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
Bill Labant
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  • Jacksonville, AL
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Pittsburgh Connection
Al Dowe Etta Cox John Papi John Gerrick
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About Me:
I started playing drums early on and played at weddings and ethnic clubs in the South Side of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Later I played with various bands and singers, including Jimmy Beaumont, and did shows with the Coasters, Drifters, Gary US Bonds, and Little Anthony during the mid-late sixties. I was drafted in 1966 and auditioned for the Army Band...duties included playing drums in the concert, jazz, stage band, and various USO shows.

I had the honor of working with many of the great Pittsburgh musicians, including Teri Rini, Al Dowe, Etta Cox, Rich Munoz, John Gerrick, Johny Vann, John Papi, Harold Betters, Jack Petit and other well-known entertainers.

During my "day gig" years and corporate travels, I had the pleasure of playing with musicians in Georgia, Southern California, and Alabama, as well as a number of studio musicians from L.A., including Ted Zahn, Vance Gloster and Rick Meadows.
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At 7:51pm on February 13, 2011, JOHN PAPI said…


 GOOD AS ALWAY TO HEAR FROM MY MAN, And it brings back loads of thoughts of the old days from playig music and kicking butts at the Haunted House on RT 51  ..I    AM SURE IF YOU WERE UP IN PGH.PA YOU WOULD WORK ALL THE  TIME..When you think about the old days you can'nt help think of SHAW.. man i miss them days, and was shock to find out years later of his passing GOD BLESS Shaw and his family..Thanks Bill Talk soon  JP



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