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
Yah I know...I'm hopelessly out of date. I STILL think "album" sounds cooler than "CD".

Anyway....we're in the later stages of doing a recording that's been in the planning stages since the summer of 06. In Jan. 07 I did some things at Stark Lake Recording in Orlando, Florida. The people involved in that session included Richard Drexler on bass, John Jenkins, drums, Jeff Rupert, tenor, and John Allred on trombone. (is Allred the finest player today? I sure couldn't argue the point.) Jeff Rupert sounds just marvelous on "Quintessence" and the whole quartet cooks on "One By One". John and I did several piano/bone duos that will make it onto the album. There will also be a couple of solo piano things.

Skip to late March of this year and we finally did the second session...this time at Manfred Knoops GREAT studio in's really one of the HOT studios for jazz recordong now. He has a WONDERFUL Hamburg Steinway that just SINGS...a great instrument! For this session I wrote a couple of tunes as well as did some arrangements for 3 horns and rhythm. Pulling from the awesome NYC pool of players, the session features Frank Basile on Bari (Vanguard Band...Michale Buble), John Allred once again...and Jim Rotondi on trumpet...what a great player! The rhythm session includes Todd Coolman on bass (Marion McPartland, James Moody) and, of course, the truly astonishing Vinnie Colaiuta (virtually EVERYONE) on drums. I played with Vinnie years ago and it was just a total BLAST to have this musical (and otherwise) reunion. It's no wonder he's commonly considred the finest drummer today. His fans will LOVE this album....they will hear him in settings he seldom gets to play in. Highlights of this session include my Afro Cuban arrangement of Sonny Rollin's "Airegin" and a great original by Producer Scott Elias called "SweetBop".

Finally, next week we conclude recording in Nashville with singer Jimmy Hall. Jimmy has been the MD for Hank WIlliams for some time now and was the voice of Wet Willie. He has a wonderful "Blue Eyed Soul" kind of thing going on that will be great on the things we have planned. We have a swinging arrangement of "Down Here on the Ground" for well as a kind of suite of music having to do with New Orleans (where I lived for 5 years and still consider my second home).

Then it's back to Orlando for mixing/mastering, etc. It's been a very exciting project and I am anxious to hear the finished product. I think it's going to be good...real good (and I'm not usually one to say that!).

I'll update progress as we go along. The albu....err......CD....should be out later this summer!

Thanks for to y'all later!

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Comment by Mark Koch on August 15, 2008 at 3:42pm
Hey Jeff
Congrats on the new CD....Album!!!
Let me know when it's coming out, will you do a release party (lack of a better term) here in the 'burgh. email

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