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


Time: February 2, 2012 at 8pm to February 4, 2012 at 8pm
Street: 7101 Hamilton Avenue
City/Town: Pittsburgh, PA
Website or Map:
Phone: 412-624-8498
Event Type: august, wilson, award, winning, play
Organized By: Dr. Vernell Lillie
Latest Activity: Feb 1, 2012

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Event Description

You would not want to miss:
1985 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award winner for the Best American Play 
Ma Rainey's Black Bottom 
Presented by Kuntu Repertory Theatre
Written by August Wilson
Directed by Vernell A. Lillie
January 19 - February 4, 2012
It's 1927 in a run-down studio in Chicago where Ma Rainey is recording new sides of old favorites.  More goes down in the session than music in this riveting portrayal of rage, racism, self-hate, and exploitation.
Tickets rates: $1.00- $20.00
We look forward to seeing you at the performances.

Comment Wall



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Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on February 1, 2012 at 3:19am

Big August Wilson devotee.  Saw Kuntu's production on Sunday and was deeply impressed.  Acting was superb, impossible not to be caught up and moved. 

Maybe because it's not set in Pittsburgh, "Ma" is my favorite Wilson play, but hey, it still comes from the pen of the master...

One note of warning:  Dress in layers. It may have been a one day problem, but temperature in the otherwise very comfortable auditorium was pushing 80.  But don't let that stop you from seeing this first rate production.


Margaret J. Forbes

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on February 1, 2012 at 1:05am
Only four performances left!
"...The play's great conflicts are clear, with white exploitation and racist confinement stifling creativity.  But creativity breaks through anyway, even in this, one of the darkest of the Pittsburgh Cycle plays. The plot turns tragic, but there's creative joy along the way."
--Wednesday, January 25, 2012
by senior theater critic Christopher Rawson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on January 31, 2012 at 12:49am

FYI @ J. Malls and everyone.  I wrote and p[erformed the musical score for this production so it is not the same as the Broadway version that is on vinyl.  That should give you an incentive to check it out even if you saw it before. :)))

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on January 31, 2012 at 12:45am

Hey every one I recently had a  chance to see Ma' Rainey's Black Bottom and was really moved by this play I just wanted to encourage you to go see it for yourself its intense and will surely captivate you. I am suggesting that you go and see it for yourself and help support Kuntu Repertory Theatre a true Pittsburgh treasure.


Raymond Ratliffe, Jr.

Comment by J. Malls on January 30, 2012 at 10:04pm

I actually have Ma Rainey's Black Bottom on vinyl. Not sure how much August Wilson there is pressed on wax. Seeing this in the Homewood Library auditorium sounds awesome. Going to try to make it a night!

Comment by Roberta Windle on January 30, 2012 at 9:09pm

Absolutely fabulous! A must see. Loved the work from beginning to end. Brilliant acting and music.

Attending (3)

Might attend (1)

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