsburgh as a Program Coordinator, and taught in the music departments at both the University of Pittsburgh and Slippery Rock University. Powell earned his Doctorate degree in Education from the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. He holds a Masters degree in Ethnomusicology earned from The University of Pittsburgh in 1985. His B.S. undergraduate degree is in Music Education from Kentucky State University.
Kenny is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio where he studied flute under the watchful eyes of Eugene Marquis and Robert Cavally of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra at the Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. It was also during his formative years where he began to play a variety of woodwind instruments including the piccolo, soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones and the clarinet. After high school, Kenny continued his formal flute study with Robert Cavally at Wright State University. He later transferred to Kentucky State University where he majored in music and performed in the jazz ensemble, marching band and wind ensemble. Upon graduation, he returned to Cincinnati where he taught music in the public schools and performed in the Kings Island live shows division and the Pavilion Music Company under the direction of Oscar Gamby.
Kenny is active in the tri-state area and nationally as a free-lance musician and private studio woodwind instructor. His primary instruments are flute, saxophone and clarinet. He has logged performances with world class entertainers including: George Benson, Aretha Franklin, Lena Horne, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Count Basie Orchestra, Al Martino, Clark Terry, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Donald Byrd, Louie Bellison, Nathan Davis, Doc Severinson, George Gee and many others. In 2003, Kenny won the National Flute Association’s Jazz Flute Masterclass Competition and performed in Las Vegas at the Riveria Hotel as a result. He was a runner-up in the 2009 competition and also won a seat in the National Flute Association's Big Band that featured fellow flutists Hubert Laws and Lew Tabackin. His professional memberships include Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc., National Association of Secondary School Principals, American Federation of Musicians, Urban League of Pittsburgh, Preservation Jazz Society of Pittsburgh and the Daniel B. Matthews Historical Society. He also serves on the following Advisory Boards: Allegheny Regional Asset District, Gateway to the Arts, RiverQuest, Extreme Strings Academy, Pittsburgh International Children’s Theatre and Point Park College Department of Education Curriculum. Powell is the former Chairperson for the Sewickley Valley YMCA Black Achievers Steering Committee and former mentor for the Westinghouse High School Business and Finance Academy. His awards include: Hawthorn Club of Sewickley’s Distinguished Black Male Award, Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, Who’s Who Among American Teachers, and the International Youth in Achievement Award of Cambridge, England.
Dr. Powell currently performs in the following ensembles:
Tammi Dahl and Dreamscape
Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra
'Burgh Big Band
Wm. Dell and Wee Jams
National Flute Association Big Band
Pittsburgh Flute Club
Great to see you today and thank you for posting your marvelous profile info on your page so the world can learn about another of Pittsburgh's great musical assets. You will find your page easy to operate and you can do so much with it to promote yourself that it will blow your mind. So don't be shy. Start by adding me as a friend and posting some sounds so I can send your profile around the world.
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