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
Sparky Koerner
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Profile Information

Favorite website
Favorite blog
Pittsburgh Connection
Born in Pittsburgh, lived in Manchester till I was 5 moved to Bellevue. Went through Bellevue High School being involved in the bands there and performed a couple of times with a group know as the Major/Minors. After graduation from high school in 1966 joined Air Force and have lived in Louisiana (71-74), Texas (74-78), Mexico (78-80) and now in Texas since 1980 in the Galveston/Houston area.
Favorite Pittsburgh musicians/performers
I just remember as a kid hearing about Harold Betters. Of course now so many greats that I am familar with, Art Blakley, Erroll Garner, Stanley Turrentine, Ray Brown, Billy May, Sammy Nestico, Billy Strayhorn, Henry Mancini, Kenny Clarke, Jeff"Tain" Watts, George Benson, Slide Hampton, Roy Eldridge, Billy Exkstine and others.
Favorite Jazz Radio or media station
Sirius Radio Jazz Cafe
About Me:
I am a musician / educator / trumpet player. I have been teaching at College of the Mainland in Texas City, TX for the past 25 years. I am the leader of Sparky's Jazz Express and a member of Jazz Sunday and have been principal trumpet with the Galveston Symphony Orchestra for 26 years.
For more information on me check out my web sites. The latest web site is you can hear music there also.
Artist or Fan
The following pictures are from the group "Jazz Sunday" that performs many church services in the Houston, TX area. Check out to hear some selections.
Members include: Richard Birk - Leader/trombone, Sparky Koerner-trumpet & flugelhorn, Johnny Gonzales- woodwinds, Tom Borling-piano, Brian Casey-bass Ben Atkinson-drums, and Ellen Rogers-vocals. Our latest CD will be released on September 1, 2008.

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At 11:11pm on July 7, 2008, Dr. Nelson Harrison said…
Welcome Sparky,

What a gas to learn about you and your accomplishments AND to learn you are a native son. consider yourself re-connected to 'Da 'Burgh. I'm sure you'll find some old friends here or at least some information about them. Harold Betters just turned 80 and is still doing it full speed ahead.

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