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

Wayne Shorter, sage of the saxophone, dies at 89

4-Minute Listen

Wayne Shorter, photographed in 1985.

David Redfern/Redferns

Wayne Shorter, the 12-time Grammy-winning saxophonist and composer and the creator of one of the singular sounds in contemporary jazz over more than half a century, died on Thursday, March 2 in Los Angeles. Shorter was 89 years old.

Cem Kurosman, a publicist at Blue Note Records, which released Shorter's recent recordings, confirmed his death in an email to NPR.

Stream Wayne Shorter's Essential Recordings

Shorter's influential career spanned decades. From the hard bop of the late 1950s to genre-defying small-group jazz in the '60s all the way through the birth of rock-influenced jazz in the '70s, Shorter's soprano and tenor saxophones offered sonic clarion calls for change and innovation.

Wayne Shorter, born Aug. 25, 1933, in Newark, N.J., was known as a deep thinker on and off the bandstand, ingrained with an intense curiosity that began during his childhood. After studying music at New York University in the mid-1950s, he joined a band that brought him to the attention of the jazz world as a composer and saxophonist: Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.

In the mid-'60s, Shorter solidified the second coming of the Miles Davis Quintet, joining Davis, bassist Ron Carter, drummer Tony Williams and pianist Herbie Hancock. It was there that he was able to indulge a passion for the intellectual that once prompted one of his NYU professors to wonder why he wasn't a philosophy major.

"The six years I was with Miles we never talked about music," Shorter told NPR in 2013. "Miles, on his table, he had scores of Koussevitzky, the conductor ... and then he had another book on architecture and another book on law. Just sitting on the table. And then he'd talk about clothes and fashion."

During his time with Davis, Wayne Shorter also recorded a series of highly regarded solo albums. His relationship with the iconic Blue Note Records from 1964-1970 resulted in a number of now-classic recordings including Juju (recorded with members of John Coltrane's quartet), Speak No Evil (recorded with two fellow Miles Davis bandmates) and The Soothsayer (featuring fellow Blue Note artist Freddie Hubbard). Many of the albums contained Shorter compositions that are now considered jazz standards.

He stayed with Davis after the breakup of the second quintet, when the trumpeter experimented with electric instruments. Shorter then joined another Davis alum, keyboardist Joe Zawinul, to co-found Weather Report, which became one of the most renowned jazz-rock bands of the '70s. The band's 1979 album, 8:30, resulted in the first of Shorter's dozen Grammy Awards. He was awarded the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 2015.

In a statement released by Shorter's publicist Alisse Kinglsey, Hancock, described as Shorter's "closest friend for more than six decades," wrote, "Wayne Shorter, my best friend, left us with courage in his heart, love and compassion for all, and a seeking spirit for the eternal future. He was ready for his rebirth. As it is with every human being, he is irreplaceable and was able to reach the pinnacle of excellence as a saxophonist, composer, orchestrator, and recently, composer of the masterful opera '...Iphigenia'. I miss being around him and his special Wayne-isms but I carry his spirit within my heart always."

The latter part of Wayne Shorter's life was marked by almost 50 years of devotion to Nichiren Buddhism, a Japanese strain of the popular religion.

"I was hearing about Buddhism," Shorter told NPR in 2013. "But then I started to look into it and I started to open up and find out what was going on in the rest of the world instead of the west."

Those spiritual teachings influenced the musical ideas he applied to jazz at the start of the new millennium when he formed the Wayne Shorter Quartet featuring a handpicked group of much younger musicians.

The group's recorded work was captured by Shorter's return to Blue Note Records after over four decades with a series of releases that showcased the band's intense improvisations on Shorter compositions old and new.

As recently as 2018, with the release of his acclaimed final album, Emanon, Wayne Shorter continued to find the common ground between the spiritual and the musical.

"We have a phrase [in Buddhism]: hom nim yoh," he said in the 2013 NPR interview."It means 'From this moment forward is the first day of my life.' So put 100 percent into the moment that you're in because the present moment is the only time when you can change the past and the future."

CorrectionMarch 2, 2023

An earlier version of this story miscounted the number of Grammy Awards Wayne Shorter won before his death. He has won 12 Grammys.

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National Endowment for the Arts Statement on the Death of NEA Jazz Master Wayne Shorter  

Black man in gray suit in wheelchair with medal with rainbow colored bow around his neck.

NEA Jazz Master Wayne Shorter was named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 2018. Photo by Scott Suchman, courtesy of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Washington, DC—It is with great sadness that the National Endowment for the Arts acknowledges the passing of saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter, recipient of a 1998 NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor in jazz. Equally renowned for his compositions as for his saxophone playing, Shorter contributed many songs to the jazz canon while participating in some of the major changes in jazz music for more than 50 years. He received 12 Grammy Awards for his recordings and, in 2015, was recognized with a lifetime achievement honor from the Recording Academy.

In an interview with the Smithsonian Jazz Oral History Program, Shorter described what he gravitates to in music: “Struggle and victory. Struggle and victory and overcoming…or a question mark. A question mark in music. I’m listening for something that’s saying, 'No beginning, no end.’”

Shorter's musical pursuits started on the clarinet, at age 16, evolving to the tenor saxophone soon thereafter. Shorter majored in music education at New York University from 1956 to 1958, working for a short while with Horace Silver in 1956. After serving in the Army, he joined Maynard Ferguson's band for a couple of months in 1959, followed by one of his most fruitful jobs: playing with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers. He remained in the Messengers until 1964, establishing himself as both composer and saxophonist, and began making his own records, first for Vee Jay, then for the Blue Note label. His three releases for Blue Note in 1964, Night Dreamer, Juju, and Speak No Evil, are considered the quintessential Blue Note sound: sophisticated structures and rhythms, strong melodies, and exceptional playing.

He left Blakey in 1964 to assume another productive affiliation with the Miles Davis Quintet, where he remained until 1970. While with Davis, he further solidified his position as one of the most intriguing composers of his time, contributing tunes such as "Nefertiti," "Fall," "ESP," "Paraphernalia," and "Sanctuary." He also developed his sound, a mixture of technique and emotion, able to find the appropriate mood in his playing to fit the song. During the latter stages of his tenure with Davis, he took up the soprano saxophone, which thereafter often became his principal horn. In 1971, he and pianist Joe Zawinul, who also had been part of Davis' recording sessions in the late-1960s to early-1970s, formed one of the pioneering jazz fusion bands, Weather Report. The band stayed together for 15 years through several different permutations, engaging electronics and numerous ethnic influences and furthering Shorter's reputation as a composer. The band scored a major hit, "Birdland," in 1977 on their bestselling record, Heavy Weather.

After the breakup of Weather Report, Shorter made occasional recordings and tours, continuing to write intriguing music based on the influences from other musical cultures. His work was a major influence on the generations of musicians who have entered the scene since the 1970s. In 2001, he began touring and releasing recordings with a new quartet comprising Danilo Pérez on piano, John Patitucci on bass, and Brian Blade on drums. In 2016, Shorter was named a Guggenheim Fellow, and he was a 2018 Kennedy Center Honoree.

Shorter, who originally studied as a visual artist, pursued the visual arts as well as music throughout his life. In 2018, at age 85, he released his final album, Emanon, which included his own science fiction comic, written with Monica Sly and illustrated by Randy DuBurke.

In 2021, Shorter composed an opera called Iphigenia, with a libretto by esperanza spalding and set designs from architect Frank Gehry, which premiered at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to rave reviews.



Re: Blue Note CDP 7-84104-2

Can be recited or sung to "Contemplation" by Wayne Shorter, Miyako Music - BMI

Lyrics by Nelson E. Harrison, Timeslice Music/Mayah Publishing, Inc. - ASCAP

[412-441-4545] /


Within… my mind…

I dream a world of p… eace for all mankind…

With peacethe joy of life

Will abide in each heart…


The silence fills…

My consciousness as my trembling stills…

And soon… the golden dawn…

Will awake from the night…



Love's… melody forever sings

A music of pure peace…

And each… soul is a living note…

Being played from on high…

Never to die… That is why…


The harmony…

Created when two people fall in love…

Comes through a contemplation

Of song from above…




Life… contemplating soul…

Inspires… the spirit to awake…

Arise!   Enter the silence with…

Your heart opened wide…

And you'll receive…

What you believe…








Is real…  You'll feel…

The dawning of the golden sun shine from within…

And every Contemplation of Love

Is a song… singing in your soul…


Author Copyright © 1995 - 2022 by Nelson E. Harrison, ASCAP PAu 2-413-092

All rights Reserved without Prejudice

Article 1 Constitution of the United States and 1-207 U.C.C.


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