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

SHADD PIANOS - First ever black-owned piano manufacturer

The first ever Black-owned piano manufacturing business
Courier Editor
July 3, 2019

Warren Shadd
by Courier Newsroom
Warren Shadd, CEO and founder of Shadd Pianos, grew up around a family of musicians. He started breaking pianos apart and building them back up as a hobby when he was just 12-years old. Now, he makes world-class pianos and is considered to be the first ever African American piano manufacturer!
An early start
Shadd was exposed to the music world since birth. His grandmother was a ragtime pianist in the South in the 1930s. His grandfather invented the collapsible drum set, but unfortunately haven’t patented it. His father was one of the top piano technicians in the country. His aunt, Grammy-award winner Shirley Horn, was the NEA Jazz Master pianist and vocalist. At the age of 4, Shadd already started appearing in concert stages to perform.
With his vast background in music, it wasn’t a surprise that he really loved music. His interest was just initially for the drums. Although he knew a lot about pianos because his father would take him with him whenever he did piano repair jobs, he didn’t aspire to be like his father. Until he started rebuilding and restoring pianos just for fun while also performing with different acts and Broadway shows.
Taking the family business to the next level
When his father passed away in 1993, he had to take over the business of tuning, rebuilding, and restoring piano business. With a strong client base, the business kept flourishing even under his new leadership. But when the industry changed a bit, he knew he had to offer something new. That was when he began experimenting and creating his own piano.
Combining his own musical talent and his knowledge in modern technology, Shadd has invented a one-of-a-kind piano design. And he has patents on all of it.
“Being a musician, I have an advantage of understanding what musicians want and what they want to hear,” he told NPR. “If I can compare here—Mr. Steinway doesn’t play piano, Yamaha no, Kawai no, Bosendorfer no, Fazioli a little bit… They are engineers and businessmen; I’m a musician and an engineer and businessman. I have somewhat of a musical advantage. What I’m crafting is a musical instrument and all those different components that go into that, especially the musical parts.”
Shadd boasts of a piano that has a durable soundboard that produces loud sounds without distortion. It also has an audio system that lets the pianist hear himself play, resulting to a better output. The interactive piano also has a computer and touchscreen monitors that allows piano teachers teach piano students even if they’re away. It is also useful for bands to cut tracks live and in real time. It also features a piano bench that has surround sound, making the pianist feel—not just hear—the music.
Going global
Shadd Pianos have even caught the attention of several famous musicians and performers. He admitted that it wasn’t easy at first to make others believe that the piano he invented was exceptional. But once they played it, they became overwhelmed. In fact, Shadd Pianos are now being used in several hotels, churches, and shows around the world including the set of American Idol, Rolls Royce showrooms, and even the Vatican.
“I do know there’s a responsibility with this, to make the best piano—not one of the best—the best piano, period, in the world, and that’s what I believe I’ve done. As a people, we can’t be parallel; we’ve got to be three times as good. I’m a perfectionist, so every nuance that goes into this piano has to be the very best.”
(For more information about Shadd Pianos, visit

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Comment by Rev. Dr. Bobby Fulton, Ph.D. on July 6, 2019 at 4:47am

Congratulations to Mr. Shadd and Shadd Pianos Manufacturing Company.

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