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

Event Details

JJ Wright Trio

Time: August 20, 2014 from 7:30pm to 10pm
Location: Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, University of Pittsburgh, Oakland
Phone: 412-361-2262
Event Type: concert
Organized By: Manny Theiner
Latest Activity: Aug 19, 2014

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Event Description

Wed Aug 20    7:30 pm   $15  ($5 with Pitt ID) 

all ages
Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, Univ of Pittsburgh, Oakland

The Consortium Jazz Series at Pitt presents

piano-jazz ensemble from South Bend, Indiana
on Ropeadope Records
J.J. Wright TRIO

with special guests
Scientific Soul

Pianist/composer J.J. Wright studied jazz improvisation at The New School for Jazz in New York City and is currently Director of Sacred Music at Sacred Heart  Parish at the University of Notre Dame. He has performed with the US Naval Academy Band and with vibraphonist David Samuels.  Wright also composed and performed with the quartet Turn Around Norman, initially based in the Baltimore, MD-area.

For his debut as a leader "Inward Looking Outward" (Ropeadope Records), Wright works and plays with Nate Wood (drums) and Ike Sturm (bass) on a 9-song program consisting of 6 originals and 1 tune each by Sufjan Stevens ("Little Person"), Jon Brion ("The Tranfigurations") and Phil Collins ("Take Me Home"). The first impression this listener had is just how upfront Wood's drums are in the mix.  One might make a connection to the sonic quality of The Bad Plus (Wood is as active a drummer as TBP's Dave King) but Wright has a different touch and attack than Ethan Iverson. Still, there are moments such as on the Brion tune where, in the piano-bass duet part of the song, the pianist's left hand work has the flavor of EI's.  Wright brings in one tune from his "..Norman" days, the funky "Consolations."  Sturm's thick tone and buoyant bass lines mesh well with Wood's active and dancing drums.  The pianist rides with and atop the beat, creating a hypnotic feel.

The 5-section "JTC", separate compositions spread through the program, ranges from the hard-edged "II" that opens the CD to the classically flavored "I" that follows. The latter track takes its time to develop, going through different tempos and melodic ideas before Wright's solo hits its stride. "III" is a soulful gospel-tinged, ballad (not unlike a Randy Newman ballad); un-rushed, the piece takes its time but is a highly satisfying journey. There's more than a hint of Bud Powell and Chick Corea in the rhythm and melodic movement on "IV" (Wood flat-out "swings" while Sturm "walks" or offers strong counterpoint.  "V" also is a gospel-infused ballad , this time leaning more to sound and feel of Richard Manuel of The Band.

Wood sets the pace on the Phil Collins song, a beat that neither wavers nor flags.  Wright presents the melody without flash or false sentiments.  The Trio does an admirable job of raising the intensity as they move to the final choruses and emotional climax, leaving the drummer to take the song "home."

J.J. Wright makes a powerful, musical, debut on "Inward Looking Outward" (also an apropos title for a recording) - his interactions with Nate Wood and Ike Sturm seem natural not forced and one can tell he felt comfortable to be himself (letting the rhythm section do what they do best.)

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