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

WARREN LUCKEY, PLAYED SAX WITH LEGENDS OF JAZZ (Father of member Paulette Luckey Silver)


By Christian Salazar, Staff Writer

Warren Luckey, a saxophonist who was present at the birth of bebop,

toured with Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie in the 1940s, once

lent his tenor sax to Charlie Parker for a landmark performance, and

appeared on a recording with Aretha Franklin, has died. He was 85.

The Uniondale resident died July 11 of kidney failure, said his

son-in-law, Dan Silver, of Huntington.

Phil Schaap, a leading jazz historian, said Luckey flourished in the

bebop era. "There was a revolution in music 60 years ago, and Luckey

was there," said Schaap, the Grammy Award-winning host of the "Bird

Flight" jazz program on WKCR/89.9 FM.

Bebop was the name of the musical revolution, and Gillespie, along

with Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Kenny Clarke and others, had

developed the style beginning in the early 1940s.

Luckey's playing appeared on Gillespie's famed recordings on the

Musicraft label, including "Groovin' High" and "Things to Come" in


In 1947, Charlie Parker, who played alto sax, asked to borrow Luckey's

tenor sax for a recording he was doing with an up-and-coming jazz

musician - Miles Davis.

Luckey was born in Dallas, on March 5, 1920, and began his musical

training in elementary school, on the piano.

At age 14, he took up the saxophone, following the path of jazz

legends Lester Young and Chu Berry. Three years later, Luckey was

playing in local clubs.

After graduating from Booker T. Washington High School, Luckey

attended Sam Houston College and Alabama State Teachers College, with

the idea of becoming a music teacher.

But in 1944, Fats Ford, a trumpet player also at Alabama State,

recommended Luckey to Louis Armstrong. Luckey dropped out of college

and joined the legendary trumpeter's band in Chicago that year for a

U.S. tour.

In January 1945, Luckey was playing at the Zanzibar Club in Manhattan,

said his family. One night after a gig he went down to the Majestic

Ballroom on 49th Street where he met Myrtle Mae Medley, a vocalist.

A few nights later, Luckey and Medley met at a subway platform in

Harlem, said Luckey's son, Warren Martin Luckey, the family historian.

"They walked up to each other and had a kiss before they started to

talk," he said.

They were married in 1946, the same year Luckey left Armstrong's band

to join Gillespie's first big band.

When Gillespie's band chose to tour Europe, Luckey decided to stay in

New York with his family, moving to Long Island.

For 12 years, he was the bandleader at the Manhattan and Brooklyn Baby

Grand clubs and worked with comedians Redd Foxx and Nipsey Russell,

Silver said.

By the '60s, Luckey was a studio musician for Capital, Victor and

Columbia labels.

Luckey appeared on Aretha Franklin's studio recording of "The Great

Aretha Franklin" made by Columbia between 1960 and 1961. But he didn't

think much about it at the time. "He took this stuff for granted

because he had played with Dizzy Gillespie," Silver said.

Through the '80s, Luckey played at clubs on the Island, including

Sonny's Place in Seaford.

He also was a central, if taciturn, role model for his five children.

"My father was a quiet, introverted musical genius who thought in

melodies," said Warren Martin Luckey.

In 1983, Luckey developed a neuromuscular disorder, which made

performing difficult.

In the 1990s, audiences could still hear Luckey playing gigs on Long

Island with his daughter, Paulette Luckey Silver, who started singing

in 1991.

"He was my mentor, and my musical teacher," she said. "He was

demanding of excellence."

Luckey is survived by two daughters, Patricia Luckey Kennedy of North

Port, Fla., and Paulette Luckey Silver of Huntington; three sons,

David of Uniondale, Warren Martin of Long Beach, Calif., and Charles

of Dallas; 10 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

He was buried next to his wife in the Cemetery of the Holy Rood in


<Note: He also recorded with Thelonious Monk, Jimmy Scott, Sonny

Sitt, Milt Jackson, Ray Brown, Kenny Clarke, Budd Johnson, Charlie

Parker, Shelly Manne, Tommy Allison, Kenny Burrell, Cab Calloway, Milt

Hinton ... and was the sax player on several of the Mickey & Sylvia



Luckey is often listed as Lucky in several discographies (the Lord, not Bruynick).

The session where Bird borrowed his tenor sax from Luckey must be the Miles Davis All Stars session from August 14, 1947 for Savoy. 'Milestones', 'Little Willie Leaps', 'Half Nelson' and 'Sippin' at Bells' - all with Parker on tenor - were recorded on this date.

Edited 23 Jul 2005 by brownie

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