ShareThis Page

New film on Pittsburgh's rich jazz history to premiere Feb. 15 on WQED

Shirley McMarlin
| Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, 11:45 a.m.
Tenor saxophonist and Pittsburgh Hill District native Stanley Turrentine is one of the subjects of  “We Knew What We Had: The Greatest Jazz Story Never Told,” a new documentary premiering Feb. 15 on WQED.
Google Images
Tenor saxophonist and Pittsburgh Hill District native Stanley Turrentine is one of the subjects of “We Knew What We Had: The Greatest Jazz Story Never Told,” a new documentary premiering Feb. 15 on WQED.

A documentary film about Pittsburgh's rich jazz music history will premiere on Feb. 15 on WQED-TV.

The MCG Jazz program of the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild has produced "We Knew What We Had: The Greatest Jazz Story Never Told," a 60-minute documentary that will premiere at 8 p.m. Feb. 15 and will rebroadcast at 7 p.m. Feb. 18.

The film explores the social conditions and historical events that came together to make Pittsburgh a leading contributor to the legacy of jazz music worldwide, according to a press release.

It features interviews, historical photographs and more than 20 live performance clips of jazz masters like George Benson, Ahmad Jamal, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Eckstine, Kenny Clarke, Art Blakey, Billy Strayhorn, Mary Lou Williams and others — all Pittsburghers.

"The film was produced for a general audience and captures the spirit of a distinctly American art form, the character of a regional locale, and the soul of a hardy and determined people," according to the press release.

"It's one of the great cultural stories of this city, and it has now been told," said Bill Strickland, president and CEO of Manchester Bidwell Corp., of which MCG is a subsidiary.

MCG Jazz executive producer Marty Ashby produced the film with writer and director Jeff Sewald. Support was provided by the Richard King Mellon Foundation, McCune Foundation, Heinz Endowments, The Pittsburgh Foundation, BNY Mellon Foundation of Southwestern Pennsylvania and UPMC Health Plan.

"This film explores the rightful ancestry and cultural significance of jazz music in Pittsburgh and properly acknowledges its unique contributions to jazz history," Ashby said.

"We Knew What We Had" will be distributed by American Public Television, with presenting station WQED Multimedia, for broadcast on television locally, nationally and internationally. The film will also be entered into national and international film festivals and presented via other public and private screenings.

Shirley McMarlin is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-836-5750, or via Twitter @shirley_trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me