He has performed at major jazz
festivals and clubs in North America and Europe and played with
Whitaker, Danny Spencer,
Margitza, Kim Nalley, Eula Lawrence,
Eastman, Kitty Margolis,
Washington Jr., Ronnie
Cuber, Steve Slagel,
Geller, Yuron Israel,
Charles Boles, Sam
Ralph Peterson, and
He also opened for Ornette Coleman and Art Blakey.
Entertainers Pitts has performed
and/or recorded with include: Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Gladys Knight,
The Four Tops, The Temptations, Martha Reeves, Lou Rawls, Bob Hope, Liberace, Henny Youngman, Lyman Woodard, Enchantment, The Floaters, The Dramatics, and even President Bill Clinton, He has also opened
for many acts including Dave Mason, Atlanta Rhythm Section,
Ambrosia, and Don Mclean. Pitts performed with
Boston based commercial groups including
Soul Party, Clockwork, and Unity.
Pitts also founded the San Francisco based
Contemporary Jazz Orchestra in 1995
and directed the band until 2000. He continues to guest with the
He is a recipient of
composition and performance grants from the National Endowment for
the Arts, Michigan Council for the Arts, and the Detroit Council of
the Arts. He was a staff instructor at Detroit Jazz Center and a
Clinician at Metro Detroit Public schools. In the Boston area, Pitts has been filling in
at Rivers and
Harvey Finstein music schools. He also directed the
Metropolitan Boston Youth
Jazz Project, a group of gifted area students learning advanced jazz combo and big band performance.
Detroit provided Pitts
solid exposure to serious jazz artists such as saxophonists
Donald Walden, Phil Lasley,
pianists Kenn Cox and Charles Boles. Encouraged to lead his own groups, he formed
the EMX with trumpeter James Van Dyke, pianist Kenn Cox, bassist
Ed Pickens and drummer Danny Spencer (after Ed Pickens left the
music business, the bass chair was subsequently held by young bassists
Bob Hurst, Rodney Whitaker and Jaribu Shahid.) The group gained
attention opening for Ornette Coleman and went on to perform at
several National Jazz Festivals, concert venues and jazz clubs. He also gained big band
experience in the band's of Ed Nuccilli, J.C Heard, Sam Sanders, Marcus Belgrave and Johnny Trudell.
Pitts studied privately with
George Coleman in New York and
Bill Pierce in Boston.
During the late 80s, Pitts
began a second career as a Freelance Television Producer and
Director while continuing to play music. Working with the likes of George Lucas
and Tim Allen, his clients included Fortune 100 Companies and Foreign Television.
He helped launch an educational channel for General Motors, producing over a
hundred hours of finished programming.
He also Produced
and Directed a series of half-hour documentaries, Jazz Masters: Keepers of the Flame
which garnered several national awards and grants. While in San Francisco,
Pitts produced numerous multimedia projects and co founded a
multimedia production company; Cooperative Media Group. Focusing on eLearning, the company was renamed Coursenet Systems and eventually purchased by Technology Solutions Company. Pitts recently completed a large scale eLearning project for Monitor/Leverage Point.
Live events Pitts produced
include several benefits
: Jamedy, a six hour Jazz and Comedy benefit for the ACLU
featuring comedians; Will Durst, Margret Cho, and musicians,
John Handy, Joyce Cooling, Kitty Margolis, and Jazz
for Greenpeace a series of 6 hour Annual benefits featuring
over 50 jazz artists.