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
selena brookins
  • 71, Female
  • East Pittsburgh, PA
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About Me:
im the aunt of derrick finch, my nephew, my brothers son. they're together now both great people. I'm mostly a homebody when im not working at the hospital. never play an instrument, but always listen to all that jazz. I don't have a website as of yet. hopefully soon. pgh. my home and pgh is where i'll be. however far you go in life, there's no place like home.
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At 11:49pm on March 28, 2009, Sonja Abate said…
Dear Selena,

Tomorrow, Sunday, March 29th, my son, Ray Black and I will travel up to USC in LA to attend a memorial service for your nephew, Derrick. I am so looking forward to meeting his friends and perhaps his mother and girlfriend, whom I hear may be there. If are coming, I will have the pleasure of meeting you as well.

My son has been in touch with a wonderful man who played with Derrick in a trio in the LA area and who has kept us posted on the events surrounding the memorial.

I suppose you have already heard about Derrick's cat being returned to Pittsburgh after having been found in his car at the scene of the accident. Cats truly do have nine lives! She escaped with only a couple of chipped teeth! I often wonder if the cat may have caused him to be distracted.

At 8:12pm on March 23, 2009, Sonja Abate said…
Dear Selena,

Yes, you see suffering everyday working in a hospital. I can't tell you how wonderful all the nurses, doctors, CNAa and others were to us while Rhonda was hospitalized. We will never forget their kindnesses.

One day when Rhonda was particularly depressed and didn't want to talk to anyone, several of the RNs went down to the gift shop and bought 7 little stuffed animals, each with a goofy expression on their faces, along with a little book about sunshine and gave to her. What a difference that act of kindness made to her. We all thought that was so very special of them to do.

Yes, you do make a difference in patient's lifes, just as Rhonda did when she worked at Eisenhower Hosp., nursing patients back to health. She feels as you do, it is the little things that make a big difference. She has always made a difference in those she touched and will so again...just a matter of time.

My very best to you and your family. I will try to keep in touch even though my time is very limited. I would like to talk with you if you can email me your phone number on on a personal matter, regarding Derrick's personal items. I want to make sure his family gets all his things back that were in his car at the time of the accident. Some of his items were thrown into Rhonda's car when the police were cleaning up the freeway.

Sonja Abate
At 4:47pm on March 22, 2009, Sonja Abate said…
Dear Selena,

Please accept our family's deepest sympathy for your great loss. This has been such a difficult time for all of us and as a mother, I understand Derrick's mother's grief. Please let her know her family is in our prayers as well.

Rhonda suffered a terrible setback two days after she got home on the 6th of March. We had to take her back to the Emergency room at Desert Regional Hospital in Palm Springs where they discovered many blood clots had entered her lungs. Pulmonary emboli is very serious as you probably well know, working in a hospital. After another 10 days in ICU, she is back home again and is slowly taking baby steps to recovery. Playing nurse is a 24 hour job but we are both holding up and it is such a wonder to see her body gaining strength every day. I am waiting for the day when she can get to her computer and hear Derrick's music as I know she will love it as much as I do.

I don't get on this computer often so if days go by without hearing from me, you will know why. My time is very limited but a welcomed respite to read all of your comments.

At 9:53pm on March 3, 2009, Dr. Nelson Harrison said…
Thanks Selena. Will do.
At 5:51pm on February 25, 2009, Lorraine said…
I'm sorry to hear that. We never know why things happen the way they do. Well if I get any word from my people in Pittsburgh I will leave a message for you if you would like.
At 6:40am on February 24, 2009, Luther DeJarunett said…
Hi Selena! I'm glad that me, and my music were able to help your mood. Thanks for being a friend. Have a great week!
At 7:02pm on February 23, 2009, Lorraine said…
Ms. Brooks,

I'm so sorry for your loss. Derrick was one of my good friends from school. We went all the way through high school together. He was one of my hanging buddies back then. Great memories we had in band and just hanging out with our friends!!!! I hadn't seen Derrick in years, I had moved out of Pittsburgh, but Derrick would keep in touch with my parents when he went home. This is one of things where it's just unbelieveable. He'll be greatly missed. I was wondering about his arrangements, if not too much can you let me know when and where they are laying him out. Thank you.
At 12:06am on February 23, 2009, tim max said…
HELLO !!!!!!!!!!
At 10:27pm on February 21, 2009, Dr. Nelson Harrison said…
Welcome Selena,

We are so happy to have you as a member and a representative of Derrick Finch's family. We are so devastated by his passing and now we are dedicated to keeping his spirit alive on this network for all to experience. You now have a page where you can post pictures and sounds and we promise to share them with the world. the feed back you get on these pages will help be an ongoing comfort to the family. Peace & blessings to you and your family.



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