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

“ A small town music buff. I can’t tell you were it started or even when , it may have been the heart thumping beat of Grand Master flash, or My dads Honky tonk blasting loudly or even the trumpets…

“ A small town music buff.

I can’t tell you were it started or even when , it may have been the heart thumping beat of Grand Master flash, or My dads Honky tonk blasting loudly or even the trumpets of George Betters as he tooted a few tunes as the sun went down sitting there on his stoop here in Connellsville. What ever it was I was hooked, nothing like it has pleased or consoled me more then the music of the “streets.” Growing up in a small town with a very small amount of love for “that music “made it hard for me to exist peacefully.

Growing up I had my labels, labels given to me by those that thought my tastes were less then proper. I remember a few times as I carried my boom box proudly down the street I was threatened or harassed because it was alien to them. It never did get any better for years I was an out cast because my love was against the grain and I know it closed a lot of doors on me. After a few ass kickings I received and a lot of finger pointing from those that hated because of ignorance I decided to fly my own flag and be me, who else was I going to be. So a few others like me joined together and made a dance group. We were inspired by the dance style of Break dancing, a crazy that caught on later throught out the world. We had t-shirts made and would drag pieces of card board around doing our best to dance like the music told us to dance.

It was the hardest in those days; I remember a lot of problems with the local police following us around pushing us from every corner in the city. “Get your white N*&*&R ass going” they used to say, so I would proudly turn up the beat as I ran into the woods scared as hell hoping they wouldn’t tell my father………..I think those days molded me into the man I am today, I Thank the music for showing my way and teaching me that I am free to choose even if I have to fight for freedom…Just a few months ago my mother un-pack my group shirt, the one we got as a dance group. A non sleeved red shirt with” electric heart beat “ written across the front, she told my youngest son of my times as a “boogie-er” when I was his age( around 10-12).He made me almost cry when he wore it for two weeks straight proudly telling everyone he met ,that” it was his dads shirt when he used to pro street dance“ It was more like try not to get hurt dancer..:)………..Check back I’ll add more to the life and time of a small town music buff. Peace….CWR

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Comment by CWR (Fan of Culture) on June 11, 2008 at 5:57am
For a period in history music lost its way. It was no longer needed to be a great lyricist or even now how to play an instrument. Music now had to be good enough to fit between news breaks and movie song tracks. It was a wide brush stroke that not only covered music it covered the arts in general. Everything had to have a message; it all had to make a (pointless) point. The times of a good Jam or a creative mind was over. Soon MTV decided who was worthy of our attention, showing one hit wonders and music “asking for the permission to be anti-.” However the sub culture was still there. New poets and master salesmen were on the move fighting for the right to be heard right alone with the fake bands and lip-sync groups .Music still had a great base but it was the message they were stomping down…Money talks so street walked.

Life started to get confusing in my home. I was raised as an ignorant hell cat; they tried to correct their mistakes but they did it to fast. I soon ran away and found myself on the streets. Just 14 and I had no idea what I was going to do, so I did everything wrong. At this time I had nothing no friends no home and no music. One day as I was trying to find some money and a hustler gave me a few dollars to carry stuff into an old building, later it was in the news” stolen items found.” Boy I got myself into a big mess.

Soon I was working in a after hours bar for the hustler , ducking bottles and getting the riot act read to me by Cops from the constant raids.The times in the bars as the lights flashed and the room bumped was well worth the freedom. I befriended an old Veteran who let me sleep in the junk yard with him, he worked in the bar also, he had music and I had a knife. We protected each other and became good friends. I got an old radio from Goodwill and soon had my head back on. My lonely nights were brightened by the late night collage stations playing the music with bite. I cleared my head and realized I needed to go find something better, but this life didn’t want me to go just yet. Two years and I was tired, I decided to leave for home the next morning, but my Vet friend asked me to go on a road trip. I got into this old truck with a broken steering wheel and knew it was going to be a bad night. Black Sabbath was playing in the cassette player as we drove into the dark. The two speakers beat out a warrior's song as we busted up fence post and yard trinkets The Vet drank as fast as he could before we came to a bar. As we ride there is a shot gun shell rolled back and fourth on the dash. I never asked what it was for, but I knew someone was going to die tonight. After a few minutes the Vet got nerves to go inside the bar, but he only stays a few seconds. In rage he came out, rammed two cars and speed down the country road. As we miss car after car on the roads I could think of nothing else but that the music sucked for the ride, he put in “a Country boy can serve” by Hank Williams. Out of nowhere I was slammed to the dash, the Vet did the same. I remember an old man walking the Vet crying and the bright lights of a cigarette ash, then nothing. My Vet friend shot himself in the forehead, and that man I seen was also hit. Before you know it I’m listening to that damned hockey theme song (dan a na a nan da na na nana Hay!) in the back of a Cop car.My friends dead and I'm in hot water. Man I had to go and I did- back to my biggest mistake I ever made.

I when home with my tail planted firmly between my legs. I gave in and followed the crowd; I didn’t have to be good I just had to be like them. I couldn’t take it, and my father said, "you’re like me either labor or the military", boy he lied to me. He worked very little and never served. I joined anyway ,SO I used it as my escape and I took my music with me. A white boy listening to L. Armstrong, and Ac/dc had no friends not here. I thought the Military would be different, no racism no bigotry more open. Wrong. So I found myself scouring the flea markets and junk shops for the under ground music the music for my generation, those that only see in shades of ‘The beats.” I focused on my sound tracks and tried to forget nothing will change for me.
Comment by CWR (Fan of Culture) on May 13, 2008 at 3:06am
13 and something’s got-a give.

"Play the funky music white boy ", got me up in the morning and "Public Enemy" put me to bed most of the time over the next few years. Don’t get me wrong I was not a funky white boy; I was an “anarchist “at heart. I didn’t want anything to do with my town, at the time a backwards hell hole in the ground. I grew up listening to the ignorant rants of hate. Having my guts churn every time my father and his friends talked about anyone not white & right. I just didn’t understand it all. But so many know how that feels and MORE. So along with the street beat that made me feel good I also plugged in the likes of Punk rock Icons the “Sex Pistols Ac/Dc War", and many groups that’s main focus was to rebel.

Music kept me in check then and music keeps me in check now. It was my hiding place from my world. Music gave me courage in the face of danger music gave me peace on those stormy nights, music keep me from conforming to those that I wanted nothing to do with. So it’s no surprise I used music as my guide taking the stories and messages from its lines & directing my life’s chooses on them.

It may sound strange to base ones life on the words from songs, however it was not like I had a lot of chooses. I was a small town poor kid in a city that was dying in front of me everyday. The beautiful streets of yester year blighted with closing factors and drug addicted friends. Not to mention I was unable to read (today an easy issue to over come.)But then I was a troubled child with no attention span, distended to be a bum with no more then a labors skill. I was left to my own in school unable to keep up, so I sunk back into music. AAA!!! The music, the notes rapped in the poetic messages of prophets, notes struck perfectly to accent the writer’s perspective messages.

Soon my outer self matched the inner me, and all hell broke loose. Powered by Bob Marley, Ozzy Osborne and Comedian Richard Pryor (to name a few) I was unstoppable, my mind would never be changed by fear again. Soon the music took me to places I will never forget. Small rooms filled with angry man-boys slam dancing to lighting fast music and hate. Bright red Mohawks and pins in the face was the uniform. Music took me to smoke filled bars with sexy shining woman and dark characters on the con. Music took me face to face with death, face to face with revolution face to face with my fears...My town didn’t change much I did and soon the military started to call…… Man what worlds it opened for me…and music played its tunes all the way....…….. Come back again it gets better I'm sure.

Peace CWR

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