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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

WHO PAYS PERFORMANCE ROYALTIES AND WHO DOESN'T?

August 4, 2009

Radio Free America
By NANCY SINATRA

Los Angeles

WHEN I hear great American standards on the radio, I think of all the songwriters, artists and musicians whom my father, brother and I have worked with over the years. It reminds me that every recording has two parts, the composition and the performance. It also reminds me how many wonderful artists and musicians have not been paid fairly for their work.

Songwriters and publishers are paid when their tunes are played on the radio, but none of the artists or musicians who bring the music to life receive even a penny. The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing today on legislation that will right this wrong, which dates back to the early days of sound recordings.

My father, Frank Sinatra, and singers like Tony Bennett, Bing Crosby and Perry Como fought for years for performance royalties from radio stations, arguing it was unfair that performers are not paid and citing cases like Helen Forrest that show the harsh side of this injustice.

Helen was one of the most gifted singers of the 1940s. Known as the “Voice of the Name Bands,” she had hits like “I Cried for You” and “I Had the Craziest Dream.” Sadly, Helen spent her last years practically destitute because she received nothing when her songs were played on the radio.

This fight isn’t just about featured artists. There are thousands of background singers and session musicians who deserve to be paid for their work, too.

Radio station owners argue that artists receive free promotion from airplay of their records. This is simply untrue. Most of the music played on AM and FM radio is at least two years old. And the practice of “backselling” — mentioning the name and performer of the song that was just played — has fallen into such disuse that a decade ago the nation’s largest radio station operator, Clear Channel, asked for $24,000 per title to mention the song’s artists on the air. It’s no surprise that companies unwilling to even recognize artists on the air would also be averse to paying performance royalties.

Terrestrial radio is the only radio platform that still doesn’t have to pay these royalties. Internet radio and satellite radio pay artists when they play their records, so do cable television music channels. In fact, AM and FM radio stations that stream their signal online pay performance royalties.

The United States is one of a small number of countries where artists and musicians are not compensated when their music is played on over-the-air radio. Because the United States doesn’t have performance royalties, radio stations in countries that do collect them do not have to pay American artists. In many of these countries, American artists make up as much as 50 percent of radio airplay, and this prevents millions of dollars — industry estimates are $100 million a year — from flowing into our economy.

I believe in a performance royalty because recording artists and musicians from every generation deserve to be compensated for their art.

My father became an icon by putting his inimitable stamp on songs from “My Funny Valentine” to “My Way” and “Come Fly With Me.” When he sings, “Weatherwise it’s such a lovely day” in “Come Fly With Me,” he lingers on the word “lovely,” and you can actually imagine yourself floating in a blue sky on a lovely day.

He brought music to life with his own style just as every artist does when he takes notes and words on a page and sings or plays them in his own way. Singers and musicians, as much as songwriters, create something when they perform — and we should make sure all artists are paid when their creations are heard on the radio.

Nancy Sinatra is a singer.





Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

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Comment by Buddy Chase on October 3, 2009 at 11:34pm
Tell it like it is Nancy. Good job makink the point.
I played Hammond B3 for your brother in Geneva on the lake in Asthabula, Ohio in the 70's. I believe the name of the club was Cove 21
Buddy Chase
Comment by Kevin Amos on August 6, 2009 at 6:52pm
Here is an update from our friends at the R&B Foundation:
www.rhythmblues.org

As the battle for the Performance Rights Act rages on, the vitriolic campaign launched by Radio One and other opponents has captured the attention of the NAACP and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and compelled one of R&B's most beloved divas to make a public statement in her own defense.

"The Hill," a leading Capitol Hill newspaper read by legislators,staffers and lobbyists, highlighted the rancorous debate between Rep.John Conyers and other members of the CBC and Radio One's Cathy Hughes in a front page article (July 27, 2009).

"A battle over music royalties has pitted members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) against the owners of black radio stations, sparking a rare public fight between African-American power brokers that could work against lawmakers used to easy reelection. "The debate has become so intense that the NAACP, the civil rights group that has spent nearly a century advocating for black Americans, has stepped in to call for a truce."

Read More at TheHill.com

Dionne Warwick's high profile support of the Performance Rights Act hasmade her the target of attacks from radio broadcasters. Ms. Warwick hasresponded with her own statement. "I was surprised when Radio One's Cathy Hughes added my name to the list of African American artists and civil rights activists she's attacked in her vicious campaign against fairly compensating musicians for their work. Then again, since smearing African American leaders to protect her profits has become Ms. Hughes siren song, maybe I shouldn't be surprised at all. "Every time we buy a CD or download a song, the artist is paid for their work. You might not know that this isn't the case when a musician's work is played on the radio. That's because corporate radio CEOs like Cathy Hughes are exploiting a legal loophole that allows them to play these artists songs without paying them for their work." Read More atHuffingtonPost.com

The Rhythm & Blues Foundation continues to be an active proponent of the Performance Rights Act. During his testimony before a House JudiciaryCommittee hearing chaired by Rep. Conyers, Foundation Chairman Kendall Minter stated: "This legislation, despite proclamations, is not the end of black radio. It is, however, an important component of fairness to minority artists, including so many of the artists we represent at the Rhythm &Blues Foundation...On behalf of the artist community, we are looking tobe able to have some revenues flow through to the artists, who are in need, who have earned the right to be compensated for the airplay of their work..." As a member of the musicFIRST Coalition, the Rhythm & Blues Foundation will continue to fight for the passage of the Performance Rights Act.

In addition to testifying before Congress and participating in informational town hall meetings held in Detroit, Houston, Atlanta and other cities, the Foundation will be part of a panel discussion to be held during the Congressional Black Caucus' 2009 annual legislative conference in September.

State your support for artist rights and for the Performance Rights Act(H.R. 848) by contacting members of the House and Senate Judiciary Committees or your local representative. Go to www.musicfirstcoalition.org to make your position count.

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