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.
Friends.... please allow me to say, I am honored and blessed and overwhelmingly grateful to all the support you all showed me during my supremely intense kickstarter campaign..... which was SUCCESSFUL! This summer I am going to Europe to sing at the World Body Painting Festival in Austria and then spend a month traveling with my videographer Smokin' McQueen as I search out and sing with jazz musicians and on bridges all over the continent! I have musicians in Belgium, Paris, Madrid, Berlin and I'm getting bridge suggestions from Malta, London and Bristol.... I cannot wait! THANK YOU!!!!!!! So much planning to do OMG!!!! Jazz! Bridges! Europe! Here comes Phat Man Dee!!!!
Between now and then I have shows like mad!
TOMORROW NIGHT April 1, 2015, 10 p.m., Smiling Moose, South Side
I am making a special appearance with a world traveling troupe of side show marvels who never fail to amaze me with their wild feats of human daring and ever increasingly stupefying and beautiful shenanigans! Join us for Circus Convergence III!! The Steel City Kitty Show presents Squid Shift Solutions with members of the Squidling Bros. (Philadelphia), Pain Solution ( Oslo, Norway) and Swing Shift Sideshow (Las Vegas), local acts Phat Man Dee and Kat de Lac!
The following week on April 18, 2015 I am excited to participate in a video screening with the filmmaker of my music video "Hey Phat Chick!" by Smokin' McQueen at the Blue Moon in Lawrenceville! Also screening that evening is The Nomi Darling Show "The Indecent Episode"! Other live performers include Lilith Deville, Smokin McQueen, the Indecent Divas, Veronica Lustt and Nomi Darling! More info:
Altar Bar, in the Strip, all ages, $10 doors, show 6:30 pm
I am *SUPER* excited to announce that I have been working with a new group of social justice activists, who are also, like me, performing artists. Our new group "Pittsburgh Artists for Social Change" is dedicated to affecting positive social justice through the use of our art and music.
Artists, activists and promoters in the Pittsburgh community have come together to present a concert to benefit the Afro American Music Institute. 100% of all proceeds from the door, and in addition Drusky Entertainment shall also contribute a portion from each and every ticket sold at one of their concerts at Altar Bar for the period of one year to AAMI.
For this concert, I am one of the hosts and organizers, and I will be singing with the gospel chorale (I joined a gospel choir, yes it's true, and they are fine with me being Jewish....haven't explained SubGenius yet.....we'll get there!) and I will also sing with Christiane D and Geña in our new project "The V*Sage Sangers". Also, the students I teach with Liz Berlin in the We Rock Workshop will also be performing!!!!
About Afro American Music Institute: Afro American Music Institute (AAMI) began in 1982 by founders Dr. James Johnson and his wife, Pamela. On August 15, 2003 AAMI moved into its current location at 7131 Hamilton Avenue in Homewood. The facility provides a more inviting location with larger rooms and professional appearance and atmosphere. Consistent with its mission, the Afro-American Music Institute provides programs of excellence under the guidance and tutelage of its committed staff and board members. They seek out youth for enrollment and completion of programs and courses offered at AAMI. Their many students gain self-confidence, self-esteem, creativity and problem solving skills. Their curriculum provides specialized instrumental and vocal training in all styles of African-American music, gospel, Negro spirituals, jazz and more. People of all ages who wish to learn music from an African American musical perspective may study piano, voice, percussion and more at this incredibly powerful institution. See more at:: http://www.afroamericanmusic.org/
Please join us for this, I am honored to have so many wonderful people on board, and it would mean so much to me to have you as part of this historic evening of wonderful music!!!!
Here is some video of my friend Howard Alexander who teaches at AAMI with the Boys Choir:
I am honored to be in a world with you..... and I am grateful more than ever to know how many people truly respect my work and have shown their support with such thunderous waves of applause int he form of monetary donations and sharing of my now funded kickstarter.... Thank you....I am going to spend the next couple months before I leave planning my journey, sending off the rewards to the beautiful people who donated and doing the shows and gigs which led to you believing in me so much......