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



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: 106
Latest Activity: Jan 10


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.


yes, You...
this part of myself
that i lost with your death.
an ever wailing in my heart
and an ever rejoicing in your freed-OM.
no whispers or glaring sounds can fill. yes...
i continue to learn in your absence...
a fullness of Spirit informs me.
today, the Ancestral realm is singing.
and i, both witness and altar boy
stand in awe and in wonderment;
the exquisite dance of sounds and lights
raining down through and upon me.
and, i bathe in this holiness
where tears wash this
heart and my soul.

---Vandorn  Hinnant


Garden of Memory

There comes to me from out of the past...

a recollection true...

a living glimpse of bygone days...

dear memories of you...

I have within my deepest heart...

a picture of your face...

and though the years may come and go...

time never can erase...

still gently stealing through the night...

are dreams that passed me by...

and I will ever reminisce...

'til stars fall from the sky...

the things we did I live again...

like it was yesterday...

and I am  filled with thrills divine...

by what my thoughts portray...

oh voice that echoes through the years...

you bring the happy hours...

in the garden of my memory...

bloom the eternal flowers.

---Ben Burroughs


Are we as afraid of being born as we are of dying?


The Divine Order we cannot see 
is yet the Divine Order that we be. 
The invisible indivisible incarnates 
and takes leave again. 
A great mystery... mobile 
in times’ trackless sands. 
We witness, we wonder, we revel, we dare 
Behold the Great Mystery 
now laid bare. 
30 January 2021

Discussion Forum

Sidney Poitier Dies at 94

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison Jan 10. 0 Replies

Sidney Poitier, Who Paved the Way for Black Actors in Film, Dies at 94The first Black performer to win the Academy Award for best actor, for “Lilies of the Field,” he once said he felt “as if I were…Continue

Tags: 94, pittsburgh, jaz, network, at

Praise song for a newly minted ancestor Paul Carter Harrison (1936-2021)

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by Dr. Nelson Harrison Jan 10. 2 Replies

Praise song for a newly minted ancestor Paul Carter Harrison (1936-2021)By Kym Moore | Special for The St. Louis AmerPaul Carter Harrison reading his work in 2015Photo courtesy of Mark Harrison and…Continue

Tags: Harrison, Carter, (1936-2021), pittsburgh, network

The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu died today 12/26/21

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by Dr. Nelson Harrison Jan 5. 3 Replies

Desmond TutuThe Most Rev Desmond Tutu obituaryAnglican archbishop who fought against apartheid in South Africa and led the subsequent…Continue

Tags: pittsburgh, jazz, network, guardian, africa

Pittsburgh's premier Bassist/Artist John W. Heard passes at 83

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by Dr. Nelson Harrison Jan 4. 12 Replies

John HeardA very talented bassist, John Heard has appeared in a countless number of musical situations through the years, always distinguishing himself.He started out playing saxophone but switched…Continue

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of OBITUARIES to add comments!

Comment by Rev. Dr. Bobby Fulton, Ph.D. on April 12, 2018 at 8:47am

My condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Nathan Davis. We pray you will be comforted and strengthened as you go through your bereavement and recover from your personal loss but Heaven’s gain. I was blessed to have been a student of Dr. Davis and to serve as an Assistant Coordinator, Gospel Segment Performer, Workshop Presenter and Panel Host for the 1975 Annual Pitt Jazz Seminar. Dr. Davis also was a tremendous help to our Music of Pittsburgh record label. He performed and contributed great horn and string arrangements on our Bobby and Bobbie Fulton “Til I Fly Away” Gospel Album featuring the single “Massa’s Grandboy” b/w “How Great Thou Art” released on our Bobby Fulton Enterprises, Inc. label and is still requested by collectors from around the world. Dr. Davis' music and his legacy will live on and not only keep Jazz alive through students and lovers of Jazz but it will inspire, touch and uplift the spirits of all who listen to it and who love great music. Our Thanks to Dr. Davis and Family!!!

Comment by Bob Garvin on January 8, 2018 at 5:20pm

When Mozart was my age, he had been dead for 51 years. I'm glad that I'm merely a rabid jazz fan, not a musician, so no one will be reading my obituary here.

Comment by Melissa Jones on August 26, 2016 at 2:08am

We, sadly, lost renowned audio engineer, Rudy Van Gelder, today, 8/25/2016

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on April 7, 2016 at 4:37am

Comment by Dan Wasson on March 31, 2016 at 11:47pm
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on January 28, 2016 at 11:47pm

Wow, I just saw Frank Greenlee's fb post about drummer Joe Harris passing this morning.    So very sad.   I am so glad that we kept in touch all these years.  Joe treated me like a son and would often come to see my group perform at various art festivals in Pittsburgh. See attached pic of Joe and I performing at the Mellon Jazz Festival.  I spoke to Joe a few months ago and one of the stories he shared with me was about his trip to Cuba with Dizzy Gillespie back in the day.  Joe said they were suppose to have a drum kit setup for him, however, when he got to Cuba, they only had congas, etc., set up for him.  My wife and I send our condolences to Joe's family.

Comment by Don Cerminara on October 28, 2015 at 11:53pm

What a loss!!  I've been in contact with Mark Murphy for the last year or so.  He's been living at the Actors Studio (Home for Show Biz) in New Jersey.  As time went on, one could see that Mark was failing.  Just a couple days ago,  on a call to the actors Home, I was advised Mark had passed away....He wont be easy to replace...there was only one!  The people at the Home couldn't give me any details but, Im in contact with the family and expect to hear from them in due course.

  I met Mark right here in Pgh at Hyholde House...where he was working.   I'd heard and seen him the previous year...but not so "up close".  I made it my business to meet him personally..and have him to my residence.  What a guy...what a vocalist.  Just a gorgeous vibrato and a great resonance...and his handling of a lyric...just so distinct and fraught with emotion (when called for).  I've never heard anyone...interpret a tune like Mark.  He took chances I'd never heard seemed so struggle whatsoever!

  Subsequently, I heard him in person in New York and Syracuse (he came from Malone..a suburb of Syracuse). 

    Truly..I've never heard his equal.  Not commercially successful..but that's the life of most..who are intimately identified with jazz.  A great loss.  I'll report further, as I hear from the family

         Don Cerminara

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. 


Members (106)


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