Pain Relief Beyond Belief





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.






Duke Ellington is first African-American and the first musician to solo on U.S. circulating coin



       In Her Own Words

Tony Martucci Taps Into His Roots On Ancestral Voices

Tony Martucci Taps Into His Roots On Ancestral Voices

Tony Martucci and his quintet will play album release shows on Friday and Saturday at Twins Jazz (Photo courtesy Tony Martucci)

Tony Martucci has played drums with some of the finest in jazz over a career that spans nearly 40 years. But from the first notes he played with his current quintet, he knew there was something different about this group.

"It was special," Martucci recalled about that night during a recent interview. "I knew this particular chemistry was going to allow me to go some places I hadn’t really gone before."

The band is comprised of some of the finest musicians the region has to offer, including saxophonists Jeff Antoniuk and Luis Hernandez, bassist Tom Baldwin, and guitarist John Lee. Martucci knew immediately that he would have to record the ensemble, and that aim has come to fruition on Ancestral Voices, whose release the group will celebrate on Friday and Saturday at Twins Jazz.

Martucci has been one of D.C.'s first-call drummers for over 25 years, and a cursory review of his experience makes it clear why that is the case. Just a partial list of Martucci's past collaborators includes Joe Lovano, Charlie Byrd, Fred Hersch, Dewey Redman, Joshua Redman, and a host of other world-class talents. Martucci was also a member of the Russian-American joint venture jazz group, Partners In Time, originally known as Jazznost, which pianist Louis Scherr founded in 1990.

Martucci chose collaborators for the band not based on instrumentation, but rather the personalities of these particular artists.

"I never for a moment doubted that it would work, simply because I know them all individually," he explained. "That being said, when I decided this instrumentation and personnel, I didn’t have any specific expectations or design."

The title, Ancestral Voices, came to Martucci after the fact, when he realized that the material the band recorded, and his playing in particular, was drawing from a lifetime of experiences and influences.

"All of us that play music, we don't think about where it came from, we’re just dealing in the moment," he said. "I didn’t know what the record was until we made it."

In particular, Martucci feels the spirit of his mother, sister, and father, the latter of which was an aspiring musician and passed away when Martucci was just six years old. The track "Il Figlio Dello Scarpaio" was recorded in his memory.

Martucci also draws inspiration from his musical heroes, in particular the drummers Billy Hart, Bob Moses, Victor Lewis, and Al Foster.

"I want my music to be personal, not derivative, yet I’m very aware this stuff has an origin," Martucci said of his influences.

The recording itself takes the listener on a winding aural journey. The double album clocks in at nearly two hours with all of the band members contributing compositions. The interplay between the two saxophonists is always engaging. Lee's guitar work is textural when he plays an accompanying role, but melodic and assertive during his solos. Martucci plays the drumset with a light touch and isn't afraid to leave space for his colleagues. He also augments a few tracks with hand drums and other percussive colors. In short, Ancestral Voices is an excellent document of experienced musicians playing at the highest level.

"This band surprises a lot of people," Martucci said. "Everybody goes into certain situations with some kind of expectations. It seems to me, that the sound of this band is not what they’re expecting, but they enjoy it."

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Comment by Jagsu on October 6, 2017 at 12:51pm

Great drummer, great band, great music. Be sure to check them out!

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on September 25, 2017 at 3:45am

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