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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

The Commercial State of Jazz in The New Millineum

I appreciated this vital message because its a reality check in our artistic State of Emergency. This treatise is a wake up call but should create a sense of urgency among artists,Jazz Lovers and Jazz D J'S. I am experiencing Deja Vu everyday as a on air announcer in Public Radio because the Wake Call has not been embraced. Young people are our future and must be fed truth not garbage. Commercial Radio had no intention of educating people there objective is to manipulate minds through adverising. Public Radio has its shortcomings because the models they follow are archaic as mentioned. Nevertheless our voices can be heard if technology is utllized to alert the public that Main Stream Jazz must be a part of our educational system not just as a footnote. Their are to many educators like you Nelson Harrison who's articles need to be published in the Jazz industries magazines,Web Pages nationally and world wide as a Wake Up Call. Thankyou for this Conscious Stimulus Package..

Jay Edwards

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Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on February 24, 2009 at 1:40am
'Monday, February 23, 2009
Is Emerging Media A Distraction?
By Kendall Allen


This is supposed to a love story -- the digital brood and emerging media, always and forever. But something else has always been true about love: often, timing is everything. A marketer taking on emerging media is typically motivated by embracing innovation, testing, and exploration. However, in this economy, many are wondering -- do I have time to indulge this love? Does loving him make me too vulnerable? Will she hurt me? Are our priorities and values the same?
Seriously, despite our simmering amour, it is reasonable to evaluate the relationship. At a time when performance and provable return are the focus, the digerati are asking: is emerging media the doorway to our best self? Or is it recreation, a plaything -- a distraction? The answer lies somewhere in between. But we've got some thinking to do.
What we need to get clear on is the framework for thinking about this stuff. The apple of our eye should not be an amorphous grouping of cool, sexy, and fun. There is no better time than now to raise the bar on our point of view. Having some light guardrails and industrywide best practices seem wise and progressive, as we take the marketing application of emerging media to a new level of engagement.
The Question of Questions
First up: What exactly is emerging media? This is a question a number of us are taking the time to actively hash out right now. More on this another time -- but I am happy to be comparing notes within the agency community, coast to coast, on this question. There are those among us who have done quite a bit of work on this and developed some pretty illuminating, grounding IP. You know who you are. That is helpful to us all. What we want is more than a sanity check; we need a media docent for the times we live in.
Most of the industry has admitted there's no such thing as new media. As media drives discovery, there is an innate and perpetual newness to it. We need to agree on that. While that dated "new" nomenclature has fallen off, we still refer to emerging media, as the marketplace flexes with innovation and we ponder how to embrace it. But, we do so without a real grasp on the continuum of emerging media. What belongs on the spectrum of "emerging"? Without any prevailing guidance, there is a constant flurry of consideration:

How long do we count something as emergent? When does it become mature? When does the shiny new thing become tried and true?


A friend made the point that many agencies and marketers are still counting-rich media technology as "emerging." But many of us would argue that with good old Flash at the base, its incarnations are a natural progression of rich media art and science -- and that things like PointRoll and Eyeblaster are not emerging but inevitable, part of a proper ad creative arsenal. We should be looking at what they are doing across platforms like mobile. He and I agree on this. But again -- are such pockets of agreement valuable? If too many of our brethren are dwelling on the obvious, will we really advance as an industry?


Is video itself still emerging? Or are we talking about adventuresome new production and distribution models instead? In my opinion, there is so much happening in this particular marketplace, it's time to start breaking it out as we evaluate it. It's pretty darn experienced, if not mature. Time to stop glossing it over as a singular percentage of activity.


Once we finally hit the proverbial year of mobile, will this medium no longer be emerging? If you've recently had an integrated marketing discussion with some of the more progressive vendors, you'll find the possibilities seem to have expanded. So, what really matters when categorizing something emergent or mature is its value to you, the marketer with very real goals. While it seems most of us would choose the experienced over the virginal -- many of us, no matter how hard a line we take on proven value, will always leave room for random play. Even so, at this particular time, the room we leave for play likely shrinks a bit. Timing matters.
For now -- shake off the pressure to innovate and apply the value principles that matter to you. Do not get distracted by market reports on shifting allocations and usage/popularity. Who cares? As marketers, our mix should flex. As the market tests us, particular emerging media will either advance the marketplace or they will fall off.
As far as my own relationship with emerging media goes, if Mobile can help me activate in the retail channel in a way that is cool and delivers, he can call me after midnight anytime. I'll take the call. Unless I'm on a moonlight walk with Video.
Comment by Slaglerock on February 23, 2009 at 8:37pm
These conversations about the emergency state of affairs for jazz on the radio and internet are very timely to me.
I just returned from a trip to southern Florida where I discovered the best jazz radio station I ever heard in my life. WDNA at 88.9 FM in Miami provided a constant soundtrack of outstanding jazz the week I was in the Sunshine State. I was amazed at the strength of the station’s programming. Cuban jazz. Modern urban jazz. Crazy vocal jazz. Blues. I literally found myself clapping with delight to the lively songs I was hearing. Heck, I’m listening to the station right now on the internet and I’m smiling.
I could listen to jazz on the radio here in Pittsburgh for days without hearing something deserving even a snap.
Why is it that WDUQ, a station that bills itself as Pittsburgh’s jazz place, only plays jazz that puts me to sleep? They do the art form a great disservice by presenting it as nothing more than a relaxation tool. Isn’t that why we have New Age music?
As for jazz on commercial radio, I've long given up hope. The times I’ve tuned in to modern commercial jazz stations, it’s always been Kenny G City. Who needs that? WAMO used to have, actually, they may still have, the Quiet Storm on Sunday nights. The QS featured jazz artists but the cuts they played would totally make your eyes glaze over. Again, get out the candles and run the bath water.
Where radio is concerned, I think jazz’ only hope remains public and college stations.
Because WRCT at CMU is a freeform station, one can’t really say what they play is right or wrong but I can say as a fan of the station for the past 25 years that they could do more to make jazz accessible for listeners. (Kevin Amos, you are an exception to that comment; you’ve always done a fantastic job explaining the significance of the music you play.) Over the decades I’ve heard my share of utterly perplexing free jazz on WRCT. Music that has no beat, no melody, no discernable chord structure. If DJs are going to play this stuff, it would be nice if they would occasionally explain what makes it good, why we should listen.
On to the subject of young people, more might listen to jazz if their occasional exposure to it on the radio was something that would get their feet tapping, their hearts pumping. In short, get 'em hooked. Lulling them to sleep or baffling them with the avant-garde isn’t going to work.
Comment by Kevin Amos on February 23, 2009 at 4:04am
Jay and others....this artistic "State of emergency" has been in existance for a long time now. People and musicians have not been paying attention and those who have do nothing but complain.
Folks have not put any skin in the game. Some people are not leaders. They want to be trendy. It's not about being trendy. It's about being creative on all fronts

I am not and have not been one of those people that want to be trendy. I create. I educate, I advocate.

I do not subscribe either to the mindset that the problem is radio. The problem is the administration and programming of commercial and so-called "public" radio. Those stations wanted to be exactly the way they were programmed to be. Believe me I know this to be a fact. It has nothing to do with the current financial state of affairs. They knew exactly what they were doing.

The question is when are folks going to wake up, when are folks going to respect and acknowledge those who are creating alternatives and why don't those folks get support? The second part of this is that some musicians have got to quit being so darn lazy and either get to work or hire someone to do the work for them.

Kevin

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