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 Ricco J.L.Martello on August 30, 2010 at 3:20am
Hey thats Great but I took that great thing to be able be a part of history and its positive history!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Comment by DON EARLY on May 20, 2010 at 12:17am
I am elated to hear that the Grille will be re-opened.I relocated from Homestead many years ago to San Diego because of education and opportunity and I always think about the Grille when I become nostalgic and the great ambiance that it displayed.
Seeing Buzzy standing outside and Mr.Little, a bartender from Homestead who always greeted me.
Seeing Walt , John and Nate and the rest of the group give you a nod just to acknowledging you presence.
Having the honor to see Lee Morgan wearing his ankle high "Comforts" when he was with Blakey. Walking down to Kirkpatrick Street to catch an Owl Cab. That was the Pittsburgh, the Hill, that I knew.

My last visit in 2009 , I renewed my WDUQ membership and had the pleasure to meet Roger and see my friend Nelson. I hope people in Pittsbugh lend support to WDUQ because there aren't many jazz stations left in this country especially if you want to hear Coltrane, Miles, Oscar Peterson or Blakey.

Don "champ" Early
Comment by Donna Bailey on May 13, 2010 at 1:02am
Let me know how I can help, too.
Comment by Phat Man Dee on May 12, 2010 at 4:45pm
Awesome news!
Comment by Mario C. Browne on May 7, 2010 at 12:53am
Jazz and culture still live in Pitsburgh, and we should all be grateful for that. Thank you to the investment group!
Comment by nancy dolan-brady on May 6, 2010 at 5:17pm
how can I help? any volunteers needed on the start up committee? my background is marketing and advertising/PR for blue chip WW agencies in NYC on national clients...
Comment by Dan Wasson on May 6, 2010 at 4:20pm
Comment by The Phoenix Jazz Project on May 6, 2010 at 12:50pm
This is so exciting. I have a good feeling that this will be done correctly!
Comment by nancy dolan-brady on February 9, 2010 at 8:54pm
the C grill was much more than a place... it was a state of mind- an environment for jazz and music in this city... one of a few gems like walts attic and jerry betters crescendo... the kind of place where you never thought to ask who was playing...because it didn't matter...the name on the "marquee" -that wasn't the point ...WHO-EVER it was it was going to be a great jam because the place was filed with family- musicians and fans akin to "cheers" those of us who could walk in freely- i often went alone and felt quite comfortable and welcomed... because the sole purpose of experience was great music and sharing the experience with others who felt the same... and you just never knew... never knew who would show up for the second set- someone playing a concert in town- a member of the symphony- an old pittsburgh legend returned... the highest of high rollers- industry titans- someone from the neighborhood and just me-and others just like me- always a harmonious mix... it was always all about the music - and those of us who cared about the music... unpretentious, warm - welcoming and very, very dearly missed.
Comment by david shane on February 9, 2010 at 1:37pm
... thank you for posting this... our music will never die.... such thinking is disturbing, and music is not about making corporations bigger...(!) ... but a good reminder to all of us to try to continue to bring in new listeners.... I especially love pp. 9 and 10.....looking forward to hearing you again soon.....

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