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

Byron Christopher Murrell was born on December 18, 1956, Winston-Salem, North Carolina and died on June 18, 2017.

He was an American jazz and gospel singer.

Murrell has toured as the featured vocalist for the Count Basie Orchestra and has made appearances with the Roger Humphries Big Band.

Chris Murrell passed away at 60 years old.

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Byron Christopher Murrell (December 18, 1956 – June 18, 2017)[1] was an American jazz and gospel singer who has toured as the featured vocalist for the Count Basie Orchestra and has made appearances with the Roger Humphries Big Band.


Murrell began singing as a young child and continued to study voice and perform through his childhood, singing in church and school functions. As a teenager, he traveled and performed throughout the US with his own seven-piece gospel group, the Christian Disciples.[2]

Murrell graduated from Wake Forest University in 1979 with a degree in theater, and is a lifelong resident of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In May 1986, Frank Foster was the guest soloist at a concert with the North Carolina School of the Arts Jazz Ensemble in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Chris was invited to be a guest vocal soloist on the same concert, where Foster, who was shortly to take over as leader of the Count Basie Orchestra, heard Chris's rendition of "Lush Life"; when the opportunity presented itself, he hired Chris to be the featured vocalist with the Count Basie Orchestra.[3] He toured worldwide with the Count Basie Orchestra until 2002.[citation needed]

In 2002, Murrell released a solo album, Reprise; in the liner notes, Tony Bennett called him "one of my favorite singers".[4] In 2004, his vocals were featured on the CD These Foolish Things by the Joe Aiello Trio.[5]

Murrell died on June 18, 2017 at the age of 61 in his native Winston-Salem, North Carolina.[4]

I'm not sure how to post on your website, but here is what I would like to say about Chris.
"Chris performed at Hunger Services Network's final Fall Jazz Classic in 2003 and he was spectacular!  The crowd loved him.  We also heard him With Roger Humphries on his 2015 Jazz on the River and he was still in good shape.  He was a great vocalist and song stylist and will be missed."
Thank you,
Major and Ann Mason

God rest his young soul.


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