As Charles “Teenie” Harris’ photography poetically illustrate, Pittsburgh has been home to a long line of great jazz artists. Masters such as Roy Eldridge, Billy Eckstein, Art Blakey, Mary Lou Williams, George Benson and others were not only great performers but leaders, educators, composers and arrangers. Their influence is heard throughout the world and their legacy lives on through the tenacity and commitment of organizations like MCG Jazz and its Pittsburgh Jazz Legacy Project.
Pittsburgh has been at the epicenter of jazz since the 1930s when all the great big bands of the era would stop in the city, for as long as a month, to perform on their way from New York City to Chicago. The significant number of Jazz Legends who got their start in Pittsburgh is due, in part, to this exposure. Over the past century, cultural diversity coupled with robust philanthropic support for the Arts in the Pittsburgh region has laid the foundation for jazz to flourish and has produced many of the greatest Jazz Masters the world has ever known.
With support from BNY Mellon, MCG Jazz is excited to announce the release of a new CD by the 21st Century Swing Band entitled, Pittsburgh Jazz Legacy. The 21st Century Swing Band features nine of Pittsburgh’s finest musicians with special guests Roger Humphries, John Wilson, Maureen Budway and Joe Negri. Each of the 15 songs is dedicated to a specific Pittsburgher whether it is Stanley Turrentine, Henry Mancini, Dakota Staton or Ray Brown.