PITTSBURGH 3D




Roger Humphries


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



As our musical icons are graduating into the higher realms we want to keep them fresh in our memories.  Please join this group where you can post any obituaries of the ancestors of our tradition for all to read and learn more about them.

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Members: 91
Latest Activity: on Sunday


Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides. Lao Tzu

O Death, Thou shalt not
Break my pride!
As thou art fame to do
With thy icy hands
As I am living here
With all my awakened soul
Being not connected 
To the worldly greed
I have my feet
Measured into three steps
Permanent ground 
For my celestial grave
To whom shalt thou 
Mitigate even an inch?
The space where my tombstone
Wilt be eracted with pride
Though all thy world
Whose senses work under limit
Of time and space
Feels jealous of my lot
O Death, Thou shalt greet me
As a military troop to their leader
Laughing under suppressed voice
At my crowded depature

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: As death, when we come to consider it closely, is the true goal of our existence, I have formed during the last few years such close relations with this best and truest friend of mankind, that his image is not only no longer terrifying to me, but is indeed very soothing and consoling! And I thank my God for graciously granting me the opportunity...of learning that death is the key which unlocks the door to our true happiness.

Discussion Forum

Wilton Felder (Mighty Jazz Crusader

Started by Pgh Rich. Last reply by Dr. Nelson Harrison on Wednesday. 2 Replies

 RIP WILTON FELDER A Mighty JAZZ CRUSADERVideo Wilton Felder spent over 30 years with the group known as the Jazz Crusaders (and…Continue

Tags: sample, joe, stix, hooper, music

Obituary: Howard ‘H.B.’ Bennett / Drummer, founder of Balcony Big Band

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison Jul 8. 0 Replies

Jan. 6, 1954 - July 6, 2015July 8, 2015 12:00 AM…Continue

Tags: pittsburgh, jazz, network, music, drummer

Obituary: Gunther Schuller

Started by Melissa Jones Jun 22. 0 Replies

The music community lost Gunther Schuller on Sunday. Blending classical music and jazz, he coined the term Third Stream. His collaborations with John Lewis and the MJQ, were extensive and he, along…Continue

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Comment by Melissa Jones on September 30, 2015 at 2:00am
9/29/2015: We lost Phil Woods today.
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on September 14, 2015 at 9:59pm


Those were precious times and your memories are golden.  I'm sure there are many members who are reveling in them as am I.  Thank you.

Comment by Shawn Cohen on September 14, 2015 at 6:09pm

Harold Betters always played in the Shadyside Encore while I was there and then he left for a while. I remember his brother Jerry getting up and singing too and that was always something to witness. The crowd loved Harold and his band and Jerry Betters too. Kenny Karsh is such a talented young man and he was still underage when he came to play at the Encore. In fact, his mother (I was best friends with his older sister Roberta) asked me to look out for Kenny because, well, the Encore in Shadyside was no place for a young impressionable teen! I did and he was excellent and the crowd also loved Kenny! All part of my memories of the Encore. Harold always played Satin Doll when the end of the evening came and I knew then to call, "Last Call for Alcohol" for my tables then...that song will always remind me of Harold and the Encore because of that! Harold is still going strong and his daughter and her son are also my friends now. They are a lovely family with very talented generations. 

Comment by Shawn Cohen on September 14, 2015 at 6:00pm

Hi Dr. Nelson,  would be delighted to share those memories here. I was referencing Michele and I connecting on FB just yesterday. If I think back, there was always a line out the door when big acts came to the Encore downtown. I am speaking of people like Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespe. It was my job as a waitress to make sure all the tables were served well, keep their libations flowing and not have Art or Bobby give me a talking to because I missed someone or the food in the kitchen was waiting for me! I wore high heels as this was all part of the penguin suit back then and I have walked a million waitress miles in them with the feet today to show for it! But the money was good when the getting was good! Art was particularly over protective of his staff and me as I was the youngest and he would make sure that any male customer who thought I was "dessert" would be swiftly and gladly upthrown from his bar seat or table and wisked out the front door by the scruff of his shirt collar with Art's big ex boxer hand and in his notorious put on "gruff" voice say, "Hit the road Jack and don't ya come back no more!"  LOL To which he would turn back to the crowd and say, "Ok, show's over...!" And back the band would play and me and the other penguins (white shirts, black pants or skirts) would go back to work!  Just another day/night at the Encore!

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on September 14, 2015 at 5:46pm

It would be appreciated if you would share them here. That's primarily what this network is for. ok?

Comment by Shawn Cohen on September 14, 2015 at 5:16pm

Thank you Michele Bensen. :-) I am the one who recently connected with you on FB. It would be fun to share some Encore memories. All the best, Shawn Cohen 

Comment by Anthony (Tony) Janflone on September 13, 2015 at 4:19am

Even though I haven't seen Jerry in quite a while I'll never forget the gigs we had and the friendship. Rest in peace my friend in the Arms of our Lord. Love you Jerry.

Comment by Richy Muckle on September 13, 2015 at 4:00am

Sorry to hear of Jerry Melega's passing. Great, great memories, both musically, and personally. I will miss him, as he passes on....Thanks, my brother.

Comment by Michele Bensen on September 12, 2015 at 11:04pm

I have just learned of the passing of pianist Jerry Melega, from Brownsville, PA who worked throughout the Pittsburgh tri-state area with many local musicians. Funeral / Memorial services and arrangements will be forthcoming. Will will miss Jerry who was in his late 70's.

Comment by Shawn Cohen on August 27, 2015 at 12:19am

I know Art told me he met "Little Georgie Benson" when he was just a boy coming into the Encore and playing his guitar! They knew he would be a star one day because he was a child prodigy! Now look at him, not so little and in fact he recently played The Royal Albert Hall, here in London! That is stardom! lol but he played the Encore too, plenty and I remember him coming in to play while I was on shift there one night...he had just released, "Breezin'" and it was rising in the charts and he came in and played his main song, "Breezin'" which the house went crazy over. Very nice guy. I also remember Jimmy McGriff's band playing at the Encore Downtown and Kenny Karsh went out on tour with him later on.  There are so many...if I can recall anymore, will let you know but if you go to the Pgh Press or Pgh Post Gazette archived newspapers, you will find plenty of articles about the Encore and who is playing there. Lenny Litman wrote plenty of reviews too so look for his articles. I remember when Lenny would come in, Art would go crazy, to make sure he was well seen to and that Lenny would write a great review! Haha he always did anyway! But Art wanted to make sure! Ok, that is all for now. Nice chatting with you both , Michele and Dr. Harrison. :-) Let's keep Jazz alive and well in Pgh!  And all over the world! 


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