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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
For those who haven't heard.....here is a link to the PG's story about the foundations choosing not to act on their option to purchase WDUQ.

post-gazette.com/pg/10160/1064146-53.stm

Many people spoke passionately about the importance they placed on having jazz remain a prominent part of 90.5's programming. This public advocacy was critical to the foundations decision.

This forum provided a place for an important exchange of ideas that helped inform the public dialog and I thank everyone who joined in the discussion.

Now the group Pittsburgh Public Media will continue it's negotiations with Duquesne University to buy the license. PPM is committed to news,jazz and npr programming as it exists now. I encourage everyone who cares about supporting that commitment to jazz to visit the website pittsburghpublicmedia.org and encourage others to do so. This is the group that represents the future of jazz radio in Pittsburgh.

Again,...thank you very much ......people speaking publicly have made a difference.

Bob Studebaker

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Comment by The Phoenix Jazz Project on June 2, 2010 at 1:06am
"Progressive" is the key word. Google Oliphant and see what you find. It's scary the connections this guy has and what he believes in. And it seems that he wants the radio station to reflect his ideas.
Comment by Can't kill the music on June 1, 2010 at 9:38pm
The Pittsburgh Foundation is asking for your views:

http://blog.pittsburghfoundation.org/2010/06/wduq-radio-give-us-you...
Comment by Peter King on May 30, 2010 at 7:11am
The unilateral actions of a few elites at the foundations who are trying to dump jazz for an all news and talk format are misguided and, frankly, outrageous. They have not scheduled any public debate that I know of. Apparently this idea sprang from five or six people who think they know better than 180,000 people what's good for Pittsburgh. It's not like there's been a groundswell, with thousands of people saying, "Let's change DUQ's format." This is strictly a top-down effort -- a few presumably well-meaning but overrreaching folks may do this because, well, they've got money and a paternal attitude.
Frankly, it reminds me of various "progressive"-thinking urban planners who have rammed highways through urban neighborhoods for the sake of progress. They think they know something the rest of us don't, and it doesn't always turn out for the best.
In truth, this "all news" focus seems doomed to failure. First, it will be very expensive -- much more expensive than programming jazz and NPR and the small but excellent DUQ local news team we have currently.
Secondly, how many people are going to listen to this station? Programs like "City Council Smackdown" and investigative journalism into whether Luke bought enough salt for the winter are not going to draw a lot of listeners -- nor will they draw a lot of pledges.
It's precisely the mix of jazz and news that makes DUQ so effective. I'm told that 70 percent of DUQ's audience listens to both the jazz and news programming. You tune in for Miles or Ron Carter or Pat Metheney and end up hearing about Darfur. Or vice-versa.
I know I'm preaching to the converted here, but I'm asking everyone who cares about jazz radio to write letters to people. Besides Grant Oliphant at the Pittsburgh Foundation, there is Charlie Humphrey of PIttsburgh FIlmmakers, who was hired to come up with a detailed plan. I also understand that Jeannie Pearlman at the Pittsburgh Foundation is a big mover behind this.
Charles Dougherty, president of Duquesne, has a right to sell the station, but we should write to remind him that an independent jazz station is in Duquesne's interest. Considering Duquesne's excellent jazz department, headed by Sean Jones and Mike Tomaro, you would think they would want a jazz station to inspire their students and maybe play some of their music.
I would also wager that the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, headed by Kevin McMahon, would have an interest in keeping a jazz station on the air. It must make it easier for them to book national acts and to keep the Backstage Bar and the Tuesday jazz running. Bill Strickland at the MCG would be an ally as well, I would think.
We have to lean on both our friends and our adversaries at this point. If you know somebody, contact them. Don't be silent. Be polite but let them know we won't be walked over. Silence equals the death of jazz radio in this town. A big, ugly eight-lane superhighway is headed right through the heart of Pittsburgh's jazz legacy. Let's come together and speak out loud and clear to stop it in its tracks.
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on May 30, 2010 at 1:28am
Note from Member Bob Studebaker:

I'm writing to people this weekend hoping to raise a public dialog about what's happening with WDUQ.
As you perhaps know 4 local foundations paid Duquesne University to delay acting on the latest bid to buy the station license by Pittsburgh Public Media. PPM's stated goal is to preserve DUQ programming,.. their website (pittsburghpublicmedia.org) explains who they are and what they're all about. Jazz is central to their mission.


A recent article in current.org (an industry publication) reveals much about the foundations intentions. The implications are strong that this will be the end of jazz on the radio. With the other 2 publics committed to their formats and their audiences (as they should be) it's highly unlikely that there will ever be another jazz station in Pittsburgh.


At this time the foundations have only bought a "delay" in the process. At the end of this 60 day "hold" they may decide not to commit millions to buy the license and millions more to support it. Apparently that decision has not been made yet.


As they consider their options it could only help the cause of preserving jazz radio, in a city where this music has been integral to local culture for more than a century, if a public discussion took place.


I'm asking people who care about this to write letters to the editor to the local papers letters@post-gazette.com pittsburghlive.com/x/tribune-review/opinion/letters/send or(perhaps even an op ed piece) and address their concerns directly to Grant Oliphant, the head of the Pittsburgh Foundation (oliphantg@pghfdn.org ). His concern for the region is obvious and he would ,hopefully, listen if enough people spoke.


Some points worth considering include DUQ being the most listened to public station in the market, and the station most supported by their listeners.


Jazz is a part of Pittsburgh and always has been. It's central to the lives tens of thousands of area residents. Not having it on the radio would diminish the regions cultural diversity.


DUQ's audience is by far the most diverse of all local stations. DUQ's daytime jazz programming is listened to by more African Americans than any other station in town. More people listen to and support jazz radio than either the other 2 public stations.


DUQ has continued to expand it's coverage of local and regional issues. If the foundations truly wanted to enhance local public radio they could help DUQ expand this further.


DUQ has been a leader in implementing new technology, including HD radio. DUQ's HD 1 and 2 provide the region with the BBC and many other news and information programs.


If there can be any benefit from a public dialog it seems that dialog would have to begin now. No one knows what the foundations will ultimately decide but these people are Pittsburghers and benefactors of the region and could perhaps be swayed by genuine concern from a large number of people.


If you'd consider becoming involved, and also pass this along to other like minded people please let me know.


Thank you very much for taking the time to read this.


Bob Studebaker
pgh.studebaker@gmail.com
Comment by The Phoenix Jazz Project on May 24, 2010 at 10:41pm
Jazz in Pittsburgh has to stay, and the only way to have that happen is to keep it on WDUQ! Things are changing too quickly in this world, please don't take one of America's best home-grown forms of art away as well!!
Comment by Dan Wasson on May 20, 2010 at 4:32pm
still smarting over loss of wamo am, will contact you, thanks
Comment by Regina Johnson on May 20, 2010 at 4:41am
Unless you go to a club, the ONLY place to listen to a variety of jazz is on DUQ. I work to it and enjoy it during my drive to and from work. Peace in my soul....
Comment by Boomer The Dog on May 20, 2010 at 3:27am
Save the radio! If the station is doing that well I'm all for saving it. I think it's a piece of the puzzle for local jazz. DUQ has been solid with the jazz format, as most of the commercial stations in town are constantly changing their formats. Plus, there are now 3 major religious stations on FM in town, but only one that plays jazz.

I think that DUQ is a vital part of jazz scene in Western PA, pumping out the music, getting listeners excited, and also always announcing local concerts. We shouldn't lose something so local.

I'd like to see some see some links to articles that explain in a clearer way what's happening and who the players all are. I think that would help us to make decisions on who needs support and what we're fighting for, and get a handle on what we can do.

Boomer
Comment by Kevin Amos on May 20, 2010 at 3:25am
Bob and others. I respectfully support Jazz on the radio and elsewhere in general. I also know that radio has been changing for quite some time now and just like Seridan?AURN wanted to make a financial decision, so has the University in wanting to sell WDUQ.

This has nothing at all to do with programming but a lot about saving people's jobs. The reason why DUQ outperforms other public radio outlets in programing Jazz is because Jazz takes up a great deal of the schedule on the station. It is the only station that is programming Jazz at the moment. That can change if someone finds a formula to make it profitable. I don't think the recent subtile changes in the types of Jazz on the playulist will help that.
And yes...I have noticed that. There is more I can say but I will just not go there.
People can hire me for that.

Kevin Amos

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