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 Dan Wasson on September 11, 2011 at 10:01am
Comment by Anthony (Tony) Janflone on September 10, 2011 at 8:04pm
Hosea was a lot of fun to play with. I enjoyed his musicianship. He also was very colorful and unique!! God rest his soul.
Comment by Roberta Jean Windle on September 10, 2011 at 6:09pm
God rest the souls of Mr. Green And Mr. Taylor.Thank you for sharing your talents with all.
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on September 10, 2011 at 5:27am
We regret to announce the passing of William Green, elder brother of George Green, who played trumpet at Westinghouse with Albert Aarons and who later switched to drums in the early 50s.  He was a quiet and pleasant spirit, who loved the music and the music community.  Will post details of final arrangements here ASAP.
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on September 10, 2011 at 5:24am
We regret to announce the passing of our dear brother in jazz, Hosea Taylor, Sr., alto saxophonist, mentor, author and historian.  We will post further details as they become known.
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on July 28, 2011 at 2:12am
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on July 28, 2011 at 2:08am
Memorial for Frank Benjamin Foster, III
Born in Cincinnati, OH
Departed on Jul. 26, 2011 and resided in Chesapeake, VA.

Visitation: Monday, Aug. 1, 2011
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Service: Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011
11:00 am
Please click on the links above for locations, times, maps, and directions.

Frank Benjamin Foster, III, 82, of the 1700 block of Woodgrove Street, Chesapeake, VA, passed away from complications due to kidney failure July 26, 2011, in his home.

A native of Cincinnati, OH, he was a professional musician and a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP). He also was a member of St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Chesapeake, VA.

He is survived by his wife of 45 years, Cecilia Ann Foster; three sons, Anthony K. Foster of San Diego, CA, Donald B. Foster of Los Angeles, CA and Frank B. Foster, IV of Chesapeake, VA; a daughter, Andrea J. Innis of Chesapeake, VA; six grandchildren, Marcus and Brian Foster of California, Carl Bennett, Jr. of Chesapeake, VA and Andrew, Cecilia and Raina Innis of Chesapeake, VA; and a host of cousins and friends.

A funeral service will be conducted at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, August 2, 2011, at St. Paul's United Methodist Church with Pastor Finley O. Jones officiating. The burial will follow in Chesapeake Memorial Gardens. The family will receive friends at Hollomon-Brown Funeral Home, 1485 Kempsville Rd., Virginia Beach, VA Monday, August 1, 2011, from 6 to 8 p.m. Memorial donations may be made to the Jazz Foundation of America. Condolences may be offered to the family at
Comment by Michele Bensen on June 4, 2011 at 5:51pm
The Pittsburgh music family has lost yet another gifted musician, Lou Brock. Such a talented man with a heart of gold. We will all you miss him. Rest in Peace dear Lou, job well done.
Comment by Anthony (Tony) Janflone on June 1, 2011 at 6:46pm
I will miss you, Lou! Now you'll be singing, having passed, in the Best Place!!
Comment by SOUTHSIDE JERRY MELLIX on June 1, 2011 at 2:14pm
I first met Lou when he had The Soul Barons, back in the late 60's.  The man was a mentor without really trying to be.  He taught/showed a lot of us younger musicians in and around Homewood, East Liberity, Hill Disitrict and other locales how to conduct yourself on and off the bandstand.   He showed me what it took to entertain folks of all walks of life and race.   I'll miss that big voice of his.........I'll miss him.  But I'll never forget him!

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