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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

Kevin Amos speaks out on "Black Radio" in Pittsburgh

Folks ...I have am involved in print, broadcast and new media so I think I know a little bit. My radio involvement spans over 30 years. It does't make any difference where I have worked. I know the industry and how things work.
I have never been a favorite of the so-called Black media mainstream in case some of you really want to know or the White media either.

For a few months now people have been asking me what the solution should be in replacing WAMO as a so-called Black radio entity but I have kept my comments private and not public until I saw this letter sent to the FCC from a group I have supported since its inception. The former WAMO is the prime example of a child abuser. It's negative inpact through it's programming is no secret and it poisioned the minds of our young people. So the question is: Why would you want more of the same?

**

Kevin Amos wrote -


I'm sorry. I personally can't see myself signing on to this letter below sent to the FCC

This letter is insulting to all the Black broadcasters who have not worked at WAMO and have worked whenever called upon to support the efforts of the organization. for many , many years

It also shows how narrow minded folks are in the Pittsburgh area and perhaps around the country as well where similar things have happened and will continue to happen.

Don't get me wrong. I have lots of respect for the responsible programmers who have worked at WAMO down through the years and I know of the great history.

Radio is a business that is driven by advertizing revenue and that is the bottom line. In one respect out of several other factors, It depends on the consumers who support the products aired on any particular station.

It has nothing to do with the myth of non-urban dictates or the so-called digital divide either.

It does have to do with the clear fact to most that we are in the digital media age.

Folks need to retool and come up with a business model that works. Someone in your organization also needs to keep up with what is going on with the FCC.

This letter is an embarrassment.


I can't believe this.... but then again... maybe I can.


Kevin Amos

**
September 23, 2009


Federal Communications Commission

445 12th Street, SW

Washington, DC 20554



Dear Commissioner:

I write on behalf of B-PEP, the Black Political Empowerment Project, a community collaborative in existence since 1986 aimed at creating a commitment within the African American community to “VOTE in EACH and EVERY election”, with the goal of encouraging elected officials to effectively and expeditiously respond to the needs, aspirations and concerns of the African American community. B-PEP traditionally participates in voter registration, voter education, non-partisan community forums, and election protection activities to further empower our community.

Since February 2007 we have been the key co-conveners of the Coalition Against Violence (CAV), providing ongoing administrative support to this effort aimed at stemming the violence which has become totally unacceptable to the citizens of the Pittsburgh region and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We have identified, literally, hundreds of anti-violence strategies, providing every segment of the community with an opportunity to impact on violence reduction. Representatives of B-PEP and CAV have met with political leaders, school board administrators, the Chief of Police, religious and community leaders to “move from complaint to possibility…from planning to implementation” to identify ways to activate our strategies. These discussions have been highlighted monthly on every second Saturday on the local radio station WAMO; input from Pittsburgh’s local youth has been profound, as they share their perspectives on violence intervention and prevention methods each fourth Saturday of the month, also. Unfortunately, this informative public dialogue of information has now been silenced. These conversations were vital to sharing the goals and strategies listed in the Coalition Against Violence documents to assist the public in becoming more engaged in their implementation.

The Black Political Empowerment Project, in the last two years, launched the Regional Equity Monitoring Project (REMP) aimed at ensuring that the processes and policies of official agencies, offices and political bodies are in fact serving their established purposes. In addition, we have partnered with the Greater Pittsburgh Student Voices in launching the Youth Media Justice Initiative aimed at providing a message system analysis of local Pittsburgh TV news, an initiative conducted by area youth in particular, assess how young people of color are portrayed in the news.

B-PEP and the Coalition Against has also recently partnered with the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and the Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council to initiate the Young Adult Empowerment Program (YAEP), which seeks to help undereducated and underemployed individuals, ages 17-24, in Southwestern Pennsylvania. This new initiative needs to be shared with the public on an ongoing basis to assist its implementation.

All of these efforts (we are a volunteer-based community collaborative) requires strong support and participation from the media. Because our activities are aimed at primarily impacting the African American community, we have historically relied upon WAMO FM and WAMO AM (860 AM) to help us communicate this constituency in the Metropolitan Pittsburgh region. That voice is silent, as is a major vehicle available to B-PEP, our initiatives, and the work of many fine organizations throughout the region that to help create a more positive, vibrant and healthy Black community. It is in that spirit that on Thursday, September 10, 2009 the Black Political Empowerment Project (B-PEP) Planning Council voted unanimously to urge any and all appropriate bodies to move swiftly and effectively to support the creation of one or more Afro centric focused radio stations to serve the Metropolitan Pittsburgh community. The historic presence of WAMO added to the rich diversity of culture that is Pittsburgh; and its absence is conspicuous, indeed. We urge you to support the effort to meet this community need, swiftly and judiciously.

Thank you for your anticipated positive consideration of our request.

Sincerely,



Tim Stevens, Chairman

The Black Political Empowerment Project

Co-convener, The Coalition Against Violence

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