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.
Hello my brother. Hope you are doing well and staying safe. I have not talked to you in so very long because I lost my phone and don't have all my contacts. Give me a call sometime man. Take care, Cecilia Valdez Washington
Hello Brother Nelson, thank you for the re-adding of me to this wonderful Pittsburgh site. It's been a long time and I needed to rejoin. Coming down this Saturday to play with Tony, hope and pray it's not so far and long that I'm invited to come back.
Dr. Harrison -- I'm a little challenged by this website where I see I inadvertently liked my own page (⊙＿⊙) Would like to say I was moved to read about Fred Staton and inspired to checkout his sister's obituary in the Times where the writer described Staton's voice as a "bright, trumpet like sound." What a legacy brother and sister Staton have left Pittsburgh and the world! Thank you.
Dr. Nelson, Days away from my 89th birthday, I have added a goal for my remaining time on this earth---to last long enough to buy and read your book on jazz in Pittsburgh. Will it include a mention of August Wilson who was so influenced by his 78 rpm record of Bessie Smith? What an ear he had for dialogue! I met him after a talk he gave somewhere in the Pittsburgh area and have seen several of his plays. I have a favor to ask sometime. Bob Garvin
Dr Harrison it has been quite a while but I am back and looking forward to meeting new friends here. I did send you an email today at the events email address. I hope to hear from you soon and hope that we can possibly work together this year at some point. Thank you for your support here...