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
“Change by other means.”

I love people, I love change, and as I mix these two important ingredients together I hear the most amazing stories. I headed to the local nation of Wal-Mart to stock my cold room for the winter and ran face first into a woman that changed history. As I stood waiting for the wife searching for fabric to make her famous bag keepers, I noticed an older lady short in height, gray in hair, gentle in nature. I watched her and listened to her talk about when she first was married and had to cook on a wood fire then life progressed and she cooked on gas then electric. Now she’s back to cooking on wood. I got in on the conversation and we talked about cooking with flat pans this lead into life’s general niceties until we ended up talking about her employment with a local coal mine.

Why I called this letter “change by other means “is because change happens whether you want or need it to. Our nation was foundered on change, and everyday we strive to change what is not beneficial to the masses, well at least we try. One of the strongest movements that want change is that fight of the female sex. Growing up I was programmed to believe that woman were the weaker sex, and without a strong man they would be selling themselves on the street. Well that was my thoughts then, I know better now. I see women in a new light. Woman, they are amazing, and the world would end without them. lets face it, two guys can’t make babies, they can practice all they like, but can’t make that human. As hard as I try other then sexual organs I don’t know of a single difference between woman and men.

Women have fought for this weird thing called equality, like they need permission to have it. What is even stranger are those that do not fight at all, they are happy being a servant of another. History gives you the stories of those that put up a fight to change the thinking of those that oppress them. History will show you those that stood on the mountain top demanding respect. What history hides are those that changed history, not for reward, not for power, not for status, but for necessity

As I’m listening to this woman talk about her days in the mines I realize that she was a trail blazer, a silent promoter for the cause and she didn‘t even know it. She said she was a bolt cutter and some sort of counter in the mines. I may be wrong about her under ground job, but what she did as an employee was unimportant. I listened as this tiny woman tells me about her days fighting off male workers, earning respect as a worker in the depths of our earth. She told me that three women entered that mine and three women stayed there, 10 years they worked there over harassment and treat. They worked there not to make a statement they worked there not to be noticed, they worked there because they had to.

G.D. lore (I hope I get the spelling correct), that’s her name. A local Fayette County girl, a coal miner and a figure in silent history. She, by working in that mine opened doors, showing the world she had no time for their issues. She had to feed her children, buy health insurance. She didn’t understand she was a special someone. Even though she didn’t stand up and ask for respect, she made them give it to her. She worked for a pay check, not to prove a point. She didn’t care that it was the mob days ,she didn’t care if it was a “mans world” she needed to do what she needed to do even if no one else wanted her to do it.. Our world is a better place for it; our world is a better place because of G.D. lore.

Lately, over the last ten years the lines are becoming blurred between men and women in the work force. What you have in your pants is slowly slipping out of the standards. We had a great chance for a woman to be president; we have a man of color at that door now. We have woman as leaders with as much respect as any man can get. We have single moms providing for their children, earning a living without a male figure to guide them along the path. We’ve had great bounds in respect for the sexes, the races, and personal beliefs, almost, almost we have quality. Without those that just did it, not wanting for fame, not asking for permission, we may not be in the great place we are today.

So the next time you feel like you are being held back or under appreciated, think of G.D. Lore as she worked in that dark hole fighting sexism and coal dust, she helped you make it to the place you are today. She held open that door to better things. Without those that fight the passive fight we would be lost. Take this letter as inspiration, and a word to the wise, you don’t have to put up a fight for your rights, you already have them, like Nike says Just do it & ” Change by other means.”



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