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, Parlanto 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.
To my fellow lovers, livers and all who are generally engaged in creating the stuff of life..... It's been such a fascinating journey and I thank you for allowing me to share in yours. I hope your Equinox, or Passover, or Easter or jolly combination of the three and then some were well spent with family and friends. I personally kind of had a horrific monster cold that I didn't wish to pass on to my mortal enemies, much less folks I care about, so I had to stay home, but thankfully my family sent on some ravioli with the Amoeba when he returned home. Fortunately I am over the cold, and ready for tomorrow's show, which I hope you can stop over to, if you are within the realm of downtown Pittsburgh!
Tomorrow April 9, at 5 pm til 7 pm.
At the Backstage Bar, 655 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA
Come enjoy an early evening to start your weekend with sweet Pittsburgh jazz with silky vocals by Phat Man Dee, the incomparable guitar musings of Colter Harper and the Afro Cuban melodic and entrancing drums of Miguel Sague III. Light bite and cocktails, no cover!! Watch in fascination, groove with definition as bassist Tony DePaolis shakes your inner every with his very heavy....
Also, in the now, and for another 28 days, the cast of the opera I was in last fall, "How to Survive the Apocalypse, a Burning Opera" is engaged in a communal fundraiser. We are trying to raise about $8000 to complete the cast album. I sang on the record, and helped write the melody to my character's solo song! We did this all last fall, after our sold out run at Teatro Zinzanni in San Francisco, we caravaned together to my friends' Renfey and David Bergeaud's house in the Hollywood Hills to make the record, while it was fresh in our minds and bodies. Renfey was in the cast as the Fire Elemental, and her husband turned their palatial home into a giant recording studio. It was an incredible recording experience. The album and dvd from the live show will be great, but we need to complete them. We the cast, writers (Mark Nichols and Erik Davis) , producer , crew , band and David all made intensedonations of our time and talents but love and talent can only go so far, at some point we need to ask for a little help. I am not asking any one of you to give me $8000 to finish this work, in fact we already have over $5000 of the monies needed pledged already. But if you could think to put $30 or more towards our efforts, I would really thank you. Check it out online, you can see
teaser video from the show and get more info:
Anyhoo, Eroc is a pretty fascinating guy, though he is from Pittsburgh, I met him in NYC with my art star freaks up there, he was a founder of their Madagascar Institute, and LEMUR (League of Musical
Electronic Robots) and he is now living in Squirrel Hill. And he's about to teach a course in building your own personal artistic flame thrower. I can't attend these classes because of gigs and commitments,
but I am hoping it goes well so I can study another time, I have been needing some fire sculpture (or at least some fire elements for my scooter, don't you think?) for a while now.... and it's not like
Pittsburgh Center for the Arts is offering these classes....yet......
Carnevale Poetica! Featuring Salena Catalina, Bingo Quixote, Alexi Morrissey, ErinEvanErin, Kevin "the nerve' Wenner, Borderless Puzzle, Phat Man Dee, Dr. Awkward, Gary Musisko, Jim "DOG" Cvetic, Over Responding Monster, Leslie Ann McIlroy and more guests TBA... plus the return of yawp Magazine. Poetry/Performance/Music/Art!
Friday April 30 at Little E's Jazz Club
8 pm, no cover, $10 min food/drink, with Tony DePaolis, Colter Harper and Miguel Sague III
Saturday May 1 at Backstage Bar
5 - 7 pm, no cover, with Colter Harper and Miguel Sague III
Later that same evening, 8 pm at the Grey Box Theater for a benefit for the Spanish language grade school in Squirrel Hill
Sunday May 16 at Shadow Lounge
"Go Tell it On the Mountain" a benefit to send legal defense funds to Climate Ground Zero, as they fight the Massie Corporation from immoral and illegal mountaintop blast coal mining. With Phat Man Dee, Emay, Typewriter Girls and Mike Roselle of Climate Ground Zero, more info forthcoming. All $$ to benefit Climate Ground Zero.
And last but not least, please to enjoy some video I shot and edited of me singing with Genia of Machete and Carlos Pena at the Latin American Cultural Union's presentation during the Caribbean and Latin American Festival at the University of Pittsburgh. I am hoping to start a trio with her and Cha of Guaracha Latin Dance Band, maybe called Trio Los Mereguitos.... Until I can announce our debut performance, I hope this video whets your appetite...