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, Parlanto 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.
It's been a while, I've been out west doing some shows, last Saturday I got to sing for both a baby shower which was really beautiful and then that same night I went to my friend Flash's 60th birthday party. When I arrived he was moshing, harder than anyone else there, jumping up and down for an hour solid, stage diving over and over again. Please, if I make it to 60, I pray to all the Gods and Goddesses above and below that I can see it moshing to punk rock polka..... I was blessed to sing for the beautiful dancer Rose Harden and also with my old friend Mary Go Round, accordionist and flaming hula hooper extraordinaire.
This week, I have finally come home, thrilled to be with my Amoeba, looking forward to a day with friends and family. While I spend my Thanksgiving, I think of the indigenous people of this continent, and I take the day as as a time to reflect on past and present injustices and think on how to work towards a better and more just future where we can honor the traditions of those who have gone before as well as create our own. That said, it is really super duper nice to have everyone home and it is a great time to do a show with these ideas in mind. To that end, I thank Zafira for putting together a wonderful evening at the Rex this coming Saturday Nov 27, 2010!! I am so excited to emcee and also to sing for the beautiful Carolina Loyola Garcia of Pittsburgh Flamenco!
Featuring performances by:
Jill Parker & Tamara Nelson of Foxglove Sweethearts, from San Francisco, CA performing vintage bellydance!
Sara Stout & Katrina Hamer: sisters performing 'Russian Style' ballet!
The Turpentiners, a self described "dirty breed of old-time country and rural swing "
Erin Carey (Aerialist) and Amanda Goble (Trapezist from Vermont) both aerial artists of the highest caliber!
And our beautiful hosts : Zafira Dance Company with new performances!
Ambience & Libations with:
Mr. Arm & Velda Von Minx from The Beginnings of Trundle Manor's Traveling Creepshow
**All Tickets are WILL CALL & are non-refundable unless the event is cancelled **
Also coming up on December 11, 2010
I have two shows, and of course I want you to come to both......
From 5-7 pm, I shall sing at the Backstage Bar, 655 Penn Ave, Downtown Pittsburgh, PA, at the CLO Cabaret. No cover, great menu, phabulous cocktails. http://www.pgharts.org/venues/backstagebar.aspx
Afterward I shall head over to the Shadow Lounge for a wonderful night of music to benefit a school of music that Dr Kofi Gbolonyo is trying to build in Ghana. He is working to set up an arts and technology institute in Ghana to train Ghanaian youth with limited financial means in both traditional and Western music.
Featuring performances by: Christiane D., Colter Harper, Preach Freedom, Phat Man Dee, Machete Kisumontao, Timbeleza, Stacee Pearl, Joy Ike, Miguel Jr. + Miguel III (Cha) of Guaracha, Emay, Emily Pinkerton, Anicet Mundundu, Dj. Soy Sos, Megadef and the Pitt African Drumming Ensemble will be among the many artists giving their talents to this cause. Time
Showtime is Saturday, December 11 at 7:00 pm
The Shadow Lounge is located at : 5972 Baum Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA, 15206
"Nunya adidoe, asi metu ne o"
“Knowledge is [like] a baobab tree, [one person’s] hands cannot embrace it” (Ewe proverb)
I hope to see you at at least one of these events, I am planning and scheming for 2011, but before we can get there, in the words of my good friend Whitman McGowan, we should "be here now" and I would much like to be with you as much as I can, right here, right now, for who knows what tomorrow holds?
Love, light, and extra buttery yams with cranberry dream surprise!
PS You don't think a 60 year old was moshing on his birthday?
These are my heroes, and Puzzling Evidence uploaded video proof: