Last year, I posted about the springtime sounds made by Pittsburgh classical musicians. Now I’d like to guide you through this season with music by many talented jazz musicians from Pittsburgh.
Start with “Almost Spring,” written by a Pittsburgh bass player named Mickey Bass and performed by pianist John Hicks. Although he was born in Atlanta, Hicks played in Pittsburgher Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and is accompanied here by Pittsburghers Dwayne Dolphin on bass and Cecil Brooks III on drums. The track appears on a tribute to Pittsburgher piano pioneer Earl “Fatha” Hines, one of Hicks’ many albums dedicated to Pittsburgh pianists: Sonny Clark, Erroll Garner, Billy Strayhorn, and Mary Lou Williams. I hereby proclaim John Hicks as an honorary Pittsburgher.
Up Jumped Spring
Spring is Here
Two of the most influential jazz pianists ever, Pittsburghers Ahmad Jamal and Erroll Garner, recorded the Rodgers & Hart standard “Spring is Here.” Check out Garner playing it solo and then listen to Jamal’s duet with bassist Israel Crosby to hear two different and equally masterful interpretations.
Memories of a Pure Spring
Garner and Jamal’s wistful playing could be followed by the somber “Memories of a Pure Spring” by trumpeter Dave Douglas. He is accompanied by well-versed Pittsburgh accordionist Guy Klucevsek.
It Is Always Spring
But no matter the season, it is always the time to explore great Pittsburgh jazz.