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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
Written by Christian Morrow - Courier Staff Writer
Friday, 14 October 2011 10:13

A new exhibit celebrating the work of Pittsburgh Courier photographer Charles “Teenie” Harris is scheduled for a gala opening this month at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Oakland.

Among those attending the Friday, Oct. 28 opening for “Teenie Harris, Photographer,” will be actor Bill Nunn, whose father and grandfather, both editors for the Courier, worked with Harris in his heyday. Nunn will serve as the event’s master of ceremonies.


TEENIE HARRIS

“Harris was an icon someone who captured so much truth, beauty and history through his camera lens,” said Nunn. “I am delighted to be a part of this celebration of his work and legacy.”

Joining Nunn for the evening’s festivities will be Johnson Publishing Company Chair Linda Johnson Rice, who is also serving as national chair for the event.

“Teenie Harris was a pioneer in photojournalism,” she said. “He artfully documented some of the most significant moments in recent United States history, while capturing the rich culture of African-Americans in the 20th century. I look forward to celebrating Harris’ legacy in his hometown with the people who have taken great care to preserve and promote his work, which is truly an American treasure.”

Though the Carnegie has held three Archive Project exhibits of Harris’ work since acquiring his 80,000-negative collection in 2001, those were designed to gather information about the people and places pictured in specific images.

Carnegie spokesperson Tey Stiteler said Charles “Little Teenie” Harris and his wife, Bea, would attend both the Gala and the media preview earlier in the day. Daughters Crystal Pass and Cheryl “Tiny” Watson will also attend with their families. Sons Vann and Lionel Harris are expected to attend but have not yet confirmed.

This exhibit, by comparison, is a spectacle. It includes 1,000 large-scale projections of some of his greatest works, arranged thematically, and accompanied by an original jazz soundtrack recorded by MCG Jazz, to give visitors an immersive experience as they tour the main gallery. Musicians from MCG Jazz will also perform live at the Gala opening.

And if that weren’t enough—the exhibit will also tour. It will travel to the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago in February, then to the Birmingham, Ala., Civil Rights Institute in August, and finally to Georgia’s Robert Woodruff Library at Atlanta University in January 2013.

In a timely coincidence, former Courier photographer Kenneth Neely also has his work on display at the Carnegie as part of the “Picturing The City” exhibit commissioned by the Heinz Endowments. The exhibit, which runs through March 25, displays images of Downtown and the riverbanks taken by nine local artists over a three-year period.

The “Teenie Harris, Photographer” exhibition and the touring exhibits are made possible thanks to major support from PNC Financial Services Group Inc., and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, the Heinz Endowments, the Virginia Kaufman Fund, BYN Mellon, the Pittsburgh Foundation, ReedSmith, GlaxoSmithKline, UPMC, Highmark, Ebony Magazine and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

For information on tickets or sponsoring, call 412-578-2552, or email to teenie@carnegiemuseums.orgThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.comThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .)

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Comment by timm coxx on October 17, 2011 at 5:30am
When i worked at the Pittsburgh Courier in the early to mid 1980s, Teenie Harris used to stop by our East Carson Street offices and chew the proverbial fat. We knew he was an icon and for some of the younger reporters, Courierites like Hazel Garland, Rod Doss, Eddie Jefferies and Phil Taylor made sure you knew of Teenie's significance in Courier history. Therefore, I'm proud to claim the late, great Teenie Harris as a former colleague. -- Timothy Cox, October 2011.
Comment by Roberta Jean Windle on October 16, 2011 at 4:53pm
Sounds like a special event. Looking forward to this exhibit!

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