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

James Nathan Williams Jr. passes; loved politics, helped created Coraopolis NAACPCourier Newsroom

James Nathan Williams Jr. passes; loved politics, helped created Coraopolis NAACPCourier Newsroom

James Nathan Williams Jr., also known as “Jimmy,” died on Sunday, June 6, the New Pittsburgh Courier has learned. He was 71.

Williams was born on June 17, 1949, in Sewickley, the eldest son of the late James Nathan and Velma (Rucker) Williams.

Williams grew up in Coraopolis and graduated from Coraopolis High School in 1967. He attended the University of Pittsburgh where he completed his course work for a graduate degree in Public Administration.

According to an obituary, Williams loved politics and served as constable under the late Fred Trello and ran for the office of Representatives of the Pa. State House. In the late 1970s, Williams helped to create the Coraopolis Chapter of the NAACP.

Williams served his country for more than 26 years with the Air National Guard as a Non-Commissioned Officer and retired in 1995 with the distinguished honor of being the first African American Senior Master Sergeant at the 171st Pennsylvania Air National Guard Greater Pittsburgh Airport.

Williams also served as a Deputy Sheriff for Allegheny County.

Williams dedicated years of service developing treatment programs to assist those with mental health and substance abuse issues within various hospitals and treatment centers in the Greater Pittsburgh area. He was executive director of the House of the Crossroads, and later served as Field Director for the Pittsburgh Coalition Against Substance Abuse.

He was affiliated with many organizations, including the Air Force Sergeant Association, Board of Visitors at Robert Morris University, and the Association of American Society of Public Administration. He was also the first African American member of the long-established civic organization AMEN Corner and remained a member of the FROGS organization, in Pittsburgh.


DORIS CARSON WILLIAMS, with husband, James Williams, at the Dec. 7, 2018 Urban League Awards Gala. (Courier File Photo)

In 1988, Williams joined Bethel AME Church, in the Hill District. He served on the usher and trustee boards. He became chairman of the trustee board.
Williams enjoyed cooking and crafting his own recipes, golf and traveling, especially with his wife, Doris Carson Williams, to their yearly summer escape on Martha’s Vineyard.

Williams is survived by his wife, Doris Carson Williams, who is President and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania; son, James Nathan Williams III (Brooke); brother, Russell Eldon Williams (Kim); grandchildren, James Vaughn El B. Williams and Jade Marie B. Williams; and a host of relatives, friends and avid supporters.

The viewing for Williams will be held on Thursday, June 10, from 2 to 7 p.m., and Friday, June 11, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. The funeral service will be held on Friday, June 11, at 11 a.m. Both the viewing and funeral will take place at Bethel AME Church, 2720 Webster Ave.

In lieu of flowers, contributions and donations will be accepted at the church. 

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