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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

jazz in Pgh and failure of news media to offer coverage

I visited the August Wilson culture centre last nite and caught Grady Tate.  He scatted his can off.  A consumate musician. 

Impressions? (personal)...Humphries on tubs was his usual driving, tasty percussionist.  The best in town.  Paul Thompson really blew.  I mean, fine changes, great time and...lots of heart.  A quality all too absent today.  Blake on Alto was solid.  He's dependable...usually brings "something to the table"  The lady from N Y C, on piano, did a creditable job.  She was better than adequate.  Apologies...the guy on guitar, I'm not hip to.  He played "nice."  The guy from N Zealand (I think) who kept referring to Tate as his mentor...didn't impress...me.  Apologies... I dont set out to bum rap... just my impressions.  Tate?  Just when you thought he was runnin on "E," he'd fool you and come back strong, right on time and tune!  Yeah, he's a credit to our art form... JAZZ.

 

As for our "media"  the first blurb I saw on Tate's gig, was Sat morn... the very day of the gig.  It's a shame.  The papers cover ALL GENRE, except jazz.  I'm aware, country, rap, rock etc. etc. etc, have captured audience attention; still; Jazz is a true ART FORM, and should be shown true, due respect. Yuh might like Johnny Cash (your privilege), but please... people like Charles, Elling, Eckstine, McCrea, Vaughan, Fitzgerald... and I could go on and on... these people are on a different plane... and should be recognized for sheer talent, and in some cases... near genius!  Thanks for providing space to vent my spleen!!!

    Donny Cerminara... the Be-Bop Fanatic

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Comment by bob studebaker on May 2, 2011 at 3:37pm

the show was mentioned several times on WDUQ during the daytime...and was listed with other jazz events on our website.....I don't know for certain since I don't always listen but I'm pretty sure Tony gave it plenty of mentions as well...he is a big fan of Grady Tate and even had him headline a PJS show a few years ago

 

Comment by Rick Nowlin on May 2, 2011 at 4:41am
As the Post-Gazette's unofficial jazz writer, I must tell you that we're working with one hand tied behind our back.  I have to interview artists and write things on my own time, which is usually evenings and weekends (often bad times), and we've missed several shows because I couldn't do the job properly.
Comment by Kevin Amos on May 2, 2011 at 3:59am

Don....as a media person I was not invited to cover either event that Mr. Tate was at. The organizers of both events never let me know about the events. I got them "after the fact" and in a "hey Kev...by the way, Grady Tate is coming" told to me from one of our music legends, Roger Humphries. Another person told me that they were going to be on a panel representing Pittsburgh during one of the events. Huh??

 

You figure this out folks. How does a person serve the Jazz Community for over thirty years on the radio, have a weekly program  and freelance as a writer and not get an invitation. It the same old stuff.

Now some folks will say , "Well why don't you promote yourself more?". I will counter with that and say if you know the organizers, why don't you put them in contact with me since this event is coming up. That way I can help promote the event and more importantly create an audio archive that will highlight an interview with Mr. Tate.

That's because their view of the Pittsburgh Jazz scene is narrow and they don't know ALL the key folks. And yes...I consider myself one of the key folks. I actually pretty humble and do all I can for music here in Pittsburgh, period. Folks here also continue to play these games that benefit their self-serving interests.

Well Don...that didn't happen. I bet you that all those people were there however and no media coverage was provided.

Please don't blame all the media folks. I wanted to be there but was shut out again by the culture police.

 

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