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AFRO-AMERICAN MUSIC INSTITUTE CELEBRATES 36 YEARS

BOYS CHOIR AFRICA SHIRTS
 
 
http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/building-today-for-tomorrow/x/267428

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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

Throngs of fans, admirers turn out for Davis sculpture dedication

First Posted: 10:26 pm - September 12th, 2015 - 3104 Views

By Scott Cousins - For The Telegraph


Members of the Kasimu Taylor Quartet play before the Miles Davis Sculpture Unveiling Celebration Saturday in downtown Alton. Hundreds of people gathered for the event honoring the jazz legend and Alton native. People gather around the just-unveiled statue of jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, who was born in Alton, Ill., Saturday during the unveiling ceremony in Downtown Alton. Although more closely associated with East St. Louis, where he grew up, Davis was born in Alton May 26, 1926 and lived there for about a year.
Scott Cousins | For The Telegraph
Norma Henderson, of Alton, signed a guest book at the Miles Davis Sculpture Unveiling celebration Saturday in Downtown Alton. Hundreds of people gathered for the ceremony.
Scott Cousins | For The Telegraph
A sculpture of jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, born in Alton, Ill., is unveiled Saturday during a ceremony in downtown Alton. Although more closely associated with East St. Louis, where he grew up, Davis was born in Alton May 26, 1926 and lived there for about a year.
Scott Cousins | For The Telegraph
People gather Saturday around the just-unveiled statue of jazz trumpeter Miles Davis, who was born in Alton, Ill.,during the Miles Davis Sculpture Unveiling Celebration in downtown Alton. Although more closely associated with East St. Louis, where he grew up, Davis was born in Alton May 26, 1926 and lived there for about a year.
Scott Cousins | For The Telegraph
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ALTON — Hundreds of people came out Saturday to the evening unveiling of a sculpture of jazz great Miles Davis, who was born in Alton; the bronze sculpture now stands on West Third Street.

Although more closely associated with East St. Louis, Davis was born in Alton and lived on Milnor Avenue for about a year there before his family moved.

Before his death in 1991, he was considered one of the most influential jazz musicians of the 20th century.

“His legacy is amazing,” said Patricia Ackman, co-chair of the Miles Davis Memorial Project.

The event featured the unveiling ceremony, jazz performances, as well as entertainment in the bars and restaurants. The crowd was estimated at between 350-400 people.

The program itself took slightly more than an hour.

Emcee James Killion called the unveiling, “A wonderful, great day for Alton.”

The program had 10 speakers, including former East St. Louis mayor and current City Manager Alvin Parks, who represented the Davis family; trumpet player Bobby Shew, and sculptor Preston Jackson.

After the speakers, the sculpture was unveiled and many in the crowd tried to get close to get a photo or talk to one of the participants.

JoAnn King, of St. Louis, was among many jazz fans that came out for the event.

“I’ve always been a jazz fan, and I’ve always loved Miles Davis. I didn’t realize until my friend sent me an email that he was from Alton. Jazz is important because it’s the foundation of all music,” she said. “All music is good music. On the Missouri side we have Chuck Berry’s statue in the Delmar Loop.”

After the ceremony, King planned to stay and listen to the jazz performances.

“I was looking at the lineup to make sure I didn’t miss anything,” she noted.

Roy Harrell, of St. Louis, met up with an old college friend, Jefferie Watkins, of Edwardsville. Both were Southern Illinois University Edwardsville students in Alton, and fans of Davis.

“When I was in high school, the band teacher was a big jazz player, and he turned us on to a lot of jazz… I didn’t know what jazz was at the time,” Harrell said.

He eventually became a fan, and then a fan of Davis.

In addition to being a fan, Watkins also knew Davis’ brother.

“Back in the day in the late ’60s when he was playing, you would see him around,” Watkins said. “I would see Miles playing.”

Before the formal ceremonies, Ackman said the evening appeared to be going very well.

“It’s going to identify Downtown Alton as an actual entertainment district. That can spur other things, other businesses that may want to come down here and become part of this. It’s going to bring tourism to the community and it’s a beautiful plaza.”

The project has been underway for about three years, including raising about $150,000 over the past two years.

Scott Cousins is a freelance writer and photographer for the Telegraph.

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