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: 85
Latest Activity: Nov 14


Obituary: Delsey McKay / Jazz pianist and songwriter Saturday, December 11, 2004 By Diana Nelson Jones, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Delsey McKay, a pianist and songwriter who shared stages with the likes of Duke Ellington and Aretha Franklin, died Sunday of cancer at UPMC Shadyside. She was 80. Ms. McKay, who spent her last years in her native Pittsburgh, was a jazz legend whom stardom had eluded. She got her break in the New York jazz scene in the late '60s, when English musician and jazz aficionado Peter McDonough met her during a vacation to see his sister. McDonough said the highlight of his "jazz vacation" to New York City in 1969 was hearing Ms. McKay perform. He asked her to send him a tape, and that tape wound up in the hands of a London disc jockey who was producing a special on the BBC. "He wanted Delsey to be on the show on the strength of this tape," said McDonough, who lives in Pittsburgh. McDonough relayed the DJ's invitation to Ms. McKay to go to London for recording sessions. In a matter of days, he said, she sent a telegram to say she was arriving at Heathrow and needed a ride. She was signed to a recording contract with Decca of England, where she had minor success with the song "Hold Her Hand a Little Higher." It was a tribute to the Statue of Liberty that she had written on the day the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. It was never released in the United States. "She had many offers in the U.S.," said McDonough, "but all the companies wanted her to be another Aretha Franklin, and she wanted to record her own compositions." In 1970, Ms. McKay's participation in the Coupe du Chant d'Europe, a pop-music Olympics in Belgium, helped the U.S. team win the adjudicated contest. "Delsey was considered by the Melody Maker of England, the bible of popular and jazz music, to be the star of the show," said McDonough. Her success earned her tours of Europe, and in 1974 London Records of New York released "I've Been There." Soon after, she wrote the bicentennial song "Sing American Sing," which was inducted into the permanent archives of U.S. Congress. McDonough remained in her sphere throughout her life, acting as her personal manager when she traveled in Europe. Together, they formed the nonprofit American Bicentennial Artists to produce historical educational musical works in Pittsburgh. Ms. McKay became a mentor of young musicians and people in the arts, he said. Daughter Constance Ward describes her mother as having been "on the go all the time. She was all about music. And she didn't meet any strangers. She would talk to a dog if one was standing on the corner." Ms. McKay gave master classes in the form of concerts, with question-and-answer sessions, at Point Park College and Carlow College. She also worked with Generations Together, a mentoring program. Charles Austin, president of the African-American Jazz Preservation Society, remembers playing on bills with Ms. McKay in local clubs in the 1950s. "She had an act. She was very slender and she would put her body through a coat hanger. She was a dancer. To me it was unbelievable." Ms. McKay was an honorary life member of the American Federation of Musicians, Local 60-471, a member of Broadcast Music Inc. and a one-time member of the African-American Jazz Preservation Society, in Pittsburgh. One of the highlights of her life was taking part in breaking ground for the African-American Civil War Memorial in Washington, D.C., a few years ago, said McDonough. In addition to her daughter, she is survived by a son, Maurice Brooks, both of Pittsburgh; three sisters, Lucretia Tabb and Rebecca Hamilton, both of Pittsburgh, and Catherine Powell, of South Carolina; two brothers, Leonard Tabb and Daniel Tabb, both of Pittsburgh; and five grandchildren. A funeral service will be held at West Funeral Home, 2215 Wylie Ave., Hill District, at 11 a.m. today. Interment will be at Allegheny Cemetery. First published on December 11, 2004 at 12:00 am Diana Nelson Jones can be reached at or 412-263-1626. Read more:

Discussion Forum

Charlotte Ella Batch Nelson - Mother of Steve Nelson and former owner of The Crazy Quilt Dies at 83

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by Roberta Jean Windle Nov 1. 1 Reply

CHARLOTTE ELLA (BATCH) NELSON1930 - 2014 | Obituary |  …Continue

Tags: mother, music, jazz, quilt, crazy

Veteran jazz guitarist and mentor Henderson Thomas, Sr. dies at 84

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by Roberta Jean Windle Nov 1. 3 Replies

HENDERSON THOMAS Sr.Obituary |  …Continue

Tags: network, music, dies, obituary, jazz

Joe Sample, Iconic Jazz Pianist, Dies at 75

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by martin thomas Sep 14. 3 Replies

VALLERY JEAN/FILMMAGICSEPTEMBER 13, 2014 | 09:08AM PTMaane Khatchatourian…Continue

Tags: network, pittsburgh, music, composer, jazz

Gerald Wilson dies at 96; multifaceted jazz musician

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by Dr. Nelson Harrison Sep 11. 2 Replies

In a lifetime that spanned a substantial portion of the history of jazz, Gerald Wilson’s combination of articulate composition skills with a far-reaching creative vision carried him successfully…Continue

Tags: big, band, trumpet, music, network

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Comment by tim max on July 12, 2013 at 2:19am

hugs to all

Comment by Pgh Rich on December 12, 2012 at 6:04am

By Associated Press,
Published: December 11 |
Updated: Wednesday, December 12, 12:28 AM

AP: Ravi Shankar, Indian sitar virtuoso, dies at 92

Ravi Shankar, the Grammy Award-winning Indian sitar musician and father of jazz-pop musician Norah Jones, has died, AP reports.

Shankar helped millions of classical, jazz and rock lovers in the West discover the centuries-old traditions of Indian music over an eight-decade career. Beatle George Harrison labeled him “the godfather of world music.”

NEW DELHI — Ravi Shankar, the sitar virtuoso who became a hippie musical icon of the 1960s after hobnobbing with the Beatles and who introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over a 10-decade career, died Tuesday. He was 92.

A statement on the musician’s website said he died in San Diego, near his Southern California home. The musician’s foundation issued a statement saying that he had suffered upper respiratory and heart problems and had undergone heart-valve replacement surgery last week.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also confirmed his death and called Shankar a “national treasure.”

Labeled “the godfather of world music” by George Harrison, Shankar helped millions of classical, jazz and rock lovers discover the centuries-old traditions of Indian music.

He also pioneered the concept of the rock benefit with the 1971 Concert For Bangladesh. To later generations, he was known as the estranged father of popular American singer Norah Jones.

His last musical performance was with his other daughter, sitarist Anoushka Shankar Wright, on Nov. 4 in Long Beach, California; his foundation said it was to celebrate his 10th decade of creating music. The multiple Grammy winner learned that he had again been nominated for the award the night before his surgery.

As early as the 1950s, Shankar began collaborating with and teaching some of the greats of Western music, including violinist Yehudi Menuhin and jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. He played well-received shows in concert halls in Europe and the United States, but faced a constant struggle to bridge the musical gap between the West and the East.

Describing an early Shankar tour in 1957, Time magazine said. “U.S. audiences were receptive but occasionally puzzled.”

His close relationship with Harrison, the Beatles lead guitarist, shot Shankar to global stardom in the 1960s.

Harrison had grown fascinated with the sitar, a long necked, string instrument that uses a bulbous gourd for its resonating chamber and resembles a giant lute. He played the instrument, with a Western tuning, on the song “Norwegian Wood,” but soon sought out Shankar, already a musical icon in India, to teach him to play it properly.

The pair spent weeks together, starting the lessons at Harrison’s house in England and then moving to a houseboat in Kashmir and later to California.

Gaining confidence with the complex instrument, Harrison recorded the Indian-inspired song “Within You Without You” on the Beatles’ ”Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” helping spark the raga-rock phase of 60s music and drawing increasing attention to Shankar and his work.

Shankar’s popularity exploded, and he soon found himself playing on bills with some of the top rock musicians of the era. He played a four-hour set at the Monterey Pop Festival and the opening day of Woodstock.

Comment by WaltSimsJr on January 24, 2012 at 4:33pm
Comment by Max Leake on September 14, 2011 at 2:37pm

I'm sorry to hear of Hosea's passing from our world. His unique spirit will be missed. I have fond memories of gigs with him when I was a "baby".


Max Leake

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on September 14, 2011 at 1:17pm

Of the Hill District, passed peacefully on September 9, 2011. He leaves to cherish his memory, loving children Lester Manuel, Hosea Taylor, Jr., Contessa Sims (David), Barron Taylor (Tonya); caring grandfather of 15; great-grandfather of three; also many other relatives and friends. Visitation Tuesday 4-8 p.m. SPRIGGS & WATSON FUNERAL HOME, INC., 720 N. Lang Ave., E.E., where services will be held Wednesday, 11 a.m.
Send condolences at

Comment by The Brian Edwards Excursion on September 13, 2011 at 7:48pm

I am sorry to hear of Mr. Taylor's passing. I can say I was fortunate enough to play on one Mr. Taylor's recordings along with the late Gene Ludwig. It was a pleasure to have shared a moment in time with him.

Brian E. Edwards

Comment by bob studebaker on September 12, 2011 at 3:12am
I count myself lucky to have had a chance to spend some time with Mr. Taylor. I'll be re reading my copy of "Dirt Street" and thinking about him.
Comment by Barbara Ray on September 12, 2011 at 2:25am
My Dear Friend Hosea Taylor .. you were one of a kind and I thought you'd be around forever - anytime one or the other would pick up the phone.  Far over 30 years we were friends - all through the years rather thick or thin... I miss you much my friend - but my faith is strong and I believe I'll see you again.
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on September 12, 2011 at 2:01am

Final Arrangements for William Green (brother of George Green):

Viewing on Monday 9/12/11 at Bethany Baptist Center, 7745 Tioga St, Pittsburgh, PA 15208-2263 Phone: 412) 242-8865.


The funeral will be held at the same place on Tuesday 9/13/11 at 11am.


Please share this information with friends and acquaintances.

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on September 12, 2011 at 1:57am

Hosea Taylor Final Arrangements:

Viewing Tuesday  9/13/11 from 4 - 8pm at Spriggs-Watson funeral Home on the corner of Bennett Street and Lang Ave. in Homewood.


The funeral will be from the same place on Wed. 9/14/11 at 11 am.


Please share this information with other friends and acquaintances.


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