History of Pittsburgh Jazz: Swinging in the Steel City
Pittsburgh's contributions to the uniquely American art form of jazz are essential to its national narrative. Fleeing the Jim Crow South in the twentieth century, African American migration to the industrial North brought musical roots that would lay the foundation for jazz culture in the Steel City. As migrant workers entered the factories of Pittsburgh, juke joints and nightclubs opened in the segregated neighborhoods of the Hill District, Northside and East Liberty. The scene fostered numerous legends, including Art Blakey, Billy Strayhorn, George Benson, Erroll Garner and Earl Fatha Hines. The music is sustained today in the practice rooms of the city's universities and by groups such as the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild and the African American Music Institute. Authors Richard Gazarik and Karen Anthony Cole chart the swinging history of jazz in Pittsburgh.