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

Melissa Jones's Blog (23)


Today, April 29, 2017 is Duke Ellington 118th birthday. Phil Schaap will be presenting Duke's recordings from the STRAYHORN, Blanton, Webster period. He is sure to mention Billy Strayhorn's Pittsburgh roots. He will broadcast from 4-9 PM ET (Saturday, April 29). 

Tune in to : for 24 hours of Duke Ellington's music!

Added by Melissa Jones on April 29, 2017 at 5:44pm — No Comments

Young Ray Brown

"When the Count Basie orchestra came north from Kansas City in the fall of 1936, they made gigs in Chicago (The Grand Terrace) and New York (Roseland Ballroom), but they also had a few runs in early 1937 in Pittsburgh where they played in the Chatterbox Room in Steel Town's Hotel William Penn. The giant of the bass, Ray Brown, had an older brother who had a job at the Hotel William Penn and he brought his 10 year old kid brother to work. The Count Basie Orchestra did quite a bit of…


Added by Melissa Jones on April 5, 2017 at 1:26pm — No Comments

Fred StatonTurns 102!

I'm passing along Phil Schaap's account of Fred Staton's 102nd birthday bash:

An outpouring of love as well as a display of pure musical joy occurred at Local 802 (the Big Apple branch of the American Federation of Musicians) as several hundred gathered to celebrate the 102nd birthday of Fred Staton (born Sunday, February 14, 1915). Fred attended and played!!!! Mr. Staton is a tenor saxophonist. Robert Smalls, the last African American Congressman from the days of Reconstruction,…


Added by Melissa Jones on February 16, 2017 at 11:46am — 1 Comment

Jazz Musicians and Black History Month

February marks the beginning of Black History Month. Various institutions will celebrate the accomplishments of Black citizens, who rightly deserve acknowledgement for their achievements. Phil Schaap will host his annual Black History Month broadcast, in honor of those musicians who, at the forefront of racial discrimination, created a legacy of incomparable music.

Saturday, (2/4), 6:00 PM (EST) - Fletcher Henderson's music will be explored. Henderson, a graduate of Atlanta College,…


Added by Melissa Jones on February 3, 2017 at 8:35pm — 1 Comment

Pittsburgh Jazz royalty, Roy Eldridge, would turn 106, Monday (1/30). His contribution to Jazz is paramount. Whether swinging as a twenty-one year old in the Vitaphone short, "Smash Your Baggage", or…

Pittsburgh Jazz royalty, Roy Eldridge, would turn 106, Monday (1/30). His contribution to Jazz is paramount. Whether swinging as a twenty-one year old in the Vitaphone short, "Smash Your Baggage", or singing a songbook standard, Roy Eldridge delivers! Always an innovator, his legacy remains, not as a bridge between the genius of Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie, but as a trailblazer, defined by a captivating take-no-prisoner bravado and an elastic, relaxed swing.

Join on…


Added by Melissa Jones on January 27, 2017 at 6:42pm — No Comments

Who is WKCR ?

Who is WKCR but, more importantly, why listen?

The station's Jazz programming concept is unique. At its foundation is an extensive Jazz archive (on premises), which houses a vast collection of Jazz music, Jazz interviews and Jazz music rarities. (Thelonious Monk's FIRST recording BEFORE he ever recorded is housed in the archive!) The WKCR concept also stresses the importance of nurturing a new Jazz audience. Students involved at KCR are mentored by Jazz experts. The students are…


Added by Melissa Jones on August 26, 2016 at 1:55pm — No Comments

Accessing WKCR can be accessed at:
Go to upper right corner and click "Listen Now"

Also note: WKCR is currently airing the Rudy Van Gelder Memorial Broadcast.

Added by Melissa Jones on August 26, 2016 at 11:49am — No Comments


The Lester Young and Charlie Parker Birthday Celebration

Aug. 27, 28,&29 will present continuous, commercial-free radio, celebrating the birth anniversaries of Lester Young and Charlie Parker. Beginning August 27th, the genius of Pres and Bird will be displayed through Jazz rarities, interviews, expert commentary and, of course, their glorious music. Phil Schaap, Jazz historian and…


Added by Melissa Jones on August 24, 2016 at 5:00pm — 2 Comments

Roy Eldridge

Happy Birthday to the incomparable, Pittsburgh Jazz Great Roy Eldridge! January 30, 1911.

Added by Melissa Jones on January 28, 2016 at 2:44pm — No Comments

Happy Birthday Klook!

Happy Birthday Pittsburgh Jazz Great

Kenny Clarke - January 9, 1914

Added by Melissa Jones on January 9, 2016 at 7:45pm — No Comments

December 28, 1903

Happy Birthday to Pittsburgh Jazz legend, Earl Hines!!!!

Added by Melissa Jones on December 28, 2015 at 1:29pm — 2 Comments

Billy Strayhorn

We're celebrating the exceptional Billy Strayhorn, here in the NY Metro area. Check the current WSJ article on "Musicians Take the A-Train".

Billy Strayhorn Lives!

Added by Melissa Jones on November 30, 2015 at 3:56pm — 1 Comment

Happy Birthday Thelonious Monk & Art Blakey

Thelonious Monk, 10/10 and Art Blakey, 10/11 continues its 74 year history of providing listeners with the glories of Jazz music. Saturday, 10/10, the station will celebrate Thelonious Monk, in a continuous, all-day tribute to the man and his music! WKCR began broadcasting JAZZ, 74 years ago, featuring Roy Eldridge on Gene Krupa's rendition of "Swing Is Here". The station's commitment to JAZZ stems from a massive archive…


Added by Melissa Jones on October 7, 2015 at 2:38pm — No Comments

Howard McGhee Talks Fats Navarro

An incredibly interesting, 14 part interview with Howard McGhee discussing and reminiscing about Fats Navarro has just been posted (6/14/2015). The interview(s) was conducted in 1977-78.  What a remarkable piece of jazz information and history!

Added by Melissa Jones on July 14, 2015 at 4:01pm — 1 Comment

Pops is Tops!

Louis Armstrong was born August 4, 1901. At the onset of his upcoming 114th birth anniversary, reflection on his magnitude and impact on jazz can't be overemphasized.

Louis left New Orleans after his mentor, Joe "King" Oliver, had summoned him north. Oliver's band, King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band, had established itself on the south side of Chicago. This band, along with Louis' role as second cornet, is the historic example displaying all elements of what jazz was and what jazz was to…


Added by Melissa Jones on June 30, 2015 at 1:31pm — No Comments

Ornette Lives!

A week long memorial broadcast is currently being aired on the life and music of Ornette Coleman.

Aside from Ornette's music, there will be additional insight into his musical legacy through presentations by Phil Schaap, jazz historian and educator.  Listed below is his schedule.  The presentations provide an educational narrative which allow for a deeper understanding and appreciation of Ornette's music. Schaap's presentations are of interest to both those uninitiated with Ornette's…


Added by Melissa Jones on June 13, 2015 at 2:02pm — 3 Comments

Prelude to Duke Ellington's 116th Birthday

The Ultimate Jazz Fans: Jack Towers and Dick Burris

Jack Towers and Dick Burris had been thinking about the logistics of their plan for a year and as the details crystalized, their novel idea neared reality.  On November 7th, 1940 the two young men would define…


Added by Melissa Jones on April 24, 2015 at 12:24am — No Comments

Billie Holiday Centennial

April 7th marks the centennial celebration of the incomparable Billie Holiday. Her genius remains the foundation for jazz vocalists and her legacy reigns supreme.

The Swing Song Tradition 

By the early 1930's, the Jazz Age was coming to an end. The 2/4, oomp-pah rhythm of the 1920's was giving way to the smoother, more elastic rhythm of the Swing Era. Benny Goodman officially got the ball rolling at the Palomar; but the Jazz Age Orchestra had left a…


Added by Melissa Jones on April 3, 2015 at 5:15pm — No Comments

Theodore "Cuban" Bennett

Roy Eldridge indicated "Cuban" Bennett (from McDonald PA and Benny Carter's cousin) was an incredible trumpet player. Anyone who catches Roy's ear must have something to say and I wonder if anyone on the Pgh. Jazz Network ever heard him play (as he died in 1965) or has any extensive biographical data?

Added by Melissa Jones on March 14, 2015 at 4:22pm — No Comments

Clark Terry

Sun, 22 Feb 2015, 3:00pm - Tue, 24 Feb 2015, 3:00pm
Join us as we honor the life and work of Clark Terry, who passed away on Saturday,…

Added by Melissa Jones on February 22, 2015 at 9:33pm — No Comments

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