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

Jazz Society Leaves James Street..For the wrong reasons!


Dear Pittsburgh Jazz Society Members,

Unfortunately, it is true that the Pittsburgh Jazz Society will no longer be presenting jazz on Sunday night at James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy.  The reasons for the board's decision, as they have stated, are very questionable at best.    However, we would like to address the issues mentioned by Mr. Mowod.


James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy has been in business for slightly over one year.  As a brand new business, under completely different ownership from any other business before us,  we have expressed to Mr. Mowod on many occasions that we needed  time to get our feet on firm ground and develop a solid business.  To offer members a discount while paying the jazz society a substantial sum of money did not make good business sense for us during this crucial time in a start up venture. The majority of Sunday performances operated at a break even or loss basis financially for the business.  We discussed this on many occasions with Mr. Mowod, yet we were happy to continue hosting the Jazz Society every Sunday in order to provide our support for the society and because we realize that this is how a business establishes a firm foundation.


Mr. Mowod's requests for a discount have never been dismissed.   Quite the contrary.  Timing is everything for a new business.  The time was now right to develop a substantial incentive for Pittsburgh Jazz Society members.   For the past several months, Adam has been meeting with the North Side Leadership Conference to plan and develop a discount program that involved many local businesses in the North Side area, not just James Street Gastropub.   This program was to benefit everyone - the Jazz Society members would receive a discount at many local shops and restaurants, and the local shops and restaurants would gain new customers!  Good business sense for everyone - help local business grow and help the Pittsburgh Jazz Society membership grow through incentives, rather than Pittsburgh Jazz Society membership remaining in its current stagnant state.  Adam has met with Mr. Mowod and board members on several occasions to discuss this program.   Unfortunately, it appears we may need to take a step back from this plan.

With regard to a table for Mr. Mowod to display merchandise and membership applications...well, that is just plain silly.  We have a lot of tables and Mr. Mowod was certainly welcome to use them!


We are grateful for your patronage and the friendships we have developed with so many of you this past year.   We thank you for joining us every Sunday and for patronizing us throughout the week as well.  We are very appreciative of the friends and family you send our way!  We look forward to see you again very soon, as we plan to continue bringing the best jazz in the City of Pittsburgh to James Street every Sunday from 6pm - 9 pm!   Please join us this Sunday for a fantastic performance by Roger Humphries and the RH Factor!   Jazz Society Members will always have a home at James Street Gastropub & Speakeasy.


Warmest Regards,

Lisa Saftner & Adam Johnston


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Comment by Roberta Windle on February 8, 2013 at 1:01am

The JSG is providing Pgh with the Best Of Local Jazz. Keep providing class acts and  the audience will  continue to support you all the way. Your efforts to keep Jazz alive in this town has not gone unnoticed. As for Tony..........

Comment by martin thomas on February 7, 2013 at 4:14am

We, musicians, should be doing everything we can to help make venues that support live music succeed (short of paying to play). They are our allies. But if they don't make money, they won't stay in business; they won't provide us with platforms to perform.  However, these are growing pains; no one knows where the internet is taking us. As we grow through it, sometimes it's painful but frequently we get "kicked upstairs". Helping each other provides us with meaningful lives.

Comment by Jack Bishop on February 7, 2013 at 12:12am

I find it sad that the Jazz Society continues to be a worthless organization. It does nothing concrete to help the proliferation of Jazz in Pittsburgh. It takes but does not give, just like the musicians' union. Mr. Mowod and "his" society have been irrelevant to the world of jazz and they do extremely little to promote the jazz musicians that are its members. Hosting the society should be beneficial to the host, not the other way around. Pittsburgh has allowed its rich jazz culture to dwindle and Mr. Mowod has done nothing to prevent its decline. His was perhaps the worst jazz radio program in the country! 

Sorry friends, but James Street made the right choice!! 

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