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

Trumpeter, journalist Ed Skirtich has finished his earthly journey.

A wonderful tribute to our friend Ed Skirtich by a master Patrick T. Lanigan. RIP Ed. You did good! ✨♥️🙏😞
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On Saturday, November 13, 2021, Ed Skirtich died. He was our bugler.
Whenever we served a family of a veteran, an offer was made to have a live bugler. For the past 15 years, or so, when a family wished for that special touch for their deceased veteran, we called upon Ed Skirtich to play ‘Taps’ at the Presentation of Military Honors. Ed was astoundingly excellent at that musical tribute. And he performed in spite of physical obstacles that would shackle a lesser man.
Please allow a personal reflection about Ed.
My favorite story about Ed occurred over 10 years ago on February 19, 2011. Prior to that date, Ed had spent the better part of six weeks in a hospital battling an illness that nearly caused his death. Steve Minnaji, a WW II veteran and ex-Prisoner of War was being buried that day in Braddock Catholic Cemetery. His family was steadfast that he deserved a live bugler to sound “Taps” at his graveside. Even though only a couple of weeks from his hospital stay, Ed was pleased and eager to provide his service to the Minnaji family.
On that winter day, Ed and his Mom arrived at the cemetery ahead of the funeral procession and parked 30 yards from the grave. At the end of the committal prayer service at the graveside, Ed began a 30 yard trudge with his walker, aided by the guidance of his Mom. As he approached the grave, the Honor Guard in place, his pants fell down due to his weight loss from his illness. Thankfully, he was wearing an overcoat due to the weather. Stephanie, a funeral director, rushed to his aid and lifted his pants, holding them up during his robust rendition of “Taps”. Unfazed, Ed belted those notes so powerfully they seemingly could be heard a mile away in Rankin. Steve Minnaji was properly honored and his sons graciously thanked Ed and the Army for their parts. As Ed turned in his walker to slowly shuffle on to his car, 2 of the Minnaji boys hoisted Ed on their shoulders and carried him to his car, just as soldiers would carry a victorious comrade.
Ed continued to play his trumpet for dozens of Military Honor presentations over the years. And he played “Taps” with gusto, dignity, and pride.
Thank you, Ed, for serving those families and honoring their dead heroes.
You will always be remembered. May God be good to you.
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16You, Janelle Burdell, Erroll Gary and 13 others

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