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: 87
Latest Activity: on Wednesday


O Death, Thou shalt not
Break my pride!
As thou art fame to do
With thy icy hands
As I am living here
With all my awakened soul
Being not connected 
To the worldly greed
I have my feet
Measured into three steps
Permanent ground 
For my celestial grave
To whom shalt thou 
Mitigate even an inch?
The space where my tombstone
Wilt be eracted with pride
Though all thy world
Whose senses work under limit
Of time and space
Feels jealous of my lot
O Death, Thou shalt greet me
As a military troop to their leader
Laughing under suppressed voice
At my crowded depature

Discussion Forum

Member Anne Robin Friedland passed on sunday MArch 22, 2015

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by Anthony (Tony) Janflone on Tuesday. 4 Replies

ANNE ROBIN FRIEDLAND Obituary | Condolences ANNE ROBIN FRIEDLAND Obituary FRIEDLAND ANNE ROBIN On Sunday, March 22, 2015. Beloved daughter of Marilyn and the late Irvin Friedland; sister of Paul…Continue

Tags: piano, organ, vocal, network, jazz

Clark Terry ascends to join and enhance Gabriel's Band.

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by Dr. Nelson Harrison Mar 5. 5 Replies

Our beloved Clark Terry has joined the big band in heaven where he’ll be singing and playing with the angels. He left us peacefully, surrounded by his family, students and friends. Clark has known…Continue

Tags: count, ellington, basie, network, pittsburgh

R.I.P. Darryl A. Strayhorn, President of Hand in Hand, Inc.

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison Feb 19. 0 Replies

STRAYHORN DARRYL A.Age 63, of Point Breeze, on Feb. 8, 2015. Loving father of Nicole D. Strayhorn, Darryl A. Strayhorn II and Jai R. Strayhorn; grandfather of three; brother of David M. (Ethel)…Continue

Tags: jazz, network, kelly-strayhorn, pittsburgh, hand

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of OBITUARIES to add comments!

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!
Comment by lorraine cook on June 1, 2011 at 12:24pm

Lou Brock will be missed, he seem happiest when he was entertaining and what a true entertainer he was!!


Comment by Dan Wasson on June 1, 2011 at 4:32am

Will miss Lou Brock


Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on June 1, 2011 at 3:28am
Alvin (Lou) Brock  has made his Transition

Alvin (Lou) Brock died Saturday May 28. Lou entertained jazz lovers in and around Pittsburgh for many many years. When you think of Lou you think of Carl's Cork and Keg and the many other places that Lou played.

He is survived by his wife Nadine (Phipps) Brock, Sons Alvin Jr. and David. Daughters Karen and Robin. Brothers Richard and Phillip and Sister Helen

Viewing will be Friday June 3, @ Jones Funeral Home Wylie Ave Pittsburgh PA 15219 from 4PM unitl 8PM

A memorial service will be held at a later date to be announced.
Comment by Regina Johnson on April 7, 2011 at 1:22am
Imagine the 'joyous noise' . . Luther, Gene, Squirrel, Lena joining Errol, Art, Billy, Dakota and too many others that we have lost. .  representing Pittsburgh! Everytime we loose such a talent, it's like we've lost them all, all over again. 
Comment by Bettoman on March 16, 2011 at 9:10pm
I remember when Melvin Sparks first came to Pittsburgh as the replacement for George Benson in the Jack McDuff Quartet at the Hurricane.  I last saw him at the Detroit Jazz Festival in September 2010 backing singer Ernie Andrews along with Louis Hayes, Bobby Watson and an organist.
Comment by Roberta Jean Windle on March 16, 2011 at 8:08pm
It is so very important to remember & praise those who have been such an important part of our lives. Very, very important!
Comment by Garl Germany III on March 16, 2011 at 5:20pm
Luther was really one of the best, he will be missed.
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on March 16, 2011 at 5:18pm

Melvin Sparks Dies at 64

March 16, 2011 – - Melvin Sparks, a much-in-demand soul-jazz guitarist who recorded with virtually all of the great organists of the late ’60s and ’70s and pioneered a sound that borrowed from Grant Green and Sly Stone, died on March 13 . He was 64. Sparks was at his best playing a muscular, groovy rhythm guitar behind organists like Leon Spencer and Charles Earland , breaking out occasionally with a melodic, groovy solo. He was a mainstay at Prestige during the ’70s, where he was a first-call session guitarist noted for his pulsating twangy feel.

Two of my favorite albums featuring Sparks are Leon Spencer’s Louisiana Slim (1971) and Charles Earland’s Infant Eyes (1978). Here’s Leon Spencer on Mercy, Mercy Me with Sparks keeping jazz-soul time. And here’s Charles Earland’s Thang from 1978 off of Infant Eyes, with Sparks running a string-bending solo. Also on the date: Bill Hardman (tp), Frank Wess (fl,ts), Mack Goldsbury Melvin Sparks, Grady Tate (d) and Lawrence Killian (perc).


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