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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

A week long memorial broadcast is currently being aired on the life and music of Ornette Coleman.

Aside from Ornette's music, there will be additional insight into his musical legacy through presentations by Phil Schaap, jazz historian and educator.  Listed below is his schedule.  The presentations provide an educational narrative which allow for a deeper understanding and appreciation of Ornette's music. Schaap's presentations are of interest to both those uninitiated with Ornette's music and to the Ornette cognoscenti.

Schedule: WKCR.org

The ORNETTE COLEMAN MEMORIAL BROADCAST is continuous 24/7 for seven days lasting into June 17th. Schaap will be on the air Saturday June 13th for a short narrative at 2:30pm and then, airing the earliest Ornette Coleman, from 6pm – 10pm. A different episode of short narrative’s about Ornette Coleman will be on at 5:30pm on Sunday the 14th. Phil will return to the continuing ORNETTE COLEMAN MEMORIAL BROADCAST on Monday June 15th from 12Noon – 5pm. His final short narrative on Ornette will be heard at 10am on Tuesday June 16th and he'll return to the ORNETTE COLEMAN MEMORIAL BROADCAST from 4pm – 8pm on Tuesday. The last of the ORNETTE COLEMAN MEMORIAL BROADCAST will be his shift on Wednesday June 17th from 7:30am – 9:30am. All times are Eastern Daylight Savings Time. WKCR.org

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Comment by Melissa Jones on June 19, 2015 at 5:55pm

I applaud Ornette's unbridled creativity at thinking outside the box and his undaunted courage presenting a new concept. I was recently lucky to hear Gunther Schuller's son, George,  present rare material recorded live, at the Lenox School (1959). It was striking to hear John Lewis, at the piano, (talking to Ornette), trying to decipher Ornette's musical thought process. Even more insightful was Ornette's response, explaining if one changes what his music is, then it is not his music. (I paraphrase.)  Having long been unable to "hear' Ornette's musical voice, I found the door opened through his marvelous  compositions. He is a tunesmith!

Comment by godfrey e mills on June 19, 2015 at 5:32pm

 cont. of prior comment-Tomorrow Band's conga player Cecil Washington. RIP, hope to see you later.

Comment by godfrey e mills on June 19, 2015 at 5:19pm

I always liked Ornetts music. His wife was one of Jehovah's Witnesses. I got to see his quartet drummer Chas  Moffet's family Band at a gig and met Chas'  son later  at an event locally through  Nathan Davis' Tomorow Band's conga player Cecil Washington. RIP hope to see you later.

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