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

Friends! I hope this message meets you well!! So the world sometimes seems to be off its nut a bit more than usual lately.... and so to not get too crazy myself I'm just staying super busy. I'm a voi…

Friends! I hope this message meets you well!! So the world sometimes seems to be off its nut a bit more than usual lately.... and so to not get too crazy myself I'm just staying super busy. I'm a voice teacher now, I teach youth voice lessons at Afro American Music Institute and We Rock Workshop. I'm performing with my jazz band The Cultural District and also with The Lemington Gospel Chorale. I have been spending a bulk of my time working super hard on this project I've been building with Liz Berlin. She's been my friend for over 2 decades and our project "Social Justice Disco: Songs to Fight Fascists By" is really one of the few things keeping me sane right now.

As a musician, an artist, it's my sacred duty to respond to reality through song. I am called to tell the stories as I see them through melody, harmony and rhythm. I have since my youth been passionate about peace and justice. This is an album I have been preparing to create for decades. I'm blessed beyond reason that my friendship with Liz Berlin has brought me to a place where it's becoming reality. I could not build this music without her and we can't truly build it without you. We're not making this music by or for ourselves. We're able to make it because so many have been generous with their resources, both creative and financial. 

This is my last personal ask to you to support this album. I have less than a week on our Pledge Music campaign and I'm sure all my friends and fans are like "why is she still asking for help with this album and why isn't it out yet?!?" And I want to explain to you.... I'm a working artist. I don't make a lot of money in this world. I did the math...  in my 22 years of performing as Phat Man Dee I have spent $50000 recording music. I have paid musicians, hired local studios, paid local artists and I am proud of our collective work. I am proud of the recordings and I feel like I have presented the incredible musicians with whom I've been fortunate to work in the best light I could. Sometimes I get a little twinge in my soul that calls me crazy and my inner voice is like "fool you coulda done paid off your house by now" but I quiet it with chord progressions and deeper rhythms. 

I'm not supposed to use language like "" but l can't think of what else I can say except this album I've been birthing with Liz Berlin is the best and hardest thing I've ever done in my life and we need some help. It takes about $15000 to really independently record a record correctly with just a normal sized band, and we have over 50 people on ours. We raised about $3000 last fall and we have about $1100 on our Pledge Music site now, and because Liz owns the studio where we recorded we were spared the biggest of the bills, but we have stretched every dollar til it screams and we can at this moment put the record out but we'll have no money at all for marketing and promotions. And if I learned one thing at the CD Baby conference I went to in Nashville....I learned that the reason people spend so much money on promoting music is because they HAVE to. Great music doesn't just rise to the top. It's not magic, it does have to be good but that's not enough.

Please, I don't want to put this record out and not get it heard by all those who need to hear it. 50 people poured themselves creatively into it and they sound amazing. Don't let it go unheard. 

If you're following me on here then it's because you like what I do. Please support it and help make sure this record gets heard all over the world. Please, I'm working so hard, I have gigs, I teach, I pay bills, I pay local people, I sing at benefits all the time for worthy causes and I just need a little help. I have less than a week on this.

Upcoming gigs!

Friday October 13, 2017

I'll be singing at Center of Asylum with Howard Alexander on piano and Miguel Sague III on conga! 8 pm, all ages! 

Tickets are free but must be reserved:

October 17, 2017 

Tune It! Tuesdays - a community oriented jam session at Black Forge Coffeehouse at 1206 Arlington Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15210

All ages, $3 unless you're coming to sit in, 6-9 p.m.

Evening sponsored by Neighborhood Allies Love My Neighbor grant and Drusky Entertainment and Copies at Carson Inc!

this event happens every 3rd Tuesday through August 2018

One last thing, many people are doing what we can to support Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and the other islands in the Caribbean. In Pittsburgh my friend Gloria is putting together a drive to collect items and here is the info on her Pittsburgh Stands With Puerto Rico drive:

May the Universe and the Great Creator bless and keep you in this time of uncertainty and may truth and justice prevail. 


Phat Man Dee

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