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
Sounding out STAX in Memphis
8:45 a.m. 7/16/2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
The Afro-American Music Institute's Boys' Choir visited Memphis in an exchange with the STAX Music Academy Youth Tour, who visited Pittsburgh a month or so ago.

AAMI instructor Gabriel Gray filed this report:

July 13th: the Boys' Choir performed and toured at the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. They sang the African National Anthem accapella in the lobby and then toured what was before Dr. King's assassination, the Lorraine Hotel which has been converted into a spectacular and very emotionally heavy museum. We then toured Beale Street and were entertained at the Pepsi Stage by a couple of local blues groups. Later that night everyone went to the Fun Fest where we relaxed and played go carts, bumperboats, video games and more.

July 14th: The AAMI Boys' Choir performed 4 musical selections at SNAP! The STAX Summer Camp Grand Finale celebrating their 50th Anniversary as a record label held at the Cannon Center in Downtown Memphis at 7 pm. The show was spectacular. There were at least 250 children in the program from SNAP! and the Center was packed. It was really a joy to see so many children (especially black children) doing something so positive. The STAX Youth Tour group (after performing at various places such as Cleveland, Pittsburgh and D.C) performed at the program. The Camp participants performed and reenacted all of the songs recorded at STAX Records including "Shaft" by Issac Hayes, "Sitting in the Morning Sun" by Otis Redding and "I'll Take you There" by Mavis Staples. Even the famous "I am Somebody" speech by Rev. Jesse Jackson spoken at the WattsStax Concert was performed by the children. The artistic spin of these historic musical moments was captivating. The Boys' Choir was even heard by the Mayor of Memphis at the program, who has invited the Boys' Choir back to Memphis, all expenses paid.

July 15: The Boys' Choir performed at the Greenwood C.M.E. Church in Memphis, TN. They sang 2 selections and an impromptu "Somethings Got A Hold of Me" It was the church's anniversary which made it the performance especially important. Greenwood is a mega church in Memphis with a congregation of about 2000 people. After the boys ate the lunch provided by the church we all said our good byes to Greenwood C.M.E. and to Memphis and got back on the road headed for Pittsburgh.

July 16: Arrive in Pittsburgh at the Afro-American Music Institute at 6 a.m.

First published on July 16, 2007 at 9:35 am

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