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

Save the Music Program at Westinghouse High School


Save the Music Program at Westinghouse High School

Ok, we have 41 members and it is almost January. Can we find one day to have a planning meeting- I could use four volunteers to lead a panel discussion on the future of music at Westinghouse and in Pittsburgh in general. Please reply with input soon!

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Members: 64
Latest Activity: May 16, 2016

Discussion Forum

Update on the Music Program at Westinghouse

Started by Maryellen Hayden Aug 26, 2009. 0 Replies

Westinghouse Music Program

Started by Maryellen Hayden. Last reply by Richard King Aug 25, 2009. 1 Reply

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Save the Music Program at Westinghouse High School to add comments!

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on January 7, 2010 at 1:55am
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on January 7, 2010 at 1:54am
Comment by Michael Sciomacco on November 17, 2009 at 8:25pm
We have plenty of instruments in the Pgh schools and a repairman who is fantastic ! If there may be an instrument to be donated it can be gone over by our in house repairman ! All these posting are great, BUT the right people in the school district need to be contacted. Right now, we do not have a music supervisor, but we do have a music teacher who is over seeing music department activities.
Comment by CWR (Fan of Culture) on November 17, 2009 at 8:16pm
Man, Frank, that is a great idea. Maybe work with a local music store to donate the repairs needed. I know I have seen hundreds of instruments stored away for given to junk stores(my favorite haunt.)

A little love and a little pride is all it takes.
Comment by Frank B. Greenlee on November 17, 2009 at 6:49pm
I had written that many folks have instruments sitting in attics, closets, under beds and in corners. Why not have a 'Take an old instrument out for a walk.', at some venue so they can be played and/or donated to a worthy cause like the Westinghouse Music Program". It might be fun too.
Comment by Kevin Hurst, Sr. on September 12, 2009 at 2:53am
All too often parents wait to when their kids lose interest to talk to those who have played for a while. A 40-something who admitted his 'credit was so bad he could not finance a $500 trombone' rented one and his son played 3 weeks. I asked him name a bone player who gets paid to do it.He could not name one! I told him the guy who played with James Brown is name Fred Wesley. Nathan Davis came to Pgh. because he was asked by jazz musicians in Europe to teach jazz history. He choose Pgh. because of its legacy and Kenny Clarke whom he played with over there. In his class he has a section on Pgh. artists, maybe this should be taught to all in the schools BEFORE they consider playing. Harold betters, Roger Humpries, etc. are still kickin' and attest to that excellence. Just like when our coach of the Steelers said they wanted to live up to the legacy of the 'city of champions' in football.- kev
Comment by CWR (Fan of Culture) on September 10, 2009 at 4:58am
Not backwards Ben, but maybe wrong ~wards.
Comment by Sky on September 10, 2009 at 1:44am
I think you're right, Kevin. It all boils down to priorities, doesn't it?

When I was a kid, I wanted to play in the school band real bad. My mother was playing music in a band on the weekends. She played guitar and sang. I wanted to play a brass instrument--mostly sax, but my parents couldn't fit it in the budget. I wanted to play piano since before I was 5, but a piano wasn't in the budget either. Since we had guitars scattered around the house, I learned to play guitar instead. I'd still love to learn to play piano and sax, but I'm still playing guitar. With 6 kids, it really ISN'T in the budget for me. My 3 older girls (who have graduated high school and live on their own) were all in band tho--one plays flute, one plays clarinet, and yes, one plays sax. I've got 3 more at home still, and I'm trying to encourage them to play. I'll find a way to fit their instruments and lessons in the budget. Its worth it.
Comment by Kevin Hurst, Sr. on September 10, 2009 at 1:00am
I guess young folks today have so many things they can do on their own i.e. video games etc.. We forget before cable TV( Pgh. area probably had it before smaller towns), etc. young folks practiced instruments. In sports after practice one went home but in band you have to practice individually. Video games bring kids together after they want to learn how to play better but band is more interactive. Instruments were always expensive but the instruction was more the big ticket item and were not equal. It is sad music has to compete with so many things. Parents are the key as they should expose their youth to a variety of things without bias towards any one thing. Jazz, blues, gospel etc. is America's thing and should be taught that to the youth. No one should have to 'give up' anything yet a comparison can be made to how much a case of beer, sport utility vehicle, pair of sneakers etc. cost to an instrument and lessons cost. Why expect youth to want to play music when they listen to music that has no horns, maybe a drum machine, or sequenced phrases. Band is just academic and not functional in their everyday lives. Working class folks spend on what they want, 5 years of $100 sneakers would buy an instrument a child might play 3 yrs and you have a constructive activity, you got your money back if you did not have to pay for lessons. Anything longer is a blessing!
Comment by Sky on September 4, 2009 at 11:21am
Wow. Tragic really.
Support for band really starts early. Here in NE Ohio, the kids start learning to play recorders in 3rd grade Music class. They have a "concert" at the end of the year each year. This contiues until 5th grade, when they can start playing in band. I think the early involvement is most important to foster support for band at a high school level.

Next, the cost of instruments is a big problem for alot of working-class parents. If your school could somehow contact a local musical instrument dealer or music store and offer some discounts for the school, it also may help.
There are some schools who purchase lightly-used instruments and do rentals themselves.

Another thing about band--even tho there are only a few members, maybe talk to band instructors at neighboring schools and see if you can "borrow" the necessary pieces and players to perform in all the local parades until enrollment is up again. Maybe do a "trade-off" with them.

My older kids were part of the Revere Marching Band--one who had an "excellent" rating and placed nationally.
One daughter played flute/piccalo and the other played clarinet.

Music is absolutely essential for many kids. It helps them to become better-rounded adults and stimulates abstract thinking skills. I wish you the utmost luck in keeping your program together. I hope some of these ideas may help.

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