Our CD of the Month selection for February-Black History Month is a special double delight, swingin’ music plus a historical collection of photographs documenting the golden era of Pittsburgh’s storied “Hill District”, the birthplace of many jazz legends and home to countless performances by visiting jazz dignitaries playing at the numerous jazz clubs of “The Hill”. The Pittsburgh based label, MCG Jazz has released, Hill District Beat: A Tribute to Teenie Harris, the photographer who chronicled life on “The Hill” in a career spanning over 50 years. The MCG Jazz All-Stars perform the music on the CD, the seven selections reflect the jazz styles of the era that Teenie “One Shot” Harris photographed. Moreover, most of the band members are Pittsburgh natives, the final track features legendary Hill native, Stanley Turrentine in his final appearance in his home town. When playing the disc in a computer, the enhanced CD displays more than 100 photographs shot by Mr. Harris accompanied by music of their period.
Charles “Teenie” Harris (1908-1998) photographed the events and daily life of African Americans for the Pittsburgh Courier, one of the USA’s most important and influential black newspapers. In 2001, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh archived nearly 80,000 photographic negatives as well as displaying a collection of Teenie’s photograph for public viewing. This exquisite archive is considered one of the most important documentations anywhere of 20th-century African American life. Log on to http://teenie.cmoa.org/ to see photos from the exhibition and to learn more about Charles “Teenie” Harris.
Jazz critic and historian Stanley Crouch said it all, “This collection provides us with an epic sense of life, which is to say that a civilization and how it worked is laid out before us”.