Essential Pittsburgh: Corporate Equity and Pittsburgh Jazz

Jun 15, 2015

In 2010, the Post-Gazette reported the Pittsburgh region was ranked "dead last" on indicators of racial and economic parity with regard to the Black working poor and African American children. This was done in comparison to 30 other regions in the country. A 2012 analysis prepared by the Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board reported African Americans in the Pittsburgh region make less than other groups in the same sector of work. Black Political Empowerment Project President Tim Stevens and organizational psychologist Barry Nathan join us to discuss a possible solution to this problem; the Corporate Equity and Inclusion Roundtable.

Stevens addresses what the Corporate Equity and Inclusion Roundtable encounters as they strive to change Pittsburgh’s racial inequalities:

"We’re dealing with uprooting history and creating a new history. We’re creating a commitment where there has not been a commitment." -Tim Stevens

Nathan gives a social solution to inequality in the workplace, especially in regards to Pittsburgh’s newcomers:

“It’s about making one on one relationships over and over again. … We have to somehow create a sense of critical mass so that when newcomers come into the region they say, even if there’s not a lot of people yet, like me, there’s a network that I can form, people are reaching out to me.” –Barry Nathan

Also, The Pittsburgh Jazz Celebration opens in the Steel City tomorrow, and an archive of jazz pianist and Pittsburgh native Erroll Garner's musical career will find a home at the University of Pittsburgh.

“I have this image in my mind of people walking in, and the music starts playing and people looking around at each other confused,” said Amy Kline, describing the bus shelter located near Chatham Square downtown.

As the Patron Services and Marketing Manager as Manchester Craftmen’s Guild Jazz, it was her idea to create “Pittsburgh’s Smallest Jazz Club” in the bus shelter – and Awesome Pittsburgh, which awards $1,000 grants for projects in the city, is helping that image move from her mind to reality.

This weekend will mark the launch of a new program celebrating Pittsburgh’s jazz history. Steel City Grooves: Celebrating Western Pennsylvania Jazz will chronicle the past, present and future of jazz in Pittsburgh. Joining us for a preview of this Senator John Heinz History Center Volunteer Ambassador Program is WESA jazz host Bob Studebaker.

Bob Studebaker gives us a taste of what to expect:

The 44th Annual Jazz Seminar and Concert Runs Next Week

Oct 24, 2014
Charlie Llewellin / Flickr

The 44th annual Jazz Seminar and Concert will take place next week. WESA Jazz host Bob Studebaker previews the event with Geri Allen, director of the Jazz Studies program at the University of Pittsburgh.

Asaf Antman / Flickr

After living abroad for a number of years, jazz saxophonist Roby Edwards has returned to Pittsburgh. This weekend he’ll be taking part in the Alto Madness concert at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater.

He speaks with WESA jazz host Bob Studebaker. Also taking part in the conversation is Mensa Walli, artistic director of the Kente Arts Alliance.

Exploring Sonic Sanctuaries On The North Side

Aug 5, 2014
Joseph A / Flickr

Perhaps you’re familiar with the North Side — maybe you’ve lived there, or maybe you just visited the Aviary. Is there any way for someone who’s visited the Pittsburgh neighborhood to see it in a different way?

One Pittsburgh summer tradition, the Three Rivers Arts Festival, is behind us and another one is ahead – the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival.

The fourth annual celebration of jazz has grown since it started and has attracted a wide audience that benefits the region.

Pittsburgh Jazz Performers: Past And Present

Jun 13, 2014
Joella Marano / Flickr

Pittsburgh's Black Jazz Musicians Union

Every Saturday, a group of local musicians gathers in the auditorium of the Homewood Library to carry on Pittsburgh’s rich jazz tradition. They are the descendants of the Black Musician’s Union, a collection of pianists, drummers, and other performers who worked Pittsburgh’s clubs and dissolved in the 1960s.

Many of the clubs and musicians are long gone, but the stories of this small group continue to thrive, and they're now seeing increased attention because of a new film.  Anthology: Local #471 Musicians Union, is about the now-defunct union and some of its more famous members.

With the Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival starting next week, it was the perfect time for Essential Pittsburgh to look back at Pittsburgh’s rich jazz history. Labor historian Charles McCollester and Jackie Young, whose father Harold founded the local jazz group talked about how the Black Musician’s Union was established.

“The 460 (the original musician’s union) just didn’t really want to represent the black musicians, they didn’t want to give them their share of gigs, they didn’t want to represent them if they had some type of conflict, so that’s why the 471 was erected in the first place.”

McCollester talked about the importance of the 471 in the local jazz scene.

Roger Humphries: Uplifting Pittsburgh Through the Generations

Apr 11, 2014
Billy Jackson / NOMMO Productions

Roger Humphries is one of Pittsburgh’s most notable jazz musicians. He’s performed professionally since the age of 14 with artists such as Horace Silvers and Ray Charles. But his contributions to the Pittsburgh community go beyond music, he’s uplifted generations of young people.

Humphries is the focus of the award-winning documentary Roger Humphries: Pass it On made by Billy Jackson.

Rediscovering Pittsburgh's Ragtime Roots

Oct 3, 2013
Boring Pittsburgh / flickr

Recently rediscovered compositions of early 20th century ragtime tunes will be presented by the Allegheny City Ragtime Orchestra as tribute to the rich musical history of Pittsburgh.

Noted pianist and conductor Tom Roberts says it took some digging to piece together Pittsburgh’s jazz history between Stephen Foster and bebop, but results reveal a wealth of contributions by local musicians.

Local Jazz Pioneer is Living Legacy

Jul 31, 2013
University of Pittsburgh School of Music

Multi-instrumental jazz musician Dr. Nathan Davis is the founder of the Jazz Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh and the Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert.  He recently announced his retirement from Pitt and reflected back on his career in the United States and in Europe, and his legacy in the world of jazz.

Jazz Live International Preview and Anniversary

Jun 3, 2013
OZinOH / Flickr

This year marks the tenth anniversary of Pittsburgh Cultural Trust's summer long Jazz concert series in Katz Plaza. This year also marks the third annual Jazz Live International Festival.