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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

Trumpeter (Sean) Jones departs Duquesne, but his heart will remain

About Bob Karlovits
Bob Karlovits 412-320-7852
Staff Writer
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
 

Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
Trumpeter Sean Jones waits to take the stage while performing with the Max Leake band as part of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's 'JazzLive' series at Katz Plaza, Downtown.
By Bob Karlovits 

Published: Thursday, May 22, 2014, 8:55 p.m.

Trumpeter Sean Jones is leaving Duquesne University for the Berklee College of Music in Boston, but with a one-year leave of absence he calls a “safety net.”

Edward Kocher, outgoing dean of the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne, says he offered Jones the leave because Berklee does not offer tenures and he wanted to make sure Jones could return to Duquesne if the move did not prove satisfactory.

Jones, 35, a steadily developing jazz artist who tours internationally, will be chair of the brass program at the jazz-oriented music school.

The announcement of his move was made May 22 at the International Trumpet Guild Conference in Valley Forge.

Jones says the lack of tenure is not “something you should take lightly” but, at the same time, insists he is “not one to rest on my laurels.”

Jones is in his 10th year at Duquesne, during which time he performed in many settings. He has enlivened the area jazz scene by bringing in other rising stars, such as drummer Obed Calvaire or performing with bassist Marcus Miller. He also has been recording with the Mack Avenue label in those 10 years, and his seventh album, “Im Pro Vise” will be released July 1.

“Sean's star continues to rise, so this doesn't surprise me at all,” says Mike Tomaro, director of jazz studies at Duquesne.

Jones will be an artist-in-residence at Duquesne for the year, he and Kocher say, a role that could become indefinite if he stays in Boston.

“The move to Boston is basically a change of address,” Jones says. “Pittsburgh is my home. My family is just up the road in Warren, Ohio.”

The trumpeter says he will be returning to Pittsburgh probably five times a semester to do some work with classes, some private instruction and to work with ensembles and the Pittsburgh Jazz Orchestra, which he founded with Tomaro.

While he will continue to work with the big band, Jones says Tomaro will become co-artistic director, instead of the associate artistic director he is now.

Tomaro says the leave of absence puts the jazz program “on hold for a year,” because Jones will not be replaced. His educational role will be done by other faculty members or musicians who will be brought in.

“We will continue to grow, with or without Sean,” he says. “That is true for Duquesne and the PJO, as well.”

Kocher says the area is “rich and deep” with musicians who can help in those jobs, but adds “the irrepressible nature of Sean Jones is something you can't replace.”

Regardless of the position at Berklee, Kocher says he wants “Duquesne to maintain its relationship with Sean Jones for many years to come.”

Kocher, 64, will be leaving his post as dean on July 1 after 14 years in the position. He is taking a one-year sabbatical to examine forms of educational technology. He will return to Duquesne in August 2015 to assume the William Patrick Power Endowed Chair in Academic Leadership, a course of study he says will focus on getting performers and non-performers to participate more in the arts.

A national search is under way for Kocher's replacement.

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bkarlovits@tribweb.com or 412-320-7852.



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