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
Members: 150
Latest Activity: Aug 31, 2018

Discussion Forum

Make Pittsburgh Great Again

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison May 24, 2018. 0 Replies

Feeling unwelcome, James Street Speakeasy owners to close up

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison. Last reply by Dr. Nelson Harrison Oct 24, 2017. 4 Replies

Comment Wall


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Comment by WOMEN IN JAZZ SOUTH FLORIDA, INC. on September 3, 2008 at 10:14pm
Tune in on Wednesdays for MUSICWOMAN TALK RADIO at Tonight - virtuosa Dotti Anita Taylor's original music will be featured. Dotti will call in for an interview with host Diva JC. You can call in too at 347-677-0782 and hit #1 to talk. To join the chatroom, you must register with the site. Each show is archived for posterity. Listen, love and learn what women are keeping jazz alive and well!

Also, visit
Comment by WOMEN IN JAZZ SOUTH FLORIDA, INC. on September 3, 2008 at 10:10pm
WOMEN IN JAZZ SOUTH FLORIDA, INC. will be 2 years old in March 2009. We have 20 members, 18 founding and 2 regular members. We encourage all of you to become members. WIJSF, INC. promotes women who compose and perform their own music. On October 30 and March 7 we will fulfill a grant from the FRIENDS OF THE AFRICAN AMERICAN RESEARCH LIBRARY AND CULTURAL CENTER to present WOMEN IN JAZZ, a 90-minute presentation that documents the lives of women who sang and performed jazz and blues from Alberta Hunter to Joanne Brackeen. Joan Cartwright, founder of WIJSF, INC. has presented WOMEN IN JAZZ for 12 years to 6,000+ students. - - become a member, today!
Comment by sean jones on September 3, 2008 at 10:00pm

I also agree that the quality of musicianship needs to be at a certain level. It's tough when there is no one policing the quality though. The audience doesn't really police it, the bands don't want to offend anyone, and the owners of clubs are simply looking at numbers. Again, it's up to the musicians to set the level of quality by being on the highest level possible. Roger is definitely the best example of this. He brings 100% percent to the table every single time! We can all learn and aspire to that level of greatness.
Comment by sean jones on September 3, 2008 at 9:56pm
These comments are great. It's great to know that people are thinking about this and wanting change. I can only speak about it from a musicians standpoint and I'm always thinking about what I can do to help the situation. It's interesting to me that Pittsburgh is filled with foundations that support the arts and many musicians don't take the opportunity to use that support. We "musicians" have the opportunity to write new works, submit grant proposals, and come up with a variety of new ideas. If anyone wants the names of these organizations, I'd love to fill them in. They are rarely approached by musicians. They are always approached for education, theatre collaborations, dance etc. Again, I want to make it clear that I'm not knocking the large amount of quality musicians that this area has to offer. I'm simply saying that it's easy to point a finger at a problem (which I guess I'm doing). It's difficult to be the solution. I know it sounds cliche but Ghandi said it best. "Be the Change you wish to see in the world"
Comment by Devorah Segall on September 3, 2008 at 9:43pm
started a blog about this a while ago on my page here..its called,
What happened to the Pgh jazz clubs?
please see the forum on my page
click here
there are some very significant comments there on this subject.
I hope there is a powerful forward movement to renew the live Jazz scene in Pgh and everywhere else too!
It matters.
miss you Pgh
Comment by George Heid on September 3, 2008 at 9:40pm
I agree with you Sean... It seems to me that the problem is three fold. The audience, the clubs and the musicians. ... maybe even five-fold...
1. The majority of audience members aren't educated in many respects (concerning jazz anyway). much hipper and deeper RADIO play could help that immensely. Both here and across the country it's hard for anyone to hear the best of what's called Jazz. This music is as profound as any but there are so few that play jazz on radio that have any idea of what's been done or what's being done.
2. Club owners are not typically willing to invest in live music for the long haul. and there really hasn't been a true Jazz Club in Pittsburgh since the demise of the Chitlin' circuit... that would have been the Crawford Grill, Hurricane Bar and Pittsburgh Musicians' Union Local No. 471... the Balcony and James Street were well run, fine restaurants that gave a home to many soulful players for a couple of decades... and that's about it. Corporate franchises don't have the economic interest to put a good room together for high level jazz music. And the remainder of rooms that put a couple of nights in their weekly calendar so often lack the passion or understanding. They have no clue as to who to call, that just might stir things up on a consistant basis
3. Musicians aren't giving people anything to come see. I hear you Sean on all of what you said in your post... I I think you're so right. I also think it starts with "feeling the music". You play with feeling, intensity and spirit that audiences in turn FEEL. Thursdays at CJ'sI with Roger Humphries is a fine example ... He's been carrying on a weekly musical offering for decades... and there's one consistent thing... Roger, Dwayne, Lou, Max and Jamie or Tony Campbell or you Sean, all play with "story-telling" feeling. Look around, that's what makes the room groove-u-late. There is a "gold standard" that has been given by the masters and those who actively play this music should constantly strive for that. In the end, if you're playing to an audience, tell your story and give that audience something they can soulfully FEEL.
Comment by Morrie Louden on September 3, 2008 at 9:15pm
I mostly agree with Sean jones on his first point. This is really the problem. It all starts at the source. If a club can make money from entertainment, most times it will have entertainment. In order for Jazz to be more of a money maker we need a bigger audience. The problem we have is with our culture... We don't support it! Our government doesn't support it! Most countries are proud of their traditions and creations. And work to keep them alive! We, on the other hand, don't. We've created Jazz and our government doesn't care! If it did, we would have a much bigger budget for school music programs and so we could educate our youth and keep our beautiful Jazz tradition alive. Now, Jazz is more appreciated in Europe than in the states. Why?... Because they appreciate culture even if it's not their own. You see... Jazz is like a fine wine. You have to know something about it to appreciate it. If it goes over your head, you won't understand it and may not like it. Musically uneducated people tend to like Pop music more because that's all they have ever known. And you don't need to know anything about boom ,crack, boom, crack to get you moving. It's in your face. and you're not looking to get anything more from it. You don't know that there is anything deeper that music can offer therefore don't look for it.
That's where are cultural education and government comes in. It's so simple...,The more people we can enlighten, the more audience we will have. Hence, the more live music venues we will have. No two ways about it.
Comment by Jack Bishop on September 3, 2008 at 8:35pm
One of the overarching problems that Pittsburgh is facing is the cultural facelift that it has been undergoing for the past decades.
The demographic base has changed drastically in Pittsburgh from locals who were steeped in the jazz traditions of the city to non-locals who have relocated there for the technology and medical professions. This gradual change in the demographic has finally come home to roost and the reality is most don't care for jazz. Can you believe it?! Therefore, the city investors look right past jazz culture when seeking investments that promise returns. Combine that with the institutionalization of jazz and you have the current condition. Institutionalizing jazz replaces club culture with schools, colleges and universities as the main outlet for young players. BUT, what if you can't go to those institutions? Where do you get the chance to hone your skills? Not on the bandstand that's for sure. Then consider the only places that can afford to showcase jazz are also institutions like, Mellon, PITT, Duquesne, or the MCG. It is very dangerous to allow this institutionalization of jazz, especially in a city with such a vibrant and important jazz history. (BTW: It's happening all over the country).
Comment by Stix Nickson on September 3, 2008 at 8:31pm
Hi Nelson.....thanks for the invite.....I agree with sean jones about musicians not giving people anything to see or hear.... and yes the clubs now have to compete with all other entertainment espesially home entertainment, where alot of this music can be seen and heard via the internet......We musicians must come up with NEW inovative things to see and hear at the clubs....that's when they will start to prosper again.....Also business taxes on clubs need to be eased as these taxes are so great as to not allow a profitable venue...........Stix
Comment by Anthony (Tony) Janflone on September 3, 2008 at 8:13pm
Back in the day, the clubs ere the draw. People went to the venues because they knew every band was going to be a very good one. Today club owners expect us to do that. We have changed with the times "as a business", but they won't. By the way; I agree with Sean about material we play. We must respect each other as individuals. Each uniqueily playing music to the audience--not other musicians. We are the ones who can start the change. Hello to all.
Warmest regards,

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