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

The Music-Copyright Enforcers

Few things can make Devon Baker cry.

There was the time her pet hamster, Herschel, died. There was the time she was
run over by a car. Neither episode provoked tears. Not even close. And yet, on a
recent Thursday, as Baker drove down Highway 60, about 55 miles northwest of
Phoenix, she had to wonder, Is today one of those days when I’m gonna cry?

Baker, who has preternaturally white teeth, green eyes, soft brown hair and a
friendly way that she’s the first to describe as “country,” was on her
once-a-month, weeklong road trip. She’d flown to Phoenix to meet with bar and
restaurant owners to discuss a rather straightforward business proposal. Off she
went on her rounds each day, navigating with a special Microsoft Streets and
Trips plan she prepared in advance, with 60 to 80 venues marked with dots,
triangles or blue squares, according to size, dollar value and priority, wearing
her company badge with photo ID, hoping for a little friendly discussion. Except
it didn’t always work out so friendly.

Once, a venue owner exploded, kicked her off his property and told her, as she
recalled, “to get the bleep outta here.” Another hissed at her that she was
“nothing more than a vulture that flew over and came down and ate up all of the
little people.” It wasn’t fun. It was just the sort of thing, in fact, that
could bring Devon Baker to tears.

Baker, 30, is a licensing executive with Broadcast Music Incorporated, otherwise
known as BMI. The firm is a P.R.O., or performing rights organization; P.R.O.’s
license the music of the songwriters and music publishers they represent,
collecting royalties whenever that music is played in a public setting. Which
means that if you buy a CD by, say, Ryan Adams, or download one of his songs
from iTunes, and play it at your family reunion, even if 500 people come, you
owe nothing. But if you play it at a restaurant you own, then you must pay for
the right to harness Adams’s creativity to earn money for yourself. Which leaves
you with three choices: you can track down Ryan Adams, make a deal with him and
pay him directly; you can pay a licensing fee to the P.R.O. that represents him
— in this case, BMI; or you can ignore the issue altogether and hope not to get

P.R.O.’s like BMI spend much of their energy negotiating licenses with the
biggest users of music — radio stations, TV and cable networks, film studios,
streaming Internet music sites and so on. But a significant portion of BMI’s
business is to “educate” and charge — by phone and in person — the hundreds of
thousands of businesses across America that don’t know or don’t care to know
that they have to pay for the music they use. Besides the more obvious locales
like bars and nightclubs, the list of such venues includes: funeral parlors,
grocery stores, sports arenas, fitness centers, retirement homes — tens of
thousands of businesses, playing a collective many billions of songs per year.

Most Americans have no problem with BMI charging for its music — except when
they do. As Richard Conlon, a vice president at BMI in charge of new media, put
it: “A few years back, we had Penn, Schoen and Berland, Hillary’s pollster guys,
do a study. The idea was, go and find out what Americans really think about
copyright. Do songwriters deserve to be paid? Absolutely! The numbers were
enormously favorable — like, 85 percent. The poll asked, ‘If there was a party
that wasn’t compensating songwriters, do you think that would be wrong?’ And the
answer was, ‘Yes!’ So then, everything’s fine, right? Wrong. Because when it
came time to ask people to part with their shekels, it was like: ‘Eww. You want
me to pay?’ ”

The day I accompanied her on her rounds, Baker was four days into her trip, on
her way to Coyote Flats Cafe and Bar in the hamlet of Aguila. As we drove along
Highway 60, the sunlight glared, hawks circled and the temperature was 100
degrees. Saguaro cactuses stood 30, 40-feet tall, stiffly riding up the
foothills like porcupine quills. Baker mused about a picture she found online
while researching the business. It depicted Coyote Flats’s owner, Dorene Ross,
posing with her husband, Jim, for The Arizona Republic. There they were standing
behind the cafe counter, she with a .380 Firestorm, he with a 9-millimeter Smith
and Wesson. The article was about the lengths they were willing to go to defend
their business from local thieves. It wasn’t exactly auspicious, given the
volatile nature of Baker’s client interactions. 


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