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


Sign of the times: Green Dolphin Street has gone out of business.
Sign of the times: Green Dolphin Street has gone out of business.
publicity photo

Green Dolphin Street, the nightclub-and-restaurant complex at Ashland and Webster, has unceremoniously closed its doors, jettisoning employees and canceling scheduled musicians with virtually no notice. The move raises questions about what - even in this economy - is sure to be a valuable Wicker Park property.

Dave Freeman, who ran the sound at Green Dolphin Street, first reported the closing on his Facebook page Sunday. As of Tuesday, he had learned that all upcoming bookings for private parties were being moved to other venues, and that the property itself was now under bank management. As of Tuesday, its website - -- had been suspended for non-payment.

The club first opened in the late 1990s, along with a pricey restaurant that went through at least one major menu renovation but each time received mixed reviews. In the last year, the restaurant underwent another change, switching to less expensive northern-Italian fare and changing its name from Green Dolphin Street to Orvieto.

Green Dolphin Street took its name from a movie themethat became a jazz standard. But from a jazz fan's standpoint, it won't be much missed.

The club had a poor reputation among many of the musicians who worked there, thanks to (among other things) the difficult acoustics of its gymnasium-sized music room, as well as unpleasant dealings with the club's ownership and some of its management. No culture vulture likes to hear about the demise of a performance venue, but listeners and musicians alike don't seem too worked up about this one.

Despite having hosted such world-renowned artists as organists Brian Auger, Jimmy Smith, and Joey DeFrancesco - and a raft of great Chicago players like guitarist Fareed Haque, organist Chris Foreman, and reedmen Rich Corpolongo, Sonny Seals, Ari Brown, and Richie Fudoli - the club's original commitment to jazz had dissipated almost entirely. For a while, combos appeared on Sunday nights in the more intimate bar area. But for the last year or so, the only regular jazz remaining on the schedule was Bill Porter's big band on Tuesday nights.

Even when the club did hire big-name artists, in its early years, its size and echo made it an unfortunate choice for serious listening. And the club's seemingly preferred clientele - the urban hipsters who occasionally parked their ostentatious limos in front of the Webster Street entrance - usually treated the music as a necessary backdrop to participating in the social ramble.

Green Dolphin Street became known for hip-hop shows on the weekend and Monday "industry nights" under the heading of "The Boom Boom Room." In recent years, the club achieved its greatest success with rhythm-and-blues and swing bands whose audiences made good use of the sizable dance floor.

Whether Chicago can support a nightspot to replace Green Dolphin Street as an upscale, moderately-sized venue remains to be seen. Whatever the reasons for Its demise -- poor stewardship, changing tastes, its sheer size -- the overall economic downturn accelerated it. And those same conditions may make a replacement both unwanted and unlikely.

Article written by Neal Tesser

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