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

The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission and the African American Jazz Preservation Society of Pittsburgh (AAJPSP) will honor the legacy of Pittsburgh jazz musicians with the installation of a historical marker in honor of African American Musicians Local 471 of the American Federation of Musicians, a fitting tribute and memoir to the rich musical history that was a part of the Hill District.

Notable members of Local 471 included Mary Lou Williams, Erroll Garner, Art Blakey, Stanley Turrentine, Billy Strayhorn, Ray Brown and Ahmad Jamal. They were part of a distinguished group of players who went on to become international performers, great influences on the development of jazz throughout the latter part of the 20th century. These musicians and the union’s venue, the Musicians Club, were at the heart of a rich culture that developed in the lower Hill District. As ambassadors to a uniquely American art form and as noted figures of the Hill District, it is only fitting that the rich history and the musical gifts they bestowed on our community be commemorated with a memorial honoring their contributions.

The installation ceremony will also honor recently deceased AAJPSP president, Charles “Chuck” Austin and will take place at 11:30am on Saturday, June 23, 2012 near the former location of the Musicians Club, the union’s venue, on Crawford Street between Wylie and Webster Avenues in the Hill District. Ceremony speakers include George Clewer, President of Local 60/471 American Federation of Musicians; R. Danielle Lavelle, Pittsburgh City Council; Rosemary Trump, President, Pennsylvania Labor Historical Society; and Warren Watson, Judge, Court of Common Pleas (retired) & former Local 471 member. A reception and two panel discussions, The 471 Experience: Dialogue and Oral Historyand Black Musicians Unions: Moving the Legacy Forward follow immediately afterwards at 1pm in the Hillman Auditorium at the Hill House Association. On Friday, June 22, keynote speaker, producer and writer Willard Jenkins, will moderate a panel, Segregated Musicians’ Unions: Significance, Survival and Impact, at 7pm at The Big Room at the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council located at 810 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.

The African American Jazz Preservation Society of Pittsburgh is an outgrowth of the realization that a great deal of the rich cultural contributions made in the field of jazz originated from musicians who were born, raised, are living or have lived in Pittsburgh. AAJPSP is dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and dissemination of the history and accomplishments of Local 471 and jazz and blues musicians from Pittsburgh. AAJPSP seeks to present programming that creates an appreciation for the African American contribution to America’s original art form by exploring the artistry, personal stories and experiences of the musicians who helped develop the jazz scene.

The panel discussions and ceremony are free of charge and open to the general public. For more information about this program, please contact AAJPSP at 412.867.1721 or Harry Clark, Ph.D. at 412.389.2264.

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