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
Folks...just got word of this. I had the great opportunity to meet him for the first time a few months back when he and Mr. Wiggins performed here. I was to interview him the next time he came to town.



John Cephas 7/4/1930-3/4/09

Steve Hecht of Piedmont Talent reports that Piedmont blues legend John Cephas (AKA "Bowling Green" John Cephas) passed away at his home of natural causes. He was 78. He had retired from music recently due to illness. John Cephas was born July 4, 1930, in the Foggy Bottom area of Washington , D.C. in a musical and religious family. He picked up the guitar at an early age, and learned gospel from his family and blues from some of the records available to him. He mastered a gentle finger picking style that has become known as the Piedmont style of blues guitar. He first worked was as a gospel artist touring with the Capital Harmonizers.

In the early 1970s, he was heard by pianist Big Chief Ellis and hired Cephas to play guitar in his band. Cephas appears as a sideman on Ellis's beautiful album on the Trix label. It was in Ellis's band the Cephas met a young harmonica player by the name of Phil Wiggins. This meeting would become an enduring and highly celebrated partnership. The duo of Cephas and Wiggins has made numerous great records on labels such as L+R, Flying Fish, Evidence, Bullseye Blues, Alligator, and Chesky, In 1989 John Cephas won a prestigious National Heritage Fellowship with The National Endowment for the Arts.

In 1996, Cephas and Wiggins won the W. C. Handy Award for the Best Traditional Album of the Year, and were also named Blues Entertainers of the Year. In 1988, Cephas received a Washington , D.C. , Mayor's Arts Award. Just last week, he was awarded the Library Of Virginia's 2009 African-American Trailblazers in Virginia History award.

Cephas was also the founder of the Washington, D.C. Blues Society, and served on the Executive Committee Of The National Council For the Traditional Arts. A sweet, unassuming man with a rich voice and phenomenal, yet understated guitar ability, John takes with him his true representation of the Southeastern blues tradition.

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