Do Jazz & Gospel Music Go Together? You Be The Judge.
When I was a teenager I owned a record album titled “This is Pat Moran” which I absolutely loved and couldn’t get enough of. Pat Moran was known as “the little girl of jazz” not only because she is short of stature, but also because she was so young — playing with seasoned jazz artists twice her age. She came from a musical family and studied classical piano at Phillips University and then at Cinncinnati Conservatory of Music with the goal of becoming a classical concert pianist. She was so gifted with improvisation abilities that she soon switched to jazz, formed a group and played in jazz clubs in New York (including Birdland, home of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Monk, Dizzy, and others) Chicago and Los Angeles. She played for a stint with the Terry Gibbs big band, but most of the time fronted the Pat Moran trio and vocal quartet. She has played with jazz greats such as Ray Brown, Shelly Manne, Scott LaFaro, Herb Ellis, Barney Kessel, and many others.
After I was married we moved to Oregon to pursue my Masters Degree at Southern Oregon University and to my delight, discovered that Pat Moran was really Patti McCoy, who lived in Ashland close to the University, and played occasionally in concerts and regularly at church. With my heart in my throat I knocked on her door one day and introduced myself as a fan. She invited me in, played a couple tunes for me, and gradually we became good friends. When it was time to do my Master’s thesis, she agreed to work with me in producing a book and a cassette on the history of piano jazz. It was a great experience, and my professors of course were delighted. We later transfered the cassette interview with Patti to CD and it is still available at Piano Improvisation From Ragtime To Contemporary. In it we take a walk through the history of jazz piano, with me asking her questions and she responding and playing many examples of different types of jazz, including boogie, ragtime, swing, be-bop, Garner style, and contemporary styles such as Chick Corea.
Here is a video of her playing an old gospel song “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder” at a church in Los Angeles pastored by another great gospel musician, Andre Couch:
To repeat, you can get the full interview which includes lots of Patti playing various kinds of jazz at Piano Improvisation From Ragtime To Contemporary