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.
Oh, yeah...and Roots. My cousin James Roots sang with Clara Ward Singers and his daughter Desiree is a wonderful Jazz singer in Richmond. There is "Plunky and Oneness" and an Afro Caribbean group called Ban Caribe`. Richmond does not have anywhere near the venues that Pittsburgh has though.
Well Richmond has so many musical people there. My family is one of them, although we really came to Richmond from Charles City County. Lonnie Liston Smith, Joe Kennedy, Jr.,Bill Robinson,The Harmonizing Four (Roberta Flack and Ella Fitzgerald came from Newport News, Va.) We are Browns, Carter, Greens, Jones, Wallace, Banks, Coles.
Thank goodness. I was afraid it was all over and that real jazz had drowned in the smooth jazz sea, a category that is really a misnomer. You got it all! That is the real reality! The ancestors are dancing and chillin' and finger snapin' and groovin' to all that you do. You are representin'. Give thanks and praises for your soul, your mind, your heart...and your looks? they ain't too bad either.
Roby, it is super to see you here, how are you? By the look of your profile and your photo, you are doing very well. I am so happy my friend! So when will we see you again in Pittsburgh? Email Pattye if you are coming in, we'll see if we can gig together. Take care, Gene
Yeah Bro, the Dirty sax, the Dirty sound is one of the roots of music.Often I get Dirty and Freak onstage poeming to a blues and/or funk groove. Ben Webster, Gato Barbieri... And how about Junior Walker?!!! All Stars!
I dreamed - on Obama's election Inaugural Ball. He's call up George Clinton, Bootsy Collins and Maceo Parker, Georgie Benson, Ronnie Barrage and William Parker. Amiri Baraka is on vocals. I'm playing marimba and comeback calls to Amiri. We're playing before a nationally, internationally, televised audience. Barack and Michelle are boogeying down. Billions ars funkin out. Palin's haters are migrating to northwest Greenland. Great dream!
Are you here in Paris? If you still are here, we gotta invite you up to wail with the "Family", Paris-American jazz players here since the 90's. Howie Alexander was telling me about you when I jammed with him and Nelson last June at the( Pittsburgh) Shadow Lounge.I think you and shared the (Paris) Miroiterie stage some 2 years ago. Lookin' forward to it.
Keep the Beat on the Pulse of Life!