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

Dear Friends:

A collegue of mine recently posted a rhetorical question on his Facebook page - "Is a Gofundme campagin the best hope for a jazz musician's golden years?"  I'm sure he was referring to us.  We are currently running a Gofundme campagin for jazz drum legend Victor Lewis.  Victor has developed a neurological disorder that won't allow him to use his legs.  This, of course, will make it impossible for him to work - and not just perform but to get to his teaching job.  His manager confided in me that he may very well lose his teaching job if he can't get there.  I agree with my friends statement.  Time and time again I've seen jazz masters in their older age trapped by their financial situation with no medical insurane or help and the most meager of substinence.  I will not name names here but some verifiable geniuses live in destitution.  It does seem ironic that after a lifetime of touring, performing and teaching, many senior musicians have nothing to show for it.  As old age and infirmity sets in so do the bills and the inability to work.  It is disastrous.  

I don't have a solution for this in mind for this but I am just remarking on it as I've seen it over and over again.  Through the SmallsLIVE Foundation, we are able to come up with grants and emergency funds but it is just a drop in the bucket.  There's not much else out there to help senior jazz artists.  So, we turn to the community and we do "gofundme" and try our best to subsidize our own beloved masters.  It's tough and in some ways futile.  But we try and soldier on.

If you would like to help Victor, click the link below to the Gofundme campaign that The SmallsLIVE Foundation and Joanne Klein (Victor's long time manager) are sponsoring.  Our goal, really, is to just come up with enough dough that he can go 6 months to a year without work.  There will be recovery and hopeful a return to performance.


I sincerely wish everyone a productive, peaceful and blessed New Year - I hope to see everyone at the club.



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