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Posts Tagged ‘Pittsburgh’

How did I not know about Gary Gebler’s incredible collection.  The retired Sam Goodie and Record and Tape Traders executive has been running his treasure trove of vintage vinyl, Trax On Wax,  since last June.  Trax has joined the row of unique music stores along the stretch of Frederick Road before Mellor Avenue in Catonsville.  Gary told me that he began traveling up and down the coast gathering records for about a year before he opened shop. Great job, Gary.  What a catalogue.  I found three wax titles I had been searching for without even really digging.

That was within the first 15 minutes I spent in the shop.  Yeah, as you can see above I scored Al Di Meola’s Elegant Gypsy,  Chick Corea’s Circling In and Oscar Brown Jr.’s Sin and Soul.  I came up empty on Eddie Jefferson’s Things are Getting Better.  But, the Oscar Brown more than made up for it.   Imagine if I could have burned an hour or two.  Oh, and Gary’s knowledge is a bonus.  Once he noticed me scooping up Mahavishnu Orchestra he let me know where to find all the Jaco and John Mclaughlin.  That’s one of the things that makes vinyl so great–it sounds better and it brings better company.  Imagine the kid peddling discs at Best Buy anticipating your fusion jazz needs.  I never knew I could feel this way again.  Shout out to Stedeford’s Records back home in Pittsburgh.  You’ll find Trax on Wax at 709 Frederick Road.

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Teenie Harris for the Pittsburgh Courier

The best advice I’ve received regarding filling your home with art–always buy things that hold some history for you. The photograph above is my very first art purchase– a  Teenie Harris photograph taken of a line up at the Hill District police station in Pittsburgh, PA.  My first job out of college was working in the classified section of the New Pittsburgh Courier, formerly the Pittsburgh Courier.  The paper is America’s oldest black newspaper.  Harris was a fellow Pittsburgher and took photos for the Courier from 1936-1975.  The year Mr. Harris died, I interviewed him and sculptor Thad Mosley for a piece in the Pittsburgh City Paper.  The two worked with one another at the Courier–Thad as a sportswriter and Teenie a photojournalist.  So much of my life seemed to intersect with Teenie’s…we had mutual friends and I worked with some of his old Courier colleagues .  He was a founding member of the Pittsburgh Crawford’s, a Hill District baseball team  that my Uncle Ralph “Lefty” Mellix pitched with when they went to the Negro Leagues.

Two Friends, circa 1930’s

Teenie had no formal training but clearly had loads of talent.  He was wonderfully warm and generous during our interview.  He made me feel at home-showing me a picture of his beautiful wife and other photos of his family.   When I asked Teenie if he would sign the photograph he’d taken of the police line up he did so gladly.  Charmingly, Teenie commented that he stood amazed when people asked him for these signatures.  Teenie’s work was propagated around the time of his death and his children fought a hard battle to keep the rights to his photos.  The Courier hadn’t catalogued the mass of work Teenie left behind.  The photo images here belong to  the Carnegie Museum which is now undertaking the task.  See the Documenting Our Past project by visiting the Carnegie’s website.

Posing Beauty, circa 1940's

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I think that each of us has one particular home, that of a friend or relative,  that shapes our aesthetic.   From the first time I visited  Thaddeus Mosley’s home I was in love with every bit of it.   Last year, Pittsburgh museum The Mattress Factory put up an installation–Sculptor— which replicated his studio/home in the city’s historic North Side.  Albeit irreducible, his sensibility is indeed captured in these make-believe rooms.  The photos are from The Mattress Factory Flickr photostream.

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