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: 101
Latest Activity: on Sunday


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.


yes, You...
this part of myself
that i lost with your death.
an ever wailing in my heart
and an ever rejoicing in your freed-OM.
no whispers or glaring sounds can fill. yes...
i continue to learn in your absence...
a fullness of Spirit informs me.
today, the Ancestral realm is singing.
and i, both witness and altar boy
stand in awe and in wonderment;
the exquisite dance of sounds and lights
raining down through and upon me.
and, i bathe in this holiness
where tears wash this
heart and my soul.

---Vandorn  Hinnant

Discussion Forum

Dr. Nathan Davis, jazz educator, passes at 81.

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by Dr. Nelson Harrison on Sunday. 10 Replies

Nathan Davis, Music Educator, Performer, ComposerA life’s recounting in the subject’s own wordsby…Continue

Tags: network, obituary, educator, saxophone, pittsburgh

Cecil Taylor, Pianist Who Defied Jazz Orthodoxy, Is Dead at 89

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by Dr. Nelson Harrison Apr 12. 1 Reply

Cecil Taylor, Pianist Who Defied Jazz Orthodoxy, Is Dead at 89By BEN RATLIFFAPRIL 6, 2018PhotoCecil Taylor…Continue

Tags: music, network, jazz, pittsburgh, piano

We sadly announce the passing of Carol Watson (Judge Warren Watson) last week

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by Roberta Jean Windle Mar 16. 2 Replies

Arrangements:Viewing will…Continue

Tags: transition, funeral, viewing, passing, judge

Pianist George "Duke" Spaulding passes at 95.

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison Feb 26. 0 Replies

The family is asking you to gather…Continue

Tags: spaulding, musician, mason, shriner, duke

Comment Wall


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

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.

Comment by Melissa Jones on January 5, 2015 at 1:40pm

January 5, 2015 (Monday):  WKCR will be broadcasting a BUDDY DEFRANCO MEMORIAM on Monday, January 5, 2015 from 12 Noon to 3pm ET.
This DeFranco memorial is on WKCR at 89.9 FM in NYC and via the Internet at"

Comment by tim max on July 12, 2013 at 2:19am

hugs to all

Comment by Pgh Rich on December 12, 2012 at 6:04am

By Associated Press,
Published: December 11 |
Updated: Wednesday, December 12, 12:28 AM

AP: Ravi Shankar, Indian sitar virtuoso, dies at 92

Ravi Shankar, the Grammy Award-winning Indian sitar musician and father of jazz-pop musician Norah Jones, has died, AP reports.

Shankar helped millions of classical, jazz and rock lovers in the West discover the centuries-old traditions of Indian music over an eight-decade career. Beatle George Harrison labeled him “the godfather of world music.”

NEW DELHI — Ravi Shankar, the sitar virtuoso who became a hippie musical icon of the 1960s after hobnobbing with the Beatles and who introduced traditional Indian ragas to Western audiences over a 10-decade career, died Tuesday. He was 92.

A statement on the musician’s website said he died in San Diego, near his Southern California home. The musician’s foundation issued a statement saying that he had suffered upper respiratory and heart problems and had undergone heart-valve replacement surgery last week.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also confirmed his death and called Shankar a “national treasure.”

Labeled “the godfather of world music” by George Harrison, Shankar helped millions of classical, jazz and rock lovers discover the centuries-old traditions of Indian music.

He also pioneered the concept of the rock benefit with the 1971 Concert For Bangladesh. To later generations, he was known as the estranged father of popular American singer Norah Jones.

His last musical performance was with his other daughter, sitarist Anoushka Shankar Wright, on Nov. 4 in Long Beach, California; his foundation said it was to celebrate his 10th decade of creating music. The multiple Grammy winner learned that he had again been nominated for the award the night before his surgery.

As early as the 1950s, Shankar began collaborating with and teaching some of the greats of Western music, including violinist Yehudi Menuhin and jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. He played well-received shows in concert halls in Europe and the United States, but faced a constant struggle to bridge the musical gap between the West and the East.

Describing an early Shankar tour in 1957, Time magazine said. “U.S. audiences were receptive but occasionally puzzled.”

His close relationship with Harrison, the Beatles lead guitarist, shot Shankar to global stardom in the 1960s.

Harrison had grown fascinated with the sitar, a long necked, string instrument that uses a bulbous gourd for its resonating chamber and resembles a giant lute. He played the instrument, with a Western tuning, on the song “Norwegian Wood,” but soon sought out Shankar, already a musical icon in India, to teach him to play it properly.

The pair spent weeks together, starting the lessons at Harrison’s house in England and then moving to a houseboat in Kashmir and later to California.

Gaining confidence with the complex instrument, Harrison recorded the Indian-inspired song “Within You Without You” on the Beatles’ ”Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” helping spark the raga-rock phase of 60s music and drawing increasing attention to Shankar and his work.

Shankar’s popularity exploded, and he soon found himself playing on bills with some of the top rock musicians of the era. He played a four-hour set at the Monterey Pop Festival and the opening day of Woodstock.

Comment by WaltSimsJr on January 24, 2012 at 4:33pm
Comment by Max Leake on September 14, 2011 at 2:37pm

I'm sorry to hear of Hosea's passing from our world. His unique spirit will be missed. I have fond memories of gigs with him when I was a "baby".


Max Leake


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