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

Pittsburgh born Guitarist Jerry Byrd makes his transition in Thailand on May 18, 2020.

 "Pittsburgh Guitarist, **Jerry Byrd**, who is an original alumni of the **JAZZ WORKSHOP INC**. and performed, or, recorded with **Rashan Roland Kirk**, **Gene Ludwig**, **Earnestine Anderson**, **Big Mae Belle**, **Lou Donaldson**, **Etta Jones**, **Dizzy Gillespie**, *organist ***Lonnie Smith**, **Slide Hampton**, **Frank Foster**, **Jack McDuff**, **Sonny Stitt**, and **Freddy Cole**, along with so many others. He encountered and became a lifelong friend of *legendary guitarist*, **Wes Montgomery **(*the guitar he performed with for many years was given to him by the late Mr. Montgomery*); however, Jerry eventually surrendered it to **George Benson**, which is now owned by **Pat Metheny.** **Jerry Byrd** made his Transition to the next May 18th, 2020 while living in Bangkok, Thailand.

Brother Jerry will always be remembered as an ambrosial and compassionate man and musician, willing to lend a light word of wisdom, and always impeccably dressed, while imparting a warm-hearted smile. “***Jerry offers the listener an intimate and spirited portrayal of what Jazz was, Jazz is, and will be in the new millennium.***” ~ **TRIPOD**".

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 "*Jerry Byrd, playing with Freddy Cole, takes a solo on the tune* "**I Concentrate on You**". **Jerry Byrd** (g) **Freddy Cole** (p) **Curtis Boyd** (dr) **Zackery Pride** (b) 
Christopher wrote:
Jerry Byrd, playing with Freddy Cole, takes a solo on the tune "I Concentrate on You".
Jerry Byrd (g)
Freddy Cole (p)
Curtis Boyd (dr)
Zackery Pride (b)
Your sound and approach shall continue on throughout Brother Jerry ...Pittsburgh is proud
---Christopher Dean Sullivan

A craftsman, who concludes that his art is a blessing from the creator, Jazz Guitarist, Mr. Jerry Byrd seeks to offer his listeners a look at the guitar from the inside out. His musical renderings allow the listener an opportunity to experience, first-hand, the music from where it originates - the soul of Jerry Byrd.

As a youth in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Byrd immersed himself in the pursuit of acoustic guitar perfection. At the age of 16, and during his time at Westinghouse High School, Byrd became an integral part of the school orchestra. As he progressed into adulthood, Jerry was drawn to participate in local jam sessions with his long-time comrade George Benson. Jerry's initiation as a career musician began when his brother, Wendell (who was then an accomplished organist), formed a unit which they called "The Byrd Brothers". The Byrd Brothers were often seen at a then popular venue in Pittsburgh called "The Hurricane". The trio's popularity grew and the group began performing and touring extensively through parts of upstate New York. It was during their touring that Jerry encountered legendary saxophonist, Rashan Roland Kirk. The two musicians befriended and began a 5 month long engagement at the historic Ellis Hotel in Pittsburgh - where the "greats" were known to be in attendance on a regular basis. During the early 1960's, Mr. Byrd rekindled the fire of the popular Byrd Brothers group. Jerry was then a principal part of the six-year touring stint of the organ-based "Gene Ludwig Trio". Mr. Byrd also recorded a total of fifteen projects with the Ludwig Trio, and his association with the trio exposed him to jazz greats such as saxophonist, Lou Donaldson, Etta Jones, Earnestine Anderson and the legendary Big Mae Belle.

In 1967, Jerry's career reached a milestone. He encountered and became a lifelong friend of legendary guitarist, Wes Montgomery (the guitar he performed with for many years was given to him by the late Mr. Montgomery; but Jerry eventually surrendered it to George Benson. The guitar he now performs with and cherishes was given to him by George Benson!). To this day, Jerry considers Mr. Montgomery a mentor and credits him for his famous style of playing. During his time on the road in 1968, Jerry was included in a three-year tour of the United States and Scandinavia with world-renowned organist, Jack McDuff. Jerry's work with Mr. McDuff was consummated with two recordings on Cadet Records in Chicago (ironically, the same place where McDuff switched from piano to the organ work he is reknowned for). Jerry launched his solo career in 1971 with the formation of the famed "Jerry Byrd Quartet"; this unit remained in tact until Jerry met with legendary saxophonist, Sonny Stitt in 1978. During his time with Sonny Stitt, Jerry performed at classic venues in Atlanta such as Max's (in the Omni Hotel), Smugglers Inn, Ivey's South and Scandals. Jerry was a part of two more recording dates with Circle Records recording artist Tommy Stewart and vocalist, Margaret Whiting in 1980. While living in Atlanta in 1981, Jerry was asked to tour with saxophonist Sam Rivers. The Sam Rivers tour would take Jerry to exotic ports of call such as Rome, Paris, and Canada. Jerry's stellar career took and even greater turn in 1983 when he became the featured guitarist for the legendary pianist/vocalist, Mr. Freddy Cole (brother of famed vocalist/pianist, Nat "King" Cole). The two have worked together extensively since that time and continue to perform in venues worldwide. While in Atlanta, Mr. Cole's group, which included Mr. Byrd, was part of the historic grand opening of the Ritz Carlton in Buckhead (Atlanta, GA.); the group remained there to the delight of Jazz fans, for two years running.

The list of legendary jazz architects with whom Jerry has performed and recorded with over the years seems endless. Most noted are his performances with trumpet icon, Dizzy Gillespie, organist, Lonnie Smith, "Slide" Hampton, and Frank Foster. A consummate artist, who is always in pursuit of the next great performance, Mr. Byrd also delights in the visual arts. One of Jerry's most treasured possessions is a charcoal sketch by famed vocalist, Tony Bennett. Jerry Byrd is an ambrosial and compassionate man and musician, always willing to lend a light word of wisdom, or reflect on his associations with some of the icons in jazz. Always impeccably dressed, imparting a warm-hearted smile, Jerry offers the listener an intimate and spirited portrayal of what Jazz was, Jazz is, and will be in the new millennium. Luxuriate in the warmth and wealth of jazz guitar renderings by Mr. Jerry Byrd.


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