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
Don Cerminara
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Don Cerminara added a discussion to the group what happened to jazz songwriting

Just give us the "pedestrian" time for JAZZ

What happened to jazz...specifically.."jazz writing"?  Fairly simple!  Jazz requires a fairly intelligent audience.  You've got to LISTEN!  The guys playin it were regards...chord changes..intricate interpretation of the tune.  And...lots of heart!  If you listen to whats bein' played're gonna hear 3-4 chord changes, very little in the way of lyrics, and what they pass off as lyrics, cant be understood anyway!  As Buddy Rich used to say...Who?  Chet Atkins?  Answer? …See More
Oct 2
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what happened to jazz songwriting

I write songs in the traditional jazz form (AABA structures, melodies that emphasize the sixth and the ninth, strict rhyming schemes etc.) and was hoping there might be others out here who are interested in the same.  My goal is to find other like-minded composers arrangers and songwriters who also sing, harmonize, and perform. I am looking to put together a recording project of my own songs (and others hopefully) combined with some of the best-kept secret vocalists in Pittsburgh. Some…See More
Oct 2
Don Cerminara replied to Dr. Nelson Harrison's discussion RANDY WESTON, PIANIST WHO TRACED AFRICA IN JAZZ, DIES AT 92 in the group OBITUARIES
"The pics...its always the pics of the Gril that just take hold.  IThey bring me back to "THE HILL"...AND THE DAYS OF MY YOUTH.  The street where I lived..Congress St; my wife's digs, just up the street from The Rhumba…"
Sep 2
Don Cerminara liked Dr. Nelson Harrison's discussion RANDY WESTON, PIANIST WHO TRACED AFRICA IN JAZZ, DIES AT 92
Sep 2
Don Cerminara is attending Dr. Nelson Harrison's event

Ronnie Jones Live @ Muddy Waters Oyster Bar..featuring Dr. Nelson Harrison at 130 Highland Ave Pittsburgh, Pa 15206

January 19, 2018 at 9pm to January 20, 2018 at 12am
Hardbop, Bebop, Miles Ballads, great American songbookEnjoy tasty jazz while you tantalize your taste buds.See More
Jan 20

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About Me:
Grew up on Congress st & Wylie ave...Spent many an hour at Crawford grill (starting at age 14)...studied with Max Adkins (theory) Have seen and heard many many big time be=boppers. Pride myself with having great "ears". Love to sing...preferably ballads(Sinatra School), and Jazz flavoured tunes. just love bein' "backed up", by guys not afraid to imp, and off the wall chord tructures. Its a challenge I so appreciate, playin with great side-men. thats where it all begins for me...the musicians!

Don Cerminara's Blog

jazz in Pgh and failure of news media to offer coverage

Posted on May 9, 2011 at 1:29pm 3 Comments

I visited the August Wilson culture centre last nite and caught Grady Tate.  He scatted his can off.  A consumate musician. 

Impressions? (personal)...Humphries on tubs was his usual driving, tasty percussionist.  The best in town.  Paul Thompson really blew.  I mean, fine changes, great time and...lots of heart.  A quality all too absent today.  Blake on Alto was solid.  He's dependable...usually brings "something to the table"  The lady from N Y C, on piano, did a creditable job. …


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At 11:30pm on May 2, 2013, Dr. Nelson Harrison said…

This is a mistake, Mark Murphy says. And by his crisp, lively voice, and the fact that he's resumed touring at age 79, and that his mind and spiky sense of humor seem quite intact, that does indeed seem to be the case.

Murphy is living in a small room in the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, N.J. It is an assisted living facility for entertainers, although not famous ones. Vaudeville performers have spent their final years here, and Jazz Age comedy teams like Smith & Dale. "Doctor, it hurts when I do this," Smith says. "Well, don't do that," Dale replies.

Murphy? He has been a critic's darling for years, a premier jazz singer riding the same vocalese edge as the team of Hendricks, Lambert & Ross. Or today's wildly inventive scat-singing Kurt Elling, who calls Murphy his inspiration. With his first record, 1956's Meet Mark Murphy, he was being positioned to challenge Frank Sinatra and Mel Tormé. He was that good.
But, you know what? A different filament runs through Murphy's head. He hears things differently. Over the years, he swings from lounge to wildly re-worked Nat King Cole standards, to bop, to Brazilian, to readings from Jack Kerouac. He's covered The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" and Johnny Cash's "So Doggone Lonesome." Why? "Why not?" Murphy harrumphs. On his most-recent album in 2007, he did Coldplay's "What If?"

Why not? "Most of my records are a little too mind-blowing for people who don't know about jazz, or don't read Kerouac," he says. "It's a little more advanced."

He's a hipster with a remarkable voice, and a cosmic sensibility. "Jazz really teaches you how to improvise your life," he says. "One door closes, you open another one. I'm a big fan of opening doors."

And now, for the past 1½ years he finds himself in this little room in the Actors Home, at the insistence of relatives who insisted he sell his Central New York home on the Lake Ontario shore because they thought he was losing it. And yes, Murphy admits, he was.

"I was misdiagnosed as Alzheimer's," he says. "So I sold my house to my nephew because they thought I was no longer able to run a house anymore. Some idiot doctor in upstate New York gave me the wrong medicine, and I kind of flipped out for a few months there. I even put myself into a hospital for a while." So he wants outta the home. He recently toured Florida, and now has a few gigs in New York, including Friday at the Harro East Ballroom at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival.


At 11:24pm on May 2, 2013, Dr. Nelson Harrison said…

Thanks for sending me this message Don:  "Mark Murphy one of my true favorites, is in an actors home...he's "gone" man.  Not a damned friend from show bus keeps in touch or sends him anything.  The guy didn't even have any music to listen to.  Not even a player.  I bought him just a basic player...made him a doz discs...and he listens today!  Some people forget all too easily!!   Later, Donny

At 3:28am on December 3, 2009, David Panaggio said…
please add me as your new friend
At 12:08am on February 27, 2009, Jerry Butler said…
I would love to feature "you" as my guest on my show..If I am not your friend..please add me...also please call me @ the offc at 757 538 3540...757 971 3733 for on the banner below to be a guest...JB \uaa href="">
At 3:56am on February 8, 2008, Dr. Nelson Harrison said…

Check out my page and add some friends. there are photos coming in from many.
At 3:42am on February 8, 2008, Dr. Nelson Harrison said…
Now THAT'S what I'm talking about!!!!





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