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
Did I ever tell you of my experience with an evil apparition, a specter, a demon, a ghost?
A many decades have gone by, yet it is as if it happened the night before last.
A young son I was, no more then ten. Such a strong child I was, fearful of nothing, as long as I was by my mother’s hand.

We lived in the country, on a road all by ourselves.
Vacant of life, void of expression.
Nothing to watch from my crooked porch, but for the Osage posts disappearing into the horizon.
Our home was just a small wooden hammy-down, gifted by the Church.
Mother and I were on our own, this dwelling was their pity on us.
It was a small wooden shack, three dank rooms and a drab red tin roof.
The dry rotted porch pitched to the ground with a heavy slant, a broke swing hung haphazardly on a “cant.”
Nothing lived but the random clumps of grass.
The ground was dry and gray, nothing but misery and wind swept decay.
A wretched existence living hand to mouth, but that was the life that we were dealt.

This night, there when my life changed forever, I was absent of my dear loving mother.
She was celebrating her new job, the first in a year past. Off to toast her freedom and money, at last.
I wanted her to go that night for work came in the day.
I am sure she did not know of my fate, if so, she would not have left me to its rage.
I begged her to go! Declaring,
“I was strong, I’m getting older!”
“I no longer need your motherly shoulder!”
“What could go wrong here in this desolate wasteland?” I bolstered.

Naïve I was, for soon I would be shown its evil; for out of the desert, came the Devil.
This night I would have a visitor from below, a night of terror, as I have never known.
It must have been two or not much past, a weary feeling I had in my chest.
Lonely and nerved by the shadowy frights, I crawled into my cot to wait out the night.
As I tossed in my bed waiting for the return of my mother, I had this feeling, not soon after, that there in my room was another.

All at once, the fear took over; I sat up straight to find the intruder. Slowly I scanned the room, illuminated only by the summer moon. Once from the left and then once to the right.
Nothing there but for the out stretched shadows of the windows light.

It must be the “willies”, my first test as a man; it must be that I am without my mother’s hand.
I try once again to gain my composure, as I laid my head back to the pillow.
Just as my eyes drew closed, I was awakened by a horrible smell. The gases strangled me like a noose; fumes of torture had broken loose.
Nauseating as a blotted animal in the field, feeling my lungs with it’s unforgiving yields.
I try moving, to investigate this smell; I tried to roll, but was frozen in hell.
What is this?
Did I drift into slumber?
Am I dreaming this stench? Had I floated under?
As I try to make reason for my situation, my eyes were drawn to the corner of our shack. Tucked in the shadow, were two red spots seemingly staring right back.
A pair of glorious circles, floating in the shadows care, fixed on me as I gagged on the noxious air.

Hypnotizing within its faint red flutter, my mind filled with ease from this tempting other.
I no longer felt as if I was in danger, but was longing for my hidden stranger.
This moment was broken in a chilling embrace, when slowly it leaned forward revealing its face.
The pale lights that filter through the toxic room illuminated not a creature of immense doom.
But there from the corner, out stepped a small child, charming courteous and incredibly mild.
A little girl but five, just half as old as I. She stepped across the floor with dainty grace, with a friendly smile fixed on her face. Without her lips moving, I heard her tone, a voice of an angel asking why I was alone.
With an increasingly sinister look on her face, she asked,

” why I was afraid of the dark”,
“Is this where the boogiemen lark?”

Running her tiny fingers through her white curls, a disturbing smile ran the length of her face.
She walked around my cot, making my heart race.
Why had she come to my bed, will I soon be nothing but dead?

With a simple twirl, the room began to whirl, as pressure return to my chest.
Through the haze through my daze, my little tormentor had begun her assault.

“Your mother, she is horrible, cares nothing for your sake!”
“Do you know of her thoughts, the secrets she keeps, do you know where she goes when you’re fast asleep?”

Descriptions began to appear, imposed by my attacker.
As if a movie projected, showing me, the rejected.
Mother, I hated her!
Horrible images of my past she lost us a dad. She never wanted me near.
How could she call me her dear?

“With a stab of the blade your unhappiness can die”, sweetly whispered my little guide.

With giggles and glee, she taunted, her evil- she flaunted, wanting nothing more then my mother dead.
What seemed like hours this game unfolded, until I found a happy thought to get a hold-of.
Slowly I realized it was all her doing making me feel revengeful. Mother was not my enemy, it was the Devil cloaked as an angel.

How was I going to break free, small, yet she had a hold over me. Try, I must, no movement in my limb Try, I must, and I could not break this night of grim.
But wait!
For out of the obis, lightning split the darkness and thunder crashed.
My situation began to change in a flash.
My little cheerful nightmare was distracted, focusing on the racket.
Her grip slipped just a fraction, just enough for my reaction.
My body came alive; the will to survive replaced fear as I bolted for the door.
As I turned the corner, my room exploded with red anger, its power knocking me to the floor.
As I drifted into unconscious , I wished for nothing but the evil spirit dread.
Slowly I faded, with thoughts of mother, in my head.

Time had lost its way; I did not know if it was night or day.
All I remember is the heat at my back.
I was lying in the sand, cradle in the warmth of someone’s caring hands.
As my vision returned, I could but make out two sights.
Our red roofed shack engulfed in a blaze, and mothers warm familiar gaze.
I began to cry-out, tried warning her of my fright, mother simply stared into the orange tinted night.
” Do not worry my baby boy, I sent that creature back to its own torture.”
Mother never spoke of that night again; I realized she knew all my terror that had been.
A battle for my love, that she did win, sending the imp to it own agony again.

Life has gone by so fast, mother died the year before last.
Here I sit to my self, remembering all the love I have felt.
We left it all in the past, never did we return to that place.
I am glad to hope no one would ever deal with the terror I faced.
I am thankful and able to feel, that - I had love even the Devil himself could never steal.

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