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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.

 

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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

Goodfellows: Grandparents instill spirit of voluntarism, gratitude


Goodfellows: Grandparents instill spirit of voluntarism, gratitude
Wednesday, December 22, 2010

For Dorothy and Daniel Guy, the Christmas spirit is willing, even if the checkbook is not.

The Guys, of Penn Hills and in their 60s, are raising five of their grandchildren while their daughter -- the siblings' mother -- "gets her life together" after a series of personal problems, Mrs. Guy said.

The Christmas holiday -- as is every day when you are doing another round of child rearing in what could be relaxed retirement years -- can be a struggle on the finances and the psyche, Mrs. Guy conceded.

But here's where the couple's indomitable spirit -- helped by Toys for Tots and the Post-Gazette's Goodfellows Fund -- shoulder the load.

The Guy grandchildren got an early visit from Santa -- at least his spirit of giving -- on Saturday during a Toys for Tots event at First Church of God in Christ in Braddock. They were among some two dozen families who shared in a buffet of toys and treats, along with important information on the various services available to give needy families a helping hand this holiday.

The children -- 12-year old twins Lisa and Jonathan White; Israel White, 10; Egypt White, 8; and Destiny Moletta, 7 -- were circumspect when it came to picking from the new age-appropriate and often high-tech toys made available by this historic program of the Marine Corps Reserve.

They had, of course, been reminded earlier of their grandparents' rules for life:

"Give of your time and talents, and do not want too much of anything -- except maybe for good books," Mrs. Guy gently reminded her crew.

And it was the books the children went for first.

Saturday's was the first such toy event at the Braddock church, but the Guys and their grandchildren, all of whom volunteered as well, hope it will start a tradition.

"Where there is a need, there must be help," Mrs. Guy said.

And she sees plenty of need in Braddock, where she was born and raised.

Mrs. Guy, 60, and Mr. Guy, 63, serve on the board of trustees of the church. Mr. Guy, a retired Penn Hills teacher, also helps with church maintenance. Mrs. Guy is part of a group working to get a food bank located Downtown.

And, as a tribute to her grandchildren as well as to her late father, who was a pastor at the Pentecostal First Church, Mrs. Guy plans to start a day-care center in a home near the church on Talbot Avenue where the grandchildren now in her care grew up.

"We are turning the house into something positive for children -- ours and all kids who need it," she said of her plans for "Little Love Fort Necessity Day Care."

The name reflects the local history she is teaching the grandchildren, as well as the need for more day care in the community where, statistics point out, there are lots of single-parent homes.

"The Guys are a devoted, hard-working family who can always be counted on to help," said Christina Mays-Walker, who works in outreach at the church.

"They never talk about their need; rather, they talk about giving to others," she said.

The Guys are parents of four grown children, the youngest of whom will soon graduate from college. The couple has been the grandchildren's official guardians for the past several years "to give them a family life."

And indeed the couple has.

The youngsters, students in the Penn Hills school district, have the ribbons and certificates -- heavy on the arts -- to prove it. They plan to stay busy during their holiday vacation from school, by painting various theme rooms in the planned day-care site. They have selected bright orange, green and yellow hues, perhaps reflective of what their grandmother calls their "new lives."

On Saturday, Christmas Day, the youngsters are hoping for more books and whatever else Santa can spare for under their tree. Then the family will sit down to dinner before going off to visit relatives.

Despite her age, Mrs. Guy said she "was adamant" that her grandchildren did not go into what she refers to as "the system" -- protective services and/or foster care. And she reminds all that children "are not in the system because they did anything wrong ... they are in the system because life did something wrong to them."

And she says one way to help all youths have a Merry Christmas is to donate to or volunteer for Toys for Tots/Goodfellows charities.

Your donations to the Goodfellows Fund will be used to buy presents to distribute. Donations are tax-deductible, and each one is acknowledged in the newspaper. To contribute, use the coupon with this story or go to www.post-gazette.com/goodfellows.



Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10356/1112531-53.stm#ixzz1AUNxNF9x

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Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on January 8, 2011 at 11:25pm
Lisa and Jonathan are two of our students at the NUP Charter School where I teach music.  PJN member Tony Campbell tutors them directly.

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