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

Pitt Names Nicole Mitchell, Award-Winning Flutist, Composer and Educator, As Endowed Chair and Director of Jazz Studies

Pitt Names Nicole Mitchell, Award-Winning Flutist, Composer and Educator, As Endowed Chair and Director of Jazz Studies 

PITTSBURGH—The University of Pittsburgh has named Nicole M. Mitchell, an award-winning creative flutist, composer, bandleader and educator, as its William S. Dietrich II Endowed Chair in Jazz Studies, effective July 1, 2019.

Mitchell also will be the director of the Jazz Studies Program and a professor in Pitt’s Department of Music. She becomes the third director in the program’s 49-year history, succeeding the late Geri Allen, who passed away in 2017.

“We’re thrilled to have an internationally renowned artist, composer and educator of Nicole’s caliber joining us to lead our jazz program,” said Kathleen Blee, Bettye J. and Ralph E. Bailey Dean, Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences at Pitt. “Nicole’s innovative vision for the future of the program and the annual Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert — particularly her ideas for collaborating with other institutions of higher education in music and with key community partners such as the Manchester Craftsman’s Guild and the Afro American Music Institute — is ambitious and exciting, and her passion for teaching and mentoring students is certain to attract a new generation of jazz scholars to the University of Pittsburgh.”

Mitchell is currently a professor of music at University of California, Irvine, teaching composition and improvisation in the graduate program of Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology. She was also vice chair of the University’s Council on Climate, Culture and Inclusion.  

Mitchell is perhaps best known for her work as a flutist, having developed a unique improvisational language and repeat honors during 2010-17 as “Top Flutist of the Year” from the Downbeat Magazine Critics Poll and Jazz Journalists Association.

“Coming to Pitt is a special moment, a sort of calling for me to bring my full self, where I feel a refreshing openness and enthusiasm from the Pitt community to share my vision,” said Mitchell. “I have big shoes to fill, following the incredible work Geri Allen accomplished, making connections between tradition and innovation. I’m excited to explore the full spectrum of creative possibilities for jazz at Pitt,” she added.

Mitchell calls Pittsburgh “a cultural jewel” and is hoping to collaborate with community-based organizations to “create new platforms that engage students in community and business, and most importantly, to jump forward into new innovative frontiers.”

The 2018 recipient of the Champion of New Music award from the American Composers Forum, Mitchell is the founder of Black Earth Ensemble, a multi-generational and gender-balanced group that celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2018. She also was the first woman president of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. 

At Pitt, Mitchell will work closely with the faculty to lead the Jazz Studies curriculum, teach courses and mentor students. She will also represent the program within the University and the wider community. 

Jazz Studies at Pitt includes the annual Pitt Jazz Seminar and Concert, outreach programs, the peer-reviewed journal Jazz and Culture, theInternational Academy of Jazz Hall of Fame, the William R. Robinson Recording Studio and the Pitt Jazz and Erroll Garner Archives. Jazz Studies also includes the student-based Pitt Jazz Ensemble, founded by Nathan Davis; presents an annual campus concert every spring and has performed internationally in Brazil, Jamaica, Switzerland and Trinidad.

The Department of Music offers the Bachelor of Arts degree in a liberal arts curriculum and the Master of Arts and Doctor of Philosophy degrees with concentrations in Composition and Theory, Ethnomusicology, Musicology and Jazz Studies — the nation’s only PhD in jazz research and performance.

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