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.
"Please leave your comments or a memory of Nancy here on her page which will remain permanently on this network. Also you can share any photos you might have.
I can see her now attending every gig of Gabriel's All Star Band."
"Nancy's last text message to me on 8/15/19 the day after her 89th birthday:
"Thanks so much. I will always be indebted to you dear Nelson for taking me to the doorway to live jazz at Dowe's and opening it and encouraging this shy,…"
Nancy's last text message to me on 8/15/19 the day after her 89th birthday:
"Thanks so much. I will always be indebted to you dear Nelson for taking me to the doorway to live jazz at Dowe's and opening it and encouraging this shy, elderly lady to enter. t changed my life. Thank you, thank you."
Nancy's table at Dowe's every Wednesday on Roger Humphries Big Band night became known as the VIP table. Her favorite song was "Violets" arranged by Mike Tomaro with Al Dowe as featured soloist. She also like Sky Dive as sung by David Moore.
Age 89, of North Hills Estates in Ross Twp., passed away on Friday, August 23, 2019. Wife of the late Henry Persinger; loving mother of Jack Wallace, Patricia "Tric" Garfunkel (Jules) and the late Tom Persinger (survived by Evelyn); proud grandmother of Tom, Jr. Russell, and Melissa; loving sister of Charles Sanford (Sylvia) and the late Howard Sanford (the late Helen); sister-in-law of Harry, Howard, and Richard Persinger; adored aunt of Mark Sanford, Jennifer Sovick (Chip), Maureen McKay (Thomas) and Alexia "Lexi" McMeekin (Shawn); also survived by loving relatives and friends. Friends will be received on Monday from 2-4 and 6-8 p.m. at DEVLIN FUNERAL HOME, INC. 806 Perry Hwy., Ross Twp. A committal service will be held at Allegheny County Memorial Park on Tuesday at 11 a.m. Nancy received her Masters of Library Science from the University of Pittsburgh. She went on to become the Head Librarian at North Hills High School and most recently worked as a librarian at the Community College of Allegheny County, North Campus. In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be made to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org
Published in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from Aug. 25 to Aug. 26, 2019
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