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




What is happening to live music venues locally and nationally and why? Are live musicians an endangered species or will we stand up and fight back? Weigh in!

Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Latest Activity: Aug 31, 2018

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Make Pittsburgh Great Again

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Feeling unwelcome, James Street Speakeasy owners to close up

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Comment Wall


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Comment by Kevin Hurst, Sr. on September 7, 2008 at 4:50am
When I was younger in the 60s playing an instrument was something special even as beginners. There were no video games but pin ball etc. Cable TV came in late 60s, color was affordable! Experts say music programs became watered down since the 50s. It seems Americans fought 2 wars in Europe and they told the soldiers classical was not their music. In an effort to find 'american' there was a dixieland revival after WWII. Blacks were not into it any more and it seemed to fill in for awhile. In the 70s is really when the modern recording/playback technology caught up with the quality of American 20th century music. Peoples' ears became corrupted by thinking records, then tapes, then CDs were actually music. When I was young if there was a dance with a band it would be packed, more than a dance with records because only radio DJs had quality systems. In '74 our funk band had dances with our PA system in a small speakeasy VFW and made money because there no overhead! I played at a place outside Baltimore in the early 90s named Mariahs where they did live music and you could play anything jazz because the DJs spun hip-hop and rap on the breaks. I was @ 35 yrs. old and the clientele was 30 and up.On a local level your local musicians should be the backbone of the music venues and all deserving acts should be heard. In the past bebop was created during the war, swing during the depression, rationing, power outtages ,racism that is less today. It seem a couple of people control the better gigs or when there are a lot of venues in an area a musician should try them all e.g.PennState. Egos and greed seem to prevail and people get used to the same sounds when some artists give gigs to their 'friends' whom play the same thing. If you look back there was more sharing and clubs should be owed by artists or listeners. Not every one could digest Thelonius Monk but Coleman Hawkins made sure he was heard. On the pop/ rock side it is an age and generational thing where if people did not go to church or had good school choirs or bands they did not hear Live music. There were a lot of bands in Harrisburg when I grew up and when I went to PITT in the 70s . I even played in one that played the Black Magic on Centre Ave and some bar on the Northside . Live music seems to come and go but there has to be a commitment, of course the biggest reason is economics.
Comment by Muddy Kreek Blues Band on September 6, 2008 at 1:35pm
It may be a number of things that cause this effect as one other comment mention's its poor radio or no radio, then its the lack of knowledge of who's doing what and where? I have been to other markets that don't have this problem at all, but they also have a number of radio sations that play jazz ,blues, and reggae. At our venue that we play weekly is up and down and very unpredictable, But we offer a chance for young talent and old talent to come in and play and sing with us or alone. This gives other folks who don't have a stage a chance to preform and meet other forms its working we are gaining a following and meeting other musicians who get a chance to show what they can do. I think internet radio may work here in Pittsburgh for the time being.
Comment by Perry Bergman on September 5, 2008 at 4:22pm
This is definitely a step in the wrong direction. Pretty soon everything will be virtual reality.


Perry Bergman
Comment by Kira Gray on September 4, 2008 at 8:22pm
Fight back? Of course we'll fight back! If you had a cure for Ebola virus wouldn't you fight back until people started to listen? If people or owners don't know that live music is healing, exciting, that live music is part of the cure to save us all from becoming consumer robots then we just have to keep trying. To keep it to ourselves would be plain selfish. After all that healing maybe some of us could come up with ideas to create more playing venues...hmmm
Comment by Vincent Anthony Scruci on September 4, 2008 at 7:39pm
Coments well taken,Im in South Fla.for a year and a hlf,soon to be back in the Burgh for good.Nothin here as far as a music scene,everybody playin along with tracks,what a joke.We as a musical community have to get back to basics and create more live playing situations.I know it's hard with money and all but we need to unite and let the music speak and people will listen.I'm returning to Pit,with my B-3 and stuff and will be comin to play. wherever Weve got to let history repeat,make things like they used to be,live entertainment everywhere,sounds like a dream,but dreams come true.
Comment by Kira Gray on September 4, 2008 at 2:56pm
In the age of short attention spans and long working hours, it is not surprising that live venues are hurting. People went out and danced to swing bands before there was TV to watch. To know jazz is to love jazz but it takes time to learn about jazz and it takes real energy to get off the couch and go out after working 12 hours.
Live jazz has the best chance of success in today's world when linked to our most basic needs, desires, longings, ie. intimacy, connection, creativity, fun. To that end, jazz venues should experiment with links to activities and social groups that meet those basic human needs. More thoughts on this later. .. Just remember I was the person who thought cell phones would never sell because what did people have to talk about that couldn't wait?
P.S. If you thought this comment was long and boring then you know the uphill battle live jazz is facing.
Comment by Jibril Abdul-hafeez on September 4, 2008 at 2:50am
Greetings fellow jazz lovers,

Just returned from Motown during the Labor Day Weekend where there was music on all cylinders. Forgive the boring details as I make mention of the honorable lineup of artists that performed at the 2008 Detroit International Jazz Festival that has been hosting this venue free for thirty (30) years.

Christian McBride, Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, Barry Harris Trio w/Rodney Whitaker, & Lewis Nash, The Heath Bros. Quartet, Slide Hampton, James Moody, Dianne Reeves, Thad Jones w/Jon Faddis, Les McCann, Sean Dobbins & the Jazz Messengers, Ravi Coltrane w/Charlie Haden, Jack DeJohnette, Geri Allen & Brandee Younger, Kenny Garrett Quartet, Gerald Wilson w/Kenny Burrell vs.Count Basie Orchestra w/Nnenna Freelon, Pat Martino, Benny Golson Quartet, Roy Hargrove Quintet, Stanley Jordan Trio, Randy Brecker and many more...

Needless to say, if we appreciate this noble art form as I am sure we do; we should do all we can to assemble this calibre of talent at a venue under the name "Jazz at the Point" We have the perfect place to showcase our city while building a national tourist attraction that would bring millions of dollars into our fledging economy. "YES WE CAN!!!"
Comment by Frank B. Greenlee on September 3, 2008 at 10:56pm
All that has been said by you all, is true. There is no one answer to solve the problem. Live venues need patrons, but the patron population is shrinking.

We must grow an audience to fill any venue, how do you do that when you have hardly any sites to hear new inovators to stimulate new recruits to jazz and refresh old lovers of the music. You need more than one Radio Jazz outlet to provide a broad spectrum of jazz, when there is only one, you get only a narrow slice of the pie.

There are some musicians who give lackluster performances and get p****d when they're not given praise for their performance. Let's be real, if it is a free concert or a paid concert the quality should be the best. Remember if that bad performance is someones only knowledge of how you play they will not go where you are in the future.
Comment by SOUTHSIDE JERRY MELLIX on September 3, 2008 at 10:24pm
I find that venues for performers of all of the music genres, not just Jazz players, are in peril. Pittsburgh is not the only city with this problem.
I just got back from Las Vegas and even there, you will find very few live bands playing on the strip, in the lounges anymore. I would have thought venues there would be the one place live music would stll be the norm. Instead I found very few lounge bands performing. I saw a few folks singing to tracks. I didn't dig it but God bless them if they can find a gig that way, that pays. I do have a bitch about DJ's who think they are entertainers, there are a lot of them there. And they are strongly supported!
I agree with Sean about how we, the performer have to give the public something to look forward to seeing as well as hearing. It aslo is the sign of the times......the economy is bad. It has become too costly for many folks to come out of their safe, comfortable and well equipt entertainment centered homes; and go to see a player that is on some stage blowin' his or her "arse" off and entertaining..... only himself!
I'm a firm believer that no matter what genre of music you perform, no matter how many chords you know and no matter what school you graduated from, this music business is a business; you gotta know that. And you have to be an entertainer and entertaining too!
Comment by sean jones on September 3, 2008 at 10:18pm

I agree with what you are saying. However, as I'm sure you know, every situation has difficulties that are unique to it. In Sounthern Cali the economic situation cannot possibly be as depressed as it is in Pittsburgh. No making excuses for people but Pittsburgh, over the past 30 years, has gone through tremendous economic difficulty. As we both know, southern California isn't a place that's full of lower middle class folks. I know they are there. I'm simply saying that where you are lacking in land due to zoning, we are lacking in funds. Your right though. Not an excuse.

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