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.
Nathan Davis, PhD- saxophone, composer
Horace Silver- piano, arranger
Larry Coryell- guitar
Dwayne Dolphin- bass
Tony Campbell- saxophone
Howie Alexander- keyboard
James Johnson, PhD- keyboard, drums
Members of Pittsburgh Jazz Preservation Society
Favorite Jazz Radio or media station
WDUQ- Pittsburgh, PA
Favorite Pittsburgh Jazz Venue
CJ's- Pittsburgh, PA
Commonly known as Bill Robinson
Graduate of The Ohio State University- BA, Political Science
Graduate of Duquesne University- MA, Political Science
Elected Official at City, County and PA State levels for 27 years
Present Member, Allegheny County Council and Chair, Budget and Finance Committee
Founder and CEO, Bill Robinson & Associates, Inc.- a public policy and political consulting firm
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Political Science, Carlow University
Emcee, Annual University of Pittsburgh Jazz Seminar and Concert
I have been a jazz enthusiast and collector of jazz music for 50 years. I enjoy all jazz genres, a variety of musicians, and I especially enjoy the playing of Nathan Davis on the sax and flute and the arrangements of the incomparable Horace Silver. I appreciate Pittsburgh as one of the fountainheads of jazz music, jazz musicians, and jazz history. The most notable local jazz musician and historian is Nelson Davis, PhD. I believe that we should constantly promote and honor the legacy of jazz musicians from the Greater Pittsburgh area and develop a way to enshrine their memory and music. We must also welcome and appreciate talents of musicians like Tony Campbell on the saxophone, Sean Jones on the trumpet, and the vocal stylings of Sandy Staley. The University of Pittsburgh Jazz Seminar and Concert is the only jazz presentation of its type at any university in the United States or abroad. I invite people to visit the University of Pittsburgh Jazz Archives and Hall of Fame and to participate in the 2008 Jazz Seminar and Concert. For real jazz buffs, I encourage you to drive, walk, or run to the corner of Centre Avenue and Kirkpatrick Street in the Hill District to see beautiful, life-sized pictures of local jazz greats, then head over to Wylie Avenue near the site of the historic Crawford Grill to view names of local jazz greats carved into the side of the Legacy mid-rise building.
You are much more than a fan. You have supported jazz for many years in your professional activities and also by your presence on the scene where it is performed. I posted a picture of the proclamation you sponsored at the County level naming April Jazz month in Allegheny County. Thank you for joining us here as well.