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



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: 106
Latest Activity: Apr 18


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


Garden of Memory

There comes to me from out of the past...

a recollection true...

a living glimpse of bygone days...

dear memories of you...

I have within my deepest heart...

a picture of your face...

and though the years may come and go...

time never can erase...

still gently stealing through the night...

are dreams that passed me by...

and I will ever reminisce...

'til stars fall from the sky...

the things we did I live again...

like it was yesterday...

and I am  filled with thrills divine...

by what my thoughts portray...

oh voice that echoes through the years...

you bring the happy hours...

in the garden of my memory...

bloom the eternal flowers.

---Ben Burroughs


Are we as afraid of being born as we are of dying?


The Divine Order we cannot see 
is yet the Divine Order that we be. 
The invisible indivisible incarnates 
and takes leave again. 
A great mystery... mobile 
in times’ trackless sands. 
We witness, we wonder, we revel, we dare 
Behold the Great Mystery 
now laid bare. 
30 January 2021

The top 10 things dead people want to tell living people, are:

1. They're not dead.
2. They're sorry for any pain they caused.
3. There's no such thing as a devil or hell.
4. They were ready to go when they went.
5. You're not ready.
6. They finally understand what they were missing.
7. Nothing can prepare you for the beauty of the moment you arrive.
8. Don't try to understand this now, but life is exceedingly fair.
9. Your pets are as crazy, brilliant, and loving here as they were there.
10. Life really is all about love, but not just loving those who love you…

In their own words,
    The Universe

P.S. They also wanted you to know that they really do show up as orbs in some of your photos, but so does water. Quite a talkative bunch.

Discussion Forum

Rayfield Wright, Dallas Cowboys MVP dies on April 7, 2022.

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison Apr 18. 0 Replies

Richard Stagg/Getty ImagesRayfield "Big Cat" Wright died at the age of 76 on April 7, 2022, after being hospitalized with seizures. According to ESPN, Wright was inducted into the Football Hall of…Continue

Tags: fame, pittsburgh, jazz, network, hall

Drummer Albert ‘Tootie’ Heath Dies at 88

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison Apr 12. 0 Replies

Drummer Albert ‘Tootie’ Heath Dies at 88NEWS, ALBERT “TOOTIE” HEATHBy …Continue

Tags: kenny, network, clarke, music, philadelphia

Beloved actor and activist Louis Gossett Jr. dies at 87

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

Beloved actor and activist Louis Gossett Jr. dies at 87Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National CorrespondentMarch 30, 2024   Louis Gossett Jr., the groundbreaking actor whose career spanned…Continue

Tags: 87, at, pittsburgh, jazz, network

Dr. Ralph Proctor, famed historian, author, professor, passes

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by EVD Mar 12. 6 Replies

Dr. Ralph Proctor, famed historian, author, professor, passesRob Taylor Jr. - Courier Staff WriterFebruary 8, 2024   DR. RALPH PROCTOR PASSED AWAY ON FRIDAY MORNING, FEB. 2, ACCORDING TO HIS SON.In…Continue


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Comment by Michele Bensen on May 21, 2022 at 10:20pm
Like a comet soaring across the sky, Pat Pangikas entered this world on August 16, 1952, and with an even bigger flash, she trailed away to her next journey on May 13, 2022. A long-term resident of Pittsburgh, Pat followed her heart wherever it led, even as far as sneaking to Woodstock at age 17 to see Jimi Hendrix. Pat's heart and unchained spirit eventually led her to meet her husband, Chris, a jazz musician who frequented the Harley Hotel, and they traveled the country together before finally returning to Pittsburgh to start a family. With an unapologetically selfless personality, Pat loved her family fiercely, stood by her friends, and donated her time to her church and others in need. After working for many years with children in various roles from care provider to teacher's aide, Pat retired to a quiet home life where she enjoyed the simple things like gardening, adorning her backyard with wind chimes, gazing at her pond, and scratching off lotto tickets. She spent the winter of her life caring for her sick husband, Chris, never faltering in her commitment no matter what she faced. She loved the color purple, anything that sparkled, cooking for her kids, crime dramas, good books, Motown, and her three precious dogs. She cherished her family, her grandchildren most of all. She was preceded in death by her mother and father; her sister, Kathy; and her husband of nearly 40 years, Chris. She is survived by her daughters Cathy (Steve) Masters; Athena (Michael) Pangikas-Miller; Damaris Pangikas; and Mary (Levi) Goehring and grandchildren, Niko, Eli, and Owen Masters; Ares, Persephone, and Ajax Pangikas-Miller; Brando and Cambria Krist; and Russell and Theodore Goehring. Life in her wake feels like a silent black sky, but we keep the starlight of her memory ablaze in us all. Be kind to one another, be selfless, and always put family first, just like Pat did. At her behest, there will be no viewing or funeral; instead, a celebration of life will be held next month. Her family thanks you for your condolences and prayers. If you'd like to do something in her honor, do a kind deed for someone else, donate to charity, support cancer research, or simply tell someone that you love them. Be present in your life and the lives of others. Be the extraordinary light in this world that Pat was for us. Arrangements by WILLIAM F. GROSS FUNERAL HOME, LTD.
Published on May 20, 2022
Comment by Rev. Dr. Bobby Fulton, Ph.D. on April 12, 2018 at 8:47am

My condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Nathan Davis. We pray you will be comforted and strengthened as you go through your bereavement and recover from your personal loss but Heaven’s gain. I was blessed to have been a student of Dr. Davis and to serve as an Assistant Coordinator, Gospel Segment Performer, Workshop Presenter and Panel Host for the 1975 Annual Pitt Jazz Seminar. Dr. Davis also was a tremendous help to our Music of Pittsburgh record label. He performed and contributed great horn and string arrangements on our Bobby and Bobbie Fulton “Til I Fly Away” Gospel Album featuring the single “Massa’s Grandboy” b/w “How Great Thou Art” released on our Bobby Fulton Enterprises, Inc. label and is still requested by collectors from around the world. Dr. Davis' music and his legacy will live on and not only keep Jazz alive through students and lovers of Jazz but it will inspire, touch and uplift the spirits of all who listen to it and who love great music. Our Thanks to Dr. Davis and Family!!!

Comment by Bob Garvin on January 8, 2018 at 5:20pm

When Mozart was my age, he had been dead for 51 years. I'm glad that I'm merely a rabid jazz fan, not a musician, so no one will be reading my obituary here.

Comment by Melissa Jones on August 26, 2016 at 2:08am

We, sadly, lost renowned audio engineer, Rudy Van Gelder, today, 8/25/2016

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on April 7, 2016 at 4:37am

Comment by Dan Wasson on March 31, 2016 at 11:47pm
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on January 28, 2016 at 11:47pm

Wow, I just saw Frank Greenlee's fb post about drummer Joe Harris passing this morning.    So very sad.   I am so glad that we kept in touch all these years.  Joe treated me like a son and would often come to see my group perform at various art festivals in Pittsburgh. See attached pic of Joe and I performing at the Mellon Jazz Festival.  I spoke to Joe a few months ago and one of the stories he shared with me was about his trip to Cuba with Dizzy Gillespie back in the day.  Joe said they were suppose to have a drum kit setup for him, however, when he got to Cuba, they only had congas, etc., set up for him.  My wife and I send our condolences to Joe's family.

Comment by Don Cerminara on October 28, 2015 at 11:53pm

What a loss!!  I've been in contact with Mark Murphy for the last year or so.  He's been living at the Actors Studio (Home for Show Biz) in New Jersey.  As time went on, one could see that Mark was failing.  Just a couple days ago,  on a call to the actors Home, I was advised Mark had passed away....He wont be easy to replace...there was only one!  The people at the Home couldn't give me any details but, Im in contact with the family and expect to hear from them in due course.

  I met Mark right here in Pgh at Hyholde House...where he was working.   I'd heard and seen him the previous year...but not so "up close".  I made it my business to meet him personally..and have him to my residence.  What a guy...what a vocalist.  Just a gorgeous vibrato and a great resonance...and his handling of a lyric...just so distinct and fraught with emotion (when called for).  I've never heard anyone...interpret a tune like Mark.  He took chances I'd never heard seemed so struggle whatsoever!

  Subsequently, I heard him in person in New York and Syracuse (he came from Malone..a suburb of Syracuse). 

    Truly..I've never heard his equal.  Not commercially successful..but that's the life of most..who are intimately identified with jazz.  A great loss.  I'll report further, as I hear from the family

         Don Cerminara

Comment by Melissa Jones on September 30, 2015 at 2:00am
9/29/2015: We lost Phil Woods today.
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on September 14, 2015 at 9:59pm


Those were precious times and your memories are golden.  I'm sure there are many members who are reveling in them as am I.  Thank you.


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