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
I'm starting this correspondence, for the solution of a Jazz Festival, or any other event for that matter, is to have a few individuals committed to doing such.
I promote the Goshen "Willie the Lion Smith" Jazz Festival, in Goshen NY, Orange County. This festival is going into it's 5th year. Though it is slow and coming, it's where, I along with 2 others, are professionally working diligently to help keep the American Classical Heritage within the public eye, as well as the ear. Believe me a Jazz festival here, in Orange County, NY, that has been running 5 years consecutively is a record. Being from Pittsburgh and coming home periodically I know all it would take is 2 to 5 committed artist with a good sense of business. The internet has placed everyone on a level playing field. It's now a question of who will step up and start the process. I will say this, for myself, I am willing to work with any of you that really want to see a Pittsburgh Jazz Festival once again. The important aspect of this business is to understand that 90% is about the business and the other 10% is preparing of the business. The talent is as natural as putting one foot in front of the other to continue to move forward naturally. It would be a groove to read some feed back to this developing digg, peace, Christopher Dean Sullivan

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi, Everyone!
Sorry to have been out of the loop for so long, I have been working to win a conciliation progam in Allegheny County for people facing foreclosure--look for the President Judge, Dan Onorato, Sheriff Mullen, and others to be announcing it this coming week! ACORN members (and myself) worked tirelessly for this all last year, and it will be great to see it happen.

Of course, while all that was going on, we registered 37,000 voters in this county, mostly low and moderate income, by hiring young people right from our neighborhoods and training them to do the work. This got us attacked by the right wingers, their media, and the Swift Boat Team. We bravely fought back, wielding only the truth, and our work in the community.

Because of the attacks, we have lost about $90,000 in funding, and are coming into the new year carrying a huge financial burden. But since we are doing the right thing, we know that our work will be provided for in the amounts needed...

What does all this have to do with a jazz festival? What do you think? Let's Roll it out, ladies and gents! You be my fundraiser, and I will be your organizer. And of course, we must have Kevin Amos helping us. And everyone else who can step up!

If you are interested, please email me at with your phone number and I will call everyone to a meeting. As to who will play, Let's let everyone play! The festival can go on as long as it takes! I need you as much as you need me. And the People United Will Never Be Defeated- Especially if They Play Jazz!

Maryellen Hayden, Former Musicians Union Organizer under Anne Feeney, and current Head Organizer for ACORN
Dear Christopher:
Thanks for your input and generous offer. I have been waiting for the start of a recipe for what makes a good music festival from the patrons' view and what makes a successful music festival, one that can survive from year to year, showcase new talent, attract esteemed jazz players and provide a memorable experience for the jazz lovers of Pittsburgh and elsewhere. So take 2 to 5 committed artists with business sense. Mix well. Bake for 1200 hours at room temperature and you have the beginnings of a new, revitalized Pittsburgh Jazz Festival. I'll go with that but there are probably some variations and substitutions we could try for a variety of products. Does anyone think we need any additional ingredients? In Monterey where I still live for 6 more months we have hundreds of volunteers that commit for the entire weekend and at various points throughout the year and work gratis like rented mules and love doing it because it's cool. Because it's our community and our festival and we are so proud of it. You may be right that 90% is about the business but that other 10 or even 20% is important, too.
I am slowly learning that in additon to theory, composition, and harmony the curriculum for musicians should be fund-raising, publicity and economic survival. In preparing any recipe you have to decide what you are hungry for before you know what ingredients to assemble. What is the hunger for a Pittsburgh Jazz Festival? How hungry are we, really? What should it look like? The comments keep coming so there is some interest. Tell me more.
Kira Gray
Well, so I am forming a committee to plan the Pittsburgh Jazz Festival. We will meet at the ACORN office, 5907 Penn Avenue, Suite 300 Monday, January 26, at 4 pm. To RSVP Please call 412 657-3251. We will need the first festival to be a weekend festival, and so we will have several openings for acts. We will need a space, vendors, artists, a child's place, booths for music and art related offerings, etc. I am getting very excited about it now, and that will make it take on a life of its own. Let's roll!
I am playing San Francisco this weekend, and can't make a meeting on Monday, can you let me know of any future meetings? My email is mandee (at) phatmandee (dot) com and my # is 412-448-6891
My Brothers and Sisters,
A jazz festival, however large the audience, is a good move.
I have been on the planning end of many a community gathering, to include, jazz presentations. One of the most important audiences we consistently forget/leave out, don't involve, is the youth. I would suggest partnering with school systems and offering workshops and free concerts, maybe forming a city-wide/school-wide jazz orchestra and feature them at the festival.
Inclusion of our youth touches so many angles, but the most important, it gives our art form longevity.
Besides, it's our responsibility to past this wonder on, to the coming generations.
Peace and Blessings
However we need to make this happen I want to be a part of it. We are blessed to have such an abundance of great musicians and it is our duty to share them with the world. I don't know about spreading it out in dribs and drabs at all the small clubs , it's easier to promote an event that happens all at once, a night or a weekend in a central location , one poster, one ad, one internet blitz, one set of cameras to document, one sound company and just program the heck out of it. I bet we could find some $$ if we asked for it. Who is a good non profit we could conduit through? The Heinz would support this, I know they would, if we could find a good 501 c3 through whom and with whom to ask for the $$, we should form a group and get together in person. It would be awesome if we could get someone like George Heid to record it and we tape it and upload it to the net , podcasts and videos, you know what venue might be down, is the New Hazlett in North Side, Sarah Radelet is up for anything awesome and the sound is great. I saw Dave Bjornson run soun for 30 pieces 2 weeks ago and he didn't even blink.
I think this is something that needs to be done as well. I can tell you that I have played the last 2 years at the Chicago Summerdance series, and they really have a good formula down. They do a different style of music (swing, latin, blues etc) each day in a different park for free. Usually these shows are early- like 7pm- 9pm- so it is all over roughly by sundown. There is always a dance floor, and people are there to have a good time. Then there are more events in the clubs at night. We have so many great places we could do this around Pittsburgh. I understand the fears of working with someone like the Cultural trust, or Heinz, but their money and influence would surely help! Please keep me in the loop- I would love to see this happen.

Paul Cosentino
Boilermaker Jazz Band
I agree with Paul, that we can't do a sustainable festival without getting all possible interested parties involved. The Cultural Trust, the African-American Music Institute, the Cityparks, the County of Allegheny, the Heinz Endowments, the Hillman Foundation and MCG are all established entities that should be included in any planning for a large-scale festival. I know a lot of people feel like they have been left out of the loop by MCG, but they are working in their own way to keep jazz alive here (a lot of times behind the scenes, where nobody hears about it). I have been involved in a yearly series that exposes local 3rd Graders to jazz that is put together by MCG. I think that is one of the most important things that can be done for Jazz anywhere. Getting the funding to bring in artists to Pittsburgh for a festival will take some serious capitol, which you can't get without foundation money, and I don't think we can sustain a festival without bringing in big name acts from out of town to perform as well as featuring our local talent. Just my 2 cents.
All true enough. I do not know if we could/ should involve ALL those groups, but at least one of them with some clout would certainly help. And my point in saying the way Chicago does it is this: They have the free concerts early in the evening in the parks, and that draws a very diverse crowd in every way- age, racial etc. since it is basically a free happening in town. It becomes the "place to be". plus the music offered is quite diverse which does not limit it to people who are "jazz fans", but makes it interesting to a broader segment of folks.

Then, while at the free event, they can be handed fliers for ticketed events where big name acts would play, and club events where locals would play, and the biggies would be encouraged to come and jam.
Max, I am not saying that the MCG does nothing for the jazz community, quite the opposite, but when I personally mail marty Ashby and tell him how much they have done, and ask him to include me in one of their gigs, he responded that there were summer concerts that weren't booked yet, and he would of course keep me in mind. I have been at this for a long time, Max, you know me well and I haven't been vindictive until I left and came back. What if Marty Asby was told, when he was just a fundraiser for the PSO " Yeah, kid we'll keep you in mind" and never got back in touch with him! Not a nice feeling. I had played ALL THE FESTIVALS, CITIPARKS, MELLON SQUARE, COURTHOUSE ET. AL before he ever moved here or there was such a thing as the "Cultural Trust". Whose culture is it anyway? I agree it does take some capitol and I even had some friends in mind, but we all deserve a place in the jazz culture, which we sacrificed higher-paying jobs, and sometime our lives for....Thank God you and i are still here, I can think of some who are not. can you dig it?


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