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

Chuck Austin

Founder and President of the African American Jazz Preservation Society of Pittsburgh, an executive board member of the Pittsburgh Musician's Union, and a member of the Pittsburgh Jazz Hall of Fame, Chuck Austin was a versatile musician as well as a strong advocate for the preservation of jazz history. He was even honored by The City of Pittsburgh when February 8, 2011 was proclaimed to be Chuck Austin Day.

Pittsburgh musician Chuck Austin passed away 5:35am on May 26. He had undergone a long illness over the past few years but when well enough, he would come out and play. Chuck along with a couple of others were intrumental in getting me to be a board member for the African American Jazz Preservation Society of Pittsburgh. Our condolences go out to his family and many friends.

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Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on May 31, 2012 at 10:53pm

Comment by Anthony (Tony) Janflone on May 30, 2012 at 3:42am

I was one of the blessed people that had the opportunity to know and played with Mr. Austin. I and I'm sure many will miss him. Play that horn with Gabriel Chuck!!

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on May 30, 2012 at 3:33am

The viewing will be at White Funeral Home at the corner of Thomas Blvd & Homewood Avenue on Thursday May 31, 2012 from 4:00 - 8:00pm following which everyone is invited to CJ's on the Strip (29thStreet and Penn Avenue) for a musicians "Tribute to Chuck" jam session led by Roger Humphries.  All are invited.  the funeral service will be held Friday June 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm form Mt. Ararat Baptist Church on Paulson Avenue in East Liberty.

Comment by SOUTHSIDE JERRY MELLIX on May 29, 2012 at 5:21pm

It has been a few years since I last talked to Chuck but his name would often come up in conversations in the 'green rooms'.  My first contact with him was in the early 60's.  I was just getting started in trying to be a professional musician.  I had been in Pittsburgh's "ALL CITY BAND"  for a few years and thought I knew how to read any sheet music in front of me.  I got called, with a local band I was in, to open up for LEE DORSEY at the Stanley Theater.  Chuck was there and heard me playing a difficult horn line different than what was written.  It was he that drove it home for me, to...."using his words"......'learn to read the written word''; his nick name for reading charts/sheet music.  Chuck would repeat that to me many times through the years. 

Before I knew he was a livin' legend, I loved the guy and respected him so much.  I wish, back in the day, I had told him how much I appreciated his lessons, input, history and the need in learning the written word......but I think he knows that now!   I am missing him!

Comment by Roberta Windle on May 29, 2012 at 3:17pm

RIP, Chuck. The Heavens will be in awe to have you among the other Jazz Angels who have arrived before you. You will, however, be missed by all know and love you. Your legacy will live forever.

Comment by Rick Nowlin on May 29, 2012 at 3:48am

Chuck was from Ben Avon and was primarily a trumpeter.  He played on Lloyd Price's "Personality."

Comment by timm coxx on May 28, 2012 at 10:33pm

Hey Kevin and Nelson, thanks for the obit information on Mr. Chuck Austin. Wasn't Chuck also an R&B singer back in the 80s. Seems to me, i recall him singing the R&B styles too?    i could be wrong. And, wasn't he from the North Side?  RIP, Chuck Austin.

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