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


By Basil Walters Observer staff reporter
Friday, March 20, 2009
With an increasing number of local entertainers becoming more caring and reaching out to the less fortunate among their fellowmen, recording artiste, vocalist/musician and producer Benjy Myaz once more strikes the right chord.
Myaz.... it's within my mission statement to help autistic kids in Jamaica, those talented ones
Joining the growing list of Jamaican artistes who are a part of the trend of going beyond just highlighting in their music unsavoury social conditions affecting their communities and the world at large, Benjy Myaz, has decided to use his multi-faceted talents in championing two well-deserved causes for which he is seeking the assistance of the United Nation.
The vehicle he intends to use to achieve this goal is his latest project, which is his first instrumental set out of four recorded albums to date. The proceeds from the sale of this 16-track product, titled You've Got Me, will be donated to help children suffering from autism in Jamaica as well as starving kids in Darfur, Africa.
"A part of this project will be dedicated to the Autistic Association or whatever organisation that deals with autism in Jamaica," Benjy Myaz told Splash. "That's within my mission for a very long time," he goes on, "That's within my mission statement to help autistic kids in Jamaica, those talented ones. I'll be using the money from that production to help them to be trained in music. So that's already an established thing in my mission statement."
Autism is a brain development disorder characterised by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behaviour among young children. Explaining his other commitment about which he speaks passionately the highly professional musician has added his voice to the international crusade called Save Darfur Project.
"Darfur has become a second project for me. So we'll do autism in Jamaica, helping kids who have musical talent who have autism, and we'll go outside of Jamaica and we'll be assisting Africa where we can in terms of starvation. So this project is dedicated to the whole Save Darfur Project. So that's why I am planning to address this whole thing with the United Nations and try to get them on board before I release the project. As a part of a global commitment from them to me to help me launch the product even in other places apart Jamaica," Benjy Myaz said.
Sharing with this reporter, the reason behind his motivation for taking on the Save Darfur Project, he related the following experience. "In 2000 I had the opportunity to play with Jimmy Cliff at the International Telefood Festival in Ocho Rios, at James Bond Beach. And while I was eating backstage, I recognised why we were there playing. I recognised we were there playing to raise money to buy food for starving children around the world. I decided to get involved by seeking out which country would appeal to me more to be part of such movement and Darfur seems to be one of the countries with nuff, nuff, nuff starvation and whole heap of drought and all these things. Seven years no rain. "
It's not surprising therefore that included on You've Got Me are covers of Marvin Gaye's What's Going On and Dennis Brown's Love Has Found Its Way (in my heart today), now taking on a deeper meaning than the original. Then there is also the Randy Crawford smash, Knocking On Heaven's Door.
"Sixteen tracks on the CD, all instrumentals. The album is called You've Got Me. It features my bass guitar because that's my passion instrument. I play several instruments, but that's the special instrument because of the inspiration from Stanley Clarke and all the great bass players. I wanted to do an album that would feature the bass guitar up front as a melody instrument to bring forward a different presentation of the bass. There are certain songs with harmonies and scathing, because it is a jazz-fused album with reggae fusion....but there's no song featuring a lead vocal... it's a different concept. This will be my fourth album. But my first instrumental project. This project has been in production even before I recorded vocals (for the first time) in 1993. This is a gift from me to the world," explained Benjy.

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