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: 94
Latest Activity: yesterday


Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides. Lao Tzu

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

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: As death, when we come to consider it closely, is the true goal of our existence, I have formed during the last few years such close relations with this best and truest friend of mankind, that his image is not only no longer terrifying to me, but is indeed very soothing and consoling! And I thank my God for graciously granting me the opportunity...of learning that death is the key which unlocks the door to our true happiness.

Discussion Forum

Obituary: Joe Harris / Jazz drummer played with bebop legends Dec. 23, 1926 -- Jan. 27, 2016

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by Dr. Nelson Harrison yesterday. 7 Replies

February 1, 2016 12:00 AM…Continue

Tags: music, festival, mellon, legends, drums

Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White dead at 74

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison Feb 5. 0 Replies

Posted 5:41 PM, February 4, 2016, by Associated Press, Updated at 06:21pm, February 4, 2016…Continue

Tags: pittsburgh, jazz, network, music, white

Obituary: Matthew A. 'Matty' Shiner / Trombonist & Edwin P. Shiner, both musical mentors to many at Duquesne

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by Dr. Nelson Harrison Nov 14, 2015. 7 Replies

Wednesday, January 15, 2003By John Hayes, Post-Gazette Staff WriterIn America and Europe, a corps of working musicians, high-school music teachers and college professors pass along knowledge acquired…Continue

Tags: icon, teacher, brass, progressive, music

Donna Davis, "High Priestess of Jazz" passes.

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by Dr. Nelson Harrison Nov 4, 2015. 14 Replies

With regrets and condolences to the family and the entire jazz community we announce the passing of our dear Donna Davis after a long battle for her health.  She played almost up until the last…Continue

Tags: james, netwpork, street, gastropub, speakeasy

Comment Wall


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

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on August 24, 2015 at 2:19am


I am so glad you added this information about Art.  You brought back many fond memories for me and I'm sure others as well.  Art was one of a kind and his special personality made Walnut Street the 'place to be.'  I'll stop by and visit his marker next time I am over there and will tell others as well.

Comment by Shawn Cohen on August 23, 2015 at 11:22pm

Art Swiden:  born Feb. 11, 1928 - died: Aug. 23, 2004  

Comment by Shawn Cohen on August 23, 2015 at 11:19pm

11 years ago today, the long time manager of the Encore in Shadyside and also downtown on Liberty Ave., Art Swiden, passed away. Art loved jazz and talent and was a true Pittsburgh character! He started his career as a light heavyweight boxer and went pro as a Heavyweight boxer until 1960 when he retired from boxing. His next move was to be THE man at the Encore  Bar and Restaurant on Walnut Street. Owned by Will Shiner but managed by Art Swiden, he loved to make people laugh and his trademark statement was, "I'm not here to hurt ya, I am here to help ya!"  He was 6'12 and a big man who voice could imitate actors like Clark Gable to bit parts in local movies, like the Fish That Saved Pittsburgh. Art loved jazz and made sure the Encore booked the best of the best! He should be mentioned here and if anyone wants to see a small memorial to him, go to the parklet on Walnut Street, right next to where the Encore used to be and look down, you will see his name and it says, "Art Swiden Champ 4 Ever!" Art was my boss at the Encore and he was also my friend and therefore I felt it was only right his name is mentioned in Shadyside where he made himself known throughout. A true lover of music and brought into the Encore, along with Bobby Davis, the best of the best. Missed by so many. 

Comment by Melissa Jones on June 12, 2015 at 12:32am

We lost Ornette Coleman this morning.

Comment by Roberta Jean Windle on April 23, 2015 at 10:09pm

Farwell Chizmo. Will be missed by all who knew and loved you. You were a true entertainer in every sense of the word. RIP. 

Comment by Anthony (Tony) Janflone on April 23, 2015 at 7:53pm

 I was just talking about Chizmo last night. When I woke up this morning the Sky was crying. Now I know why. They say Chizmo could work a room; that's because he loved all people. Chiz, I will love and miss you till we meet again, in the arms of Jesus, our Lord.

Comment by Michele Bensen on April 23, 2015 at 6:28pm
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on April 14, 2015 at 2:41am
Comment by Michele Bensen on April 10, 2015 at 7:36am

Singer, songwriter, Sandy Mason Theoret died Wednesday, April 1, 2015, in her home in Ormond Beach, Fla., from pancreatic cancer. She was 75.

Ms. Theoret grew up in Tarentum and was “discovered” at 11 when she entered a televised talent show with her ventriloquism act.

She toured clubs with her “dummy,” Tommy, eventually getting booked into venues in Chicago and New York, said her cousin, Rick Shaw, 52, of Ormond Beach.

After graduating from Tarentum High School and the Pittsburgh Playhouse, she became a co-host with musician Joe Negri on WTAE's “Popeye and Friends.” The children's show ran from 1965-68 and allowed her to continue her ventriloquist act with Tommy and another dummy, Granny.

Comment by Anthony (Tony) Janflone on January 5, 2015 at 10:12pm

So sorry to hear of Hosea's passing. He was a fun guy. We worked quite a few gigs together. Rest in the Arms of God brother.


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