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

Farewell to James "Jimmy" P. Sapienza August 10, 1949 ~ February 6, 2021 (age 71)

Music 22

James "Jimmy" P. Sapienza

August 10, 1949 ~ February 6, 2021 (age 71)
Obituary Image


Obituary of James P. “Jimmy” Sapienza



Of Forest Hills, age 71, died on Saturday, February 6, 2021 after a long, courageous battle with kidney disease.

Beloved husband of Paula (Bruecken) Sapienza for 25 years.

Loving father of Mia and Keely Sapienza, Rachel (Chris) Mamakos, Joseph (Christie) Simon and DeNiro, “The Weiner Dog”.

Treasured grandfather of Sophia, Jackson, Camden, Noelle and Summer.

Dear brother of Rosette (Bill) Hillgrove, Thomas (Betsy) Sapienza and Frank (Shelia) Sapienza, Patrick (Karen) Donnelly and Kathleen (Tony Dixon) Donnelly.

Son of the late Salvatore Sapienza and late Alice Sapienza Donnelly.

Jimmy is also survived by nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.

Jimmy served as a medic in the Air Force during the Vietnam War era. He was a man of many talents, including writing music, designing and making t-shirts, and singing, but mostly known as an entertainer extraordinaire. Jimmy formed his band, Jimmy Sapienza and the Five Guys Named Moe in the 1980’s. His group became the official band of KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast with John Cigna. Jimmy’s band played at multiple events and venues, including night clubs, weddings, theme-parks, Pittsburgh’s First Night, and church festivals. He was a regular performer in his hometown of Forest Hills at Community Day and for his town’s Centennial in 2019. In 2006, for the Bicentennial of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette named Jimmy’s tribute song, “I Love Pittsburgh”, as the city’s Best ‘Burgh Song. He was most proud of that song which he wrote and performed at every show.

Jimmy performed ‘Just a Gigolo’ on Live With Studio A at WQED, which won an Emmy at the Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards in 2007. A few of his fan favorite songs were ‘Caldonia’ (for Mia), ‘That Old Black Magic’ (for Keely), and ‘Honey Chile’ (for Paula). 

Friends are welcome on Valentine’s Day, Sunday, February 14, from 2-8pm at Patrick T. Lanigan Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc., Turtle Creek / Monroeville Chapel, 1111 Monroeville Ave., Turtle Creek, 412-823-9350. At 6pm, there will be an “Open Mic” for folks to share stories, sing a song or play a tune in remembrance and in honor of Jimmy.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in St. Maurice Church of St. Joseph the Worker Parish in Forest Hills on Monday, February 15, 2021 at 11 a.m. followed by a Presentation of Military Honors. 

Memorial donations may be made to the Little Sisters of the Poor, 1028 Benton Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15212.

The Funeral Mass will be live-streamed through by clicking on this obituary and then on the live-stream option below where it indicates 'Access video".



February 14, 2021

2:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Patrick T. Lanigan Funeral Home and Crematory, Inc.
1111 Monroeville Ave
Turtle Creek, PA 15145
Send Flowers to James "Jimmy" P. Sapienza's Viewing
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February 15, 2021

11:00 AM
St. Maurice Church of St. Joseph the Worker Parish
2001 Ardmore Blvd.
Pittsburgh, Allegheny 15221
Send Flowers to James "Jimmy" P. Sapienza's Mass of Christian Burial
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This event will be live-streamed

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Replies to This Discussion

It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the obituary of vocalist JIMMY SAPIENZA sent to me by my friend and fellow vocalist Michele Bensen.
Please feel free to share with others.  Jimmy always brought to us a big smile with his energetic and fun-filled, entertaining performances.  I will truly miss having Jimmy perform at our future B-PEP JAZZ extravaganzas.  He was always willing to be with us as one of our musicians and vocalists we could depend on each year.  According to Michele Bensen, Jimmy was even considering performing at this past year's B-PEP JAZZ concert, even though not in good health. Please send your love to his family, and please stay as healthy as you can.
Tim Stevens

I had the pleasure of working for Jimmy. He was a lot of fun and down to earth guy. He was definitely one of the great showmen of Pittsburgh who really wanted and did connect with his audience as other great Pittsburgh showmen. God bless you Jimmy and all of those who love him and will miss hi greatly.

Thank you Nelson.

Warmest Regards,

Tony Janflone


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