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




Your voices have been heard and the Grill will soon reopen. It's important to keep the buzz going to encourage the investors who are taking the risk to save and restore her. Thank you.

Location: 2141 Wylie Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Members: 104
Latest Activity: Aug 22, 2020

Jessica Lee on the Crawford Grill Renovation from Little Red Media on Vimeo.

Crawford Grill purchased...Franco Harris part of investment group
Written by Christian Morrow - Courier Staff Writer
Wednesday, 14 April 2010 11:25

Standing on the corner of Wylie Avenue and Elmore Street in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, Franco Harris looks across the street at the names of jazz legends etched on the Legacy senior building—Billy Eckstine, Erroll Garner, Earl “Fatha” Hines—and starts nodding his head.

—Members of the group that bought the Crawford Grill in February include, from left: Robert Meeder, Greg Spencer, Jules Matthews, Victor Rogue, Dwight Mayo, Franco Harris and William Generett.

“This is a good corner,” the Hall-of-Famer said. “You stand here and your head just starts bopping up and down. This is such a historic site that the preservation and history of it has to live on. So the question is, how do we do that? Well, the first step is to buy this building—so we did.”

The building Harris is referring to is the Crawford Grill, a Hill mecca for jazz that closed in 2003. He is among a group of four private investors and three nonprofits that purchased the property in February. The others include Randall Industries founder Greg Spencer, Transportation Solutions owner Dwight Mayo, former Fisher Scientific CEO Bill Recker; Pittsburgh Gateways, The Keystone Innovation Zone and The Hill House Economic Development Corp.

The group plans to restore and preserve the building’s interior space as it was in its heyday and to expand into a vacant lot next door—which the group is currently closing on—with new restaurant and nightclub space. There are also plans for an educational component that would convert the current building’s upper floors to studio, workshop, educational and meeting space, so the Hill District’s jazz legacy can be passed on.

“We had all these talented people who came from Pittsburgh like Ahmad Jamal, who I just saw at the first ever National Jazz Day concert here,” said Harris. “And though they went elsewhere to pursue their careers, they always came back and they were great ambassadors for Pittsburgh. Can we capture how things were and how they evolved? It will be hard, but we’ll try to preserve that feel as closely as possible.”

Pittsburgh Gateways President Robert Meeder said the nonprofits got involved to assist with development issues and will have no part in the eventual operation.

“We as a group are looking to bring back the Grill without compromise. The nonprofits would establish a music-programming theme. So we’re looking at preserving the legacy and establishing an entertainment venue,” he said. “I mean, nonprofits can’t own bars, but we’re involved because we thought if we didn’t do something, it might be turned into a butcher’s shop or torn down completely.”

Spencer said the group is probably a year away from beginning restoration work, and they are still ironing out design ideas.

“It’s a diverse group of investors, and there are diverse perspectives on what to do,” he said. “If it was up to me you’d go in the same door you always did, with the bar on the right and the stage where it was and have an arch into the new space.

“We want to keep as much of what the old Grill was as possible—jazz, a bar with lunch or dinner fare. To me, the more we can talk about it, the more we can get some of the folks who were part of it years ago to give us some insight into it.”

Victor Rogue, Hill House Association interim president and CEO, said the association became a partner because it is interested in restoring vitality of the entire Hill District and the Crawford Grill is part of that vitality.

“When I first came to town 15 years ago, this was the first place I stopped. We want to see the Hill come back as a prime area for housing and commerce,” he said. “This project attracted us because of its history. The history of the Grill is the history of the Hill.”

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Discussion Forum

Crawford Grill #2

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison May 8, 2017. 0 Replies

The Crawford Grill - 2008

Started by Dr. Nelson Harrison Jul 19, 2015. 0 Replies

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of CRAWFORD GRILL PURCHASED BY LOCAL INVESTORS to add comments!

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on August 22, 2020 at 11:52pm
The Crawford Grill No. 2 was formally added to the National Register yesterday.
Thanks again for your input and support. These projects are always improved through the diverse range of expertise and insights like that which you all so generously contributed.
Jeff Slack, AICP
Founder and Principal
Time & Place, LLC
Preservation Services
Comment by Ben on September 25, 2011 at 10:14am
The Grill will always be in my heart....I saw and heard Max Roach chewing out his band members for not playing from the heart and not producing worthy content.....they got down after that.....Very important to know the difference between soul, feeling, and just indifferent performing.......Loved the whole scene there....Franco Harris is a delight to be associated with this scene......thank you all  my pleasure .....  Ben Tolly
Comment by Jessica Lee on July 14, 2011 at 5:59pm
Comment by WaltSimsJr on February 25, 2011 at 8:01pm

Your voices have been heard and the Grill will soon reopen. It's important to keep the buzz going to encourage the investors who are taking the~ risk~ to save and restore her. Thank you.


Comment by nancy dolan-brady on February 18, 2011 at 2:58pm
I have asked before- and want to know what can I do to get involved and help make this go from on paper to reality- I am willing to sept up and volunteer my marketing talents if someone would tell me- put me in touch with the leaders on this project ...
Comment by WaltSimsJr on February 18, 2011 at 2:43am
Ricco, Good article on Roy Ayers & Tom Brown. I sent a copy to Roy for his personal files.
Comment by WaltSimsJr on February 18, 2011 at 2:36am
I haven't been on Wylie in a very long time. Does anyone know if the art piece "Sunburst" is still over the parking lot entrance?
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on February 18, 2011 at 1:26am
Comment by Ricco J.L.Martello on October 9, 2010 at 12:09am
Hey check out the story I wrote on Roy Ayers and Tom Brown
Comment by WaltSimsJr on September 17, 2010 at 12:28am
I grew up in the Crawford Grill #2 and know every nook and cranny. There is no one alive who could possibly know the intricate details of the Grill the way I do. Were something to be out of place, I would immediately recognize the difference. Should you really like to restore it to it's 2141 location heyday, contact me. I would be overjoyed to be a part of it's renewed success.

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