Pain Relief Beyond Belief





From Blakey to Brown, Como to Costa, Eckstine to Eldridge, Galbraith to Garner, Harris to Hines, Horne to Hyman, Jamal to Jefferson, Kelly to Klook; Mancini to Marmarosa, May to Mitchell, Negri to Nestico, Parlan to Ponder, Reed to Ruther, Strayhorn to Sullivan, Turk to Turrentine, Wade to Williams… the forthcoming publication Treasury of Pittsburgh Jazz Connections by Dr. Nelson Harrison and Dr. Ralph Proctor, Jr. will document the legacy of one of the world’s greatest jazz capitals.


Do you want to know who Dizzy Gillespie  idolized? Did you ever wonder who inspired Kenny Clarke and Art Blakey? Who was the pianist that mentored Monk, Bud Powell, Tad Dameron, Elmo Hope, Sarah Vaughan and Mel Torme? Who was Art Tatum’s idol and Nat Cole’s mentor? What musical quartet pioneered the concept adopted later by the Modern Jazz Quartet? Were you ever curious to know who taught saxophone to Stanley Turrentine or who taught piano to Ahmad Jamal? What community music school trained Robert McFerrin, Sr. for his history-making debut with the Metropolitan Opera? What virtually unknown pianist was a significant influence on young John Coltrane, Shirley Scott, McCoy Tyner, Bobby Timmons and Ray Bryant when he moved to Philadelphia from Pittsburgh in the 1940s?  Would you be surprised to know that Erroll Garner attended classes at the Julliard School of Music in New York and was at the top of his class in writing and arranging proficiency?


Some answers  can be gleaned from the postings on the Pittsburgh Jazz Network.


For almost 100 years the Pittsburgh region has been a metacenter of jazz originality that is second to no other in the history of jazz.  One of the best kept secrets in jazz folklore, the Pittsburgh Jazz Legacy has heretofore remained mythical.  We have dubbed it “the greatest story never told” since it has not been represented in writing before now in such a way as to be accessible to anyone seeking to know more about it.  When it was happening, little did we know how priceless the memories would become when the times were gone.


Today jazz is still king in Pittsburgh, with events, performances and activities happening all the time. The Pittsburgh Jazz Network is dedicated to celebrating and showcasing the places, artists and fans that carry on the legacy of Pittsburgh's jazz heritage.






Duke Ellington is first African-American and the first musician to solo on U.S. circulating coin



       In Her Own Words

Longtime Pittsburgh politician Bill Robinson remembered as advocate for minority rights

Bob Bauder
Bill Robinson, a former Pittsburgh city councilman, state representative and Allegheny County councilman, died on Tuesday.

William Russell Robinson, known as a fierce advocate for minority causes while serving for decades in local and state elected political posts, died Tuesday.

Robinson, 78, of Pittsburgh’s Hill District, died peacefully in his sleep, according to his children.

“My dad was a dedicated public servant, who was extremely passionate about his service to the state and the city and the county,” said his daughter Nyota N. P. Robinson of the Hill District. “He just always wanted to make sure things were equal for everyone. He was fully committed to being a public servant. He loved his family and he loved service.”

Allegheny Co. Exec.@ACE_Fitzgerald

It was important work as this county transitioned from the commissioner form of government to an executive and council body form of government.

My condolences go out to the Robinson family and their friends on this loss.

View image on Twitter

See Allegheny Co. Exec.'s other Tweets

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said he was saddened to learn of Robinson’s death.

“I had the pleasure of serving on County Council for eight years with Bill and worked on many groundbreaking initiatives with him, including a countywide smoking ban, creation of a county Human Relations Commission, row office consolidation and many others,” Fitzgerald said. “It was important work as this county transitioned from the commissioner form of government to an executive and council body form of government.”

Robinson earned a bachelor’s degree from the Ohio State University and a master’s from Duquesne University, both in political science. He also attended law school at Howard University, according to his daughter.

From 1978 through 2015, he served on Pittsburgh City Council, as a state representative in the 19th House District and as an Allegheny County Councilman. He said during an interview for an oral history project sponsored by the state House that his grandfather and an uncle were involved in politics. They prompted his interest.

A Democrat, he described himself during the interview as “outspoken, opinionated, progressive and I guess from time to time, a pain in the rear end for some people.”

He was well respected in the Hill District, said Pittsburgh City Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle, a Hill resident.

“He was known as someone who cared for the neighborhood, and he certainly had its best interest at heart,” Lavelle said.

He always wore a red carnation in a lapel of his suits and had an affable personality, according to acquaintances.

“If you were walking down the street and just saw the suit with the red carnation you knew it was Bill Robinson,” said Tim Stevens, chairman of the Black Political Empowerment Project in Pittsburgh and a longtime Robinson family friend. “I think Bill was pretty much always on the right side of the issues. Very consistent and persistent with a huge commitment to the black community.”

State Rep. Jake Wheatley, a Hill District Democrat who ousted Robinson in the 2002 primary election, described his former political opponent as a strong advocate for minority rights, particularly during the construction of PNC Park and Heinz Field.

“He stood alone in this region, trying to fight for those minority contracts during the stadium situation,” Wheatley said. “He was always trying to fight the good fight.”

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his mother, Annie L. Kemp Robinson, and a son, William R. Robinson II. Funeral arrangements will be announced in the future

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-564-3080, or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Allegheny

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to 8 PM, Jones Funeral Home, 2644 Wylie Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA
15219. Must wear mask.
Private Funeral Ceremony: Saturday, June 20, 2020, 10:30 am; St. Luke
Baptist Church, 659 Herron Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 (INVITATION
For more information please contact: Ms. Nyota Robinson – 412-401-
Thank you,
The Robinson Family

It is with a profound sense of loss that I share with you the news of the passing of one of the college’s most passionate advocates, William (Bill) R. Robinson. As many of you are aware, Mr. Robinson was a member of the CCAC Board of Trustees serving from 1997 through 2012, including as board chair from 2010 to 2012. He also served on the Educational Foundation Board of Directors where he was a key member of the steering committee for CCAC’s successful fundraising initiative, Imagine & Achieve: The Campaign for the Community College of Allegheny County.


His commitment to CCAC and higher education was also evident through the many years he spent as both an educator and a public servant. He taught at CCAC’s Homewood-Brushton Center, as well as other local colleges and universities, and was a strong proponent of education while serving on Allegheny County Council, as a state representative and as a member of Pittsburgh City Council.


Mr. Robinson was the recipient of numerous awards, including the Byrd Brown/K. Leroy Irvis Public Service Award and was conferred the title of Trustee Emeritus by the CCAC Board of Trustees in 2013. He was a great friend to CCAC who will be truly missed.


Please join me in extending our condolences to the entire Robinson family.  





Dr. Quintin Bullock



Community College of Allegheny County

808 Ridge Avenue, Byers Hall: Suite 109

Pittsburgh, PA 15212


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