Incorporated in 1996, The African American Jazz Preservation Society of Pittsburgh has conducted numerous oral history interviews and secured a collection of photographs and historical documents. Most concern the Musicians Union Local 471, which served African Americans before the union was integrated in the 1960s. True to Pittsburgh's reputation as a jazz mecca, the collection includes contributions from hometown trailblazers like Art Blakey, Mary Lou Williams and Ahmad Jamal.
While much of the society's work has occurred with little fanfare from the mainstream, this weekend, the AAJPSP is hosting a four-part event, "Kicking It and Droppin' Bombs: Pittsburgh's Jazz Drumming Legacy," with help from national percussionist Michael Carvin.
The event begins Saturday morning with a drum clinic at the Afro-American Music Institute in Homewood. It continues in the afternoon at the New Hazlett Theater with a panel discussion (participants include Dr. Anicet Mundundu, Greg Humphries, Cecil Brooks II and Roger Humphries) and a screening of The 471 Anthology, a short documentary on local jazz culture compiled by the AAJPSP.
The evening features a solo performance by Michael Carvin. While Carvin might not be as well-known a drummer as Blakey, his work as a performer and a clinician has fostered a strong reputation among musicians. His recordings span a large stylistic range from a bold duo album with saxophonist Jackie McLean to an energetic album for Branford Marsalis' Marsalis Music imprint, which was considered one of the best jazz discs of 2006. Since 1970, his School of Drumming has mentored some of today's brightest time-keepers.
"Kicking It and Droppin' Bombs: Pittsburgh's Jazz Drumming Legacy" featuring Michael Carvin. Clinic: 10-11:30 a.m. (Afro-American Music Institute, 7131 Hamilton Ave., Homewood; reservations required). Panel discussion: 3-4 p.m. Film screening: 4:30 p.m. Michael Carvin performance: 6-7:30 p.m. New Hazlett Theater, Allegheny Square East, North Side. $10 (for Carvin performance, other events free). 412-867-1721 or www.blackjazzpittsburgh.org