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
Ralph Lamar Smith
  • 70, Male
  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • United States
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Ralph Lamar Smith commented on Dr. Nelson Harrison's blog post Why Is Everyone Always Stealing Black Music? - The New York Times
"Reminds me of the duck hunters quacking instruments, do they REALLY think the ducks don`t know the difference or the purpose. It`s not a LOVE or dinner call."
Aug 27, 2019

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Pittsburgh Connection
Schenley Grad
Favorite Pittsburgh musicians/performers
Schenley Grads...Eric johnson, Jack Turner, Tubby Daniels to name a few.
Favorite Jazz Radio or media station
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About Me:
Father of 6. I have enjoyed jazz since the age of 10. I dream music that some day i hope to play. I am trying to teach myself piano, guitar and woodwinds
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fan, student

Comment Wall (6 comments)

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At 4:55pm on July 2, 2010, Kevin Hurst, Sr. said…
That night was so amazing at PD's and there were not many listeners but good ones. That Pgh. lady who resides in State College( and sang great) remembered me from playing there and knowing her daughter. Carl knew prominent Harrisburg musicians , one being my uncle. I did not spend enough time with Dan! Just was great to sit in on a Wednesday and hear a varied music by some good cats.
At 5:17pm on July 1, 2010, Kevin Hurst, Sr. said…
Sorry I had you mixed up with someone else, the other cat was Carl Murphy who was with us. Was just a nice night with the listening folks who were there. Wish we could have more but the ones there were great spirited!- kev
At 12:58am on June 2, 2010, Kevin Hurst, Sr. said…
Man you swung on those drums at PDs! Yeah you are a student, mentor and a great role model, an honor to meet you. There will be more times- kevin
At 12:56am on June 2, 2010, Kevin Hurst, Sr. said…
Oh big RESPECT to the Sharp mind! The man who wrote Amazing grace captained cargo ships which carried SLAVES and had a conversion. Realizing his complicity he wrote the hymn and used their scales he heard those suffering souls used over and over. He did not 'rip' the slaves off but immortalized their experience! Stephen Foster heard African -American church music in Pittsburgh and only went down south and heard slaves once. He sold 'Oh Susanna', 'Comin' Round The Mountain', 'Jeannie With The Light Brown ' etc. for hundreds and others made thousands. The U.S. patent office was not up and running,neither ripped off black culture but helped others hear it!. Thanx for remembering my Uncle Ditty, Art Davis, John Brown, etc. all Harrisburg masters. Bobby Selvey is a wonderful person I met as an adult but I grew up next to his father who was old enough to be my grandfather! My dad's (from Elmira N. Y.) grandfather was Lionel Hampton's chauffeur, gotta play with you and talk again!- kevin hurst
At 4:03am on June 1, 2010, Kevin Hurst, Sr. said…
Had a great time playing with you and my brother Dan at PD's. Hope to do it again soon. I am not an expert and one can only be more or less expert. I 'll stick to blowing the horns, every thing else is done for the ears (or senses)! - kev
At 3:07am on June 19, 2009, Dr. Nelson Harrison said…
Welcome Ralph,

Someone with a lifelong love for jazz will certainly feel at home here among others of like mind. You never get too old to learn how to play an instrument and we encourage you to continue your pursuit. Your enjoyment will only increase with each step. Thank you fro joining and please add me as a friend.



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