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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

TRIBUTE TO JOTHAN CALLINS by Derrick Gardner

This is a beautiful tribute to a great mentor by one of his former students by a 7-piece trombone choir. If you knew Jothan, please leave a comment.

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Comment by timm coxx on August 11, 2010 at 7:28am
As an up-start jazz drummer, i too had the pleasure of working with Jothan. we had special moments at late-night jam sessions at a Hill District nightclub in the early 1980s.. can't recall the club's name. He was also ever-present at Saturday morning Jazz Workships at the Homewood Carnegie Library. after Jothan silently split the JazzBurgh scene, around 1984, i again ran into him at the Jack "The Rapper" music conference in Atlanta, Ga. He was directing a big band. In the South, mention Jothan's name, and the "mature" Southern Jazz Brethren will react, because they knew of him as an Alabama-born true-blue jazz man. His reputation STILL precedes him. -- RI.I.P.Jothan Callins.
Comment by Bill Trousdale on July 28, 2010 at 2:58am
In recognition of his work, Pennsylvania Museum of Music and Broadcast History, would like an original bio for Jothan Callins.. Recognition for your work will be noted on our web site www.pmmbh.org
Comment by Cecilio Valdez Washington on July 28, 2010 at 12:58am
So sorry to hear that Jothan Callins passed. I performed with him years ago at a club called Joe Westray's. I loved his trumpet performances. We use to talk about my percussion approach to the songs he played... we had a lot of fun playing together.

Last time I ran into him was late 90's early 2000, during a performance at a jazz festival in one of the midwestern states, I believe. He came over to me and after talking for a while he said... hey, give Nathan Davis my phone number!! We exchanged our contact info and went our ways.

He will be missed. Condolences to his family.
Take care, Cecil Washington
Comment by Dale Fielder on July 27, 2010 at 10:36pm
Jothan was a dear friend and comrade in arms. His playing was divine and I have been fortunate to have played with him on numerous occasions. We planned and dreamed together of a better day in the future of our beloved music, jazz. Such a beautiful and soulful soul! His like will not be seen again . . .
Comment by Dan Wasson on July 27, 2010 at 7:08pm
thanks for posting this
Comment by George C Jones on July 27, 2010 at 4:22pm
Jothen was a beautiful brother. He spoke softly and deeply, we talked about making music together, so sorry it didn't happen. His spirt is still with us.
Comment by Christopher Dean Sullivan on July 27, 2010 at 6:47am
As I listen to your Tribute piece to Brother Jothan, I reminisce of my meeting Jothan the first day he arrived in Pittsburgh. Performing with him and Geri Allen, Joe Harris, James Johnson Sr., Roger Humphries Sr.. Hangin’ and shootin’ the breeze, sharing concepts and even fussin’ back and forth on outlooks. Through it all the mutual respect and appreciation was always the requisite. I just did a video performance with one of his Sun Ra mates, Chris Capers, and we spoke of Jothan recently. Thank you for the homage of such a fine artist. Peace…

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