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                         http://www.komehsaessentials.com/                              

 

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

From soul Patrol.....

Any of you familiar with Joe Evans?

PRESS RELEASE A Wonderful Life - January 20, 2014

Joseph James Evans, age 97, of Richmond, Virginia departed this life
January 17, 2014. Born on October 7, 1916 in Bonifay, Florida, he grew
up in Pensacola where his love of music was fostered. As a young man, he
moved to New York City where his professional career began to flourish.
Between 1939 and 1965, "Joe" Evans performed with some of America's
greatest bands and musicians. Throughout the 1940s and 50s Evans played
alto and baritone saxophone, flute, and clarinet in Europe and the
United States with celebrated bands including Oran "Hot Lips" Page, Sil
Austin, Louis Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Jimmy Lunceford, Cab Calloway,
Andy Kirk, Jay McShann, Ivory Joe Hunter, Freddie Mitchell, Johnny
Hodges, Don Redman, Thomas "Fats" Waller and many others. Among the
musicians with whom he performed include Charlie Parker, John Coltrane,
Milt Hinton, and many others.

He backed up performers and groups such as LaVerne Baker, Walter Brown,
Al Hibbler, the Nat King Cole Trio, Billy Eckstine, Ella Fitzgerald,
Billie Holiday, Mahalia Jackson, the Mills Brothers, the Jubilaires, the
Platters, the Impressions, Jackie Wilson, "Fats" Domino, Sam Cooke,
Dinah Washington, Ruth Brown, Sarah Vaughan, Mary Wells, Joe Williams,
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, and Harry Belafonte.

In the early 1960s, he traveled extensively with the Motown Revue
backing many of their celebrated performers including Stevie Wonder, the
Supremes, Marvin Gaye, the Temptations, Martha and the Vandellas and
many others. As a studio musician, he performed on several Motown
recordings at Hittsville USA in Detroit. In 1961, Joe Evans formed his
own label, Carnival Records. Evans arranged, produced, composed and
occasionally played on the label's recordings. Although the most
successful group that Carnival produced was the Manhattans, there were
more than thirty affiliate solo artists and groups.

After retiring as an active record producer, Evans, a high school
dropout, received a GED and enrolled as a student in Essex County
College in Newark. He received an associate's degree in 1973 and then
received a Ford Foundation Scholarship to attend graduate school. That
fall, he entered Rutgers University and received a Master's of Education
from that institution in 1975. Evans then began working as a dairy
inspector for the state of New Jersey. After retiring again, he and his
late wife, Anna Moore Evans, moved to Richmond, Virginia.

In 2008, his autobiography, Follow Your Heart: Moving with the Giants of
Jazz, Swing, and Rhythm and Blues (with Christopher Brooks) was
published by University of Illinois Press. That year, Evans was reunited
with cousins from Pittsburgh whom he had previously been unaware of and
in doing so added a new layer to the Joe Evans story.
He is survived by one son Thomas James Evans; two great grandchildren; a
host of nieces, nephews, cousins; other relatives, and friends.

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Comment by Barb James on February 7, 2014 at 10:37pm

I will Dr. Harrison...

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on January 26, 2014 at 3:20am

Barb,

If you have any photos of Joe, would you please post them on your page so I can share them with the membership?

Comment by Barb James on January 26, 2014 at 12:50am
Mr. Amos, thankyou so much for posting this article about my cousin Joseph Evans. I am traveling back to Pittsburgh from his funeral which was dignified and classy , worthy of a man of his stature, complete with an alto sax man playing a soul stirring rendition of "Amazing Grace." Our family is very proud of our cousin's accomplishments and praying that he is resting in the arms of God and playing in the angelic band.
Comment by Travis Klein on January 23, 2014 at 7:26pm

I too had the good fortune to know Joe.  We were the Pittsburgh distributor for Carnival Records in the 60's, thanks to "Sir Walter.  Like Nelson, I contacted Joe  after reading "Follow Your Heart."  He was sharp as a tack and used cell phones and a computer at 94.  We talked a few times and I got in touch with his niece in Pittsburgh.  Joe was a humble and outspoken man who was willing to share the true facts of his experiences.   I liked him a lot and I am sure he'll be gigging in heaven with his old buddies.

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on January 23, 2014 at 4:05am

Kevin,

Thanks so much for posting this. I spoke to Joe a few years ago on the phone for a couple of hours after reading his book.  I think he was 94 then.  Fascinating story that all jazz lovers should read.  It was a wonderful conversation and I regret not getting around to calling him again.  His cousin Barbara is a member of this network and she turned me on to him.  May he R.I.P.

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