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
Chris Thomas
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  • Elizabeth, PA
  • United States
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  • Ray Blue
  • Peter Oliver
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  • Darden Purcell
  • Richard G Mansfield
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  • Flo Taylor
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Chris Thomas joined Dr. Nelson Harrison's group


As our musical icons are graduating into the higher realms we want to keep them fresh in our memories.  Please join this group where you can post any obituaries of the ancestors of our tradition for all to read and learn more about them.
Jul 28, 2011
Jessica Lee and Chris Thomas are now friends
Feb 6, 2011
Chris Thomas and Dr. Martin E. Rosenberg are now friends
Jul 7, 2009
Chris Thomas and The Tuesday Night Big Band are now friends
Jul 3, 2009
Chris Thomas is now friends with Eric Johnson, Luther DeJarunett and Marva Josie
Jun 19, 2009
Chris Thomas left a comment for Dr. Nelson Harrison
"Thanks Doc for the shout out. I appreciate it! Take care, Chris"
Jun 19, 2009
Chris Thomas is now friends with Anthony (Tony) Janflone, Jake Werkmeister and LARRY MCGEE
Jun 18, 2009
Chris Thomas was featured
Jun 17, 2009
Dr. Nelson Harrison left a comment for Chris Thomas
"Welcome Chris, Thank you for sharing your outstanding craftsmanship with us. Your guitar sounds great. Please help us continue to celebrate our ancestors like Randy by sharing your memories and artifacts. they will continue to be with us on this…"
Jun 17, 2009
Ray Blue left a comment for Chris Thomas
"My pleasure Chris. How are things?"
Jun 16, 2009
Chris Thomas left a comment for Ray Blue
"Hi Ray. Nice to meet you. Thanks for adding me. Chris"
Jun 16, 2009
Chris Thomas and Ray Blue are now friends
Jun 16, 2009
Chris Thomas updated their profile
Jun 14, 2009
Chris Thomas left a comment for Peter Oliver
"Peter, Pleased to meet you here. I saw your youtube page. Considering you've got Tommy Emanuel and Andreas Oberg videos listed on the front page, I'll take your compliment of my playing VERY seriously. You've got great taste! Oberg…"
Jun 14, 2009
Chris Thomas and Peter Oliver are now friends
Jun 14, 2009
Chris Thomas posted a photo
Jun 8, 2009

Profile Information

Pittsburgh Connection
Lived here all my life. Turned down alot of opportunities to leave. I'm a Pittsburgh guy all the way.
Favorite Pittsburgh musicians/performers
Too many to name but I will say I studied with Kenny Karsh for 5 years.
Favorite Pittsburgh Jazz Venue
The Balcony was the best. RIP
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Comment Wall (4 comments)

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At 9:51am on June 18, 2009, Flo Taylor said…
Hi Chris, Any friend of Nelson, Larry McGee and Dwayne Dolphin and is a die-hard Pittsburgh 'home boy' and is another guitar-player like my buddy, Luther Dejarunet.... is a friend of mine! I'm listening to Misty now...
At 6:50am on June 17, 2009, Dr. Nelson Harrison said…
Welcome Chris,

Thank you for sharing your outstanding craftsmanship with us. Your guitar sounds great. Please help us continue to celebrate our ancestors like Randy by sharing your memories and artifacts. they will continue to be with us on this network as long as we are here.
At 3:02pm on June 16, 2009, Ray Blue said…
My pleasure Chris. How are things?
At 5:02am on May 28, 2009, Darden Purcell said…
Hey Chris!
It was very nice meeting you as well. I wish the circumstances had been different, but what can you do. It was so nice to meet friends of Shawn!
The radio show will unfortunately not be archived. It is only a "live" streaming broadcast. Bummer, I know. I think we are going to try to record it somehow. Will let you know if it works.
Best, Darden
I would love to hear your recordings with Randy at some point. :)




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