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

Bill Hartung featured in Front Porch Theatricals' Cabaret Fundraiser

Producer Leon Zionts, left, and
Front Porch Theatricals' Cabaret Fundraiser

#MusicFromTheFrontPorch: Pittsburgh’s boutique summer musical company, Front Porch Theatricals, presented a grand night for singing and a 2018 season announcement Monday night at the Cabaret at Theater Square, Downtown. More than a dozen performers from 2017 productions “Violet” and “Big Fish,” and a few from the past six seasons, joined forces for medleys from those shows and personal selections. Front Porch producers Leon and Nancy Zionts and Bruce E.G. Smith capped off the night by announcing the upcoming season — “Grey Gardens,” with director Robyne Parrish, and “A New Brain,” with Connor McCanlus at the helm. 

#BigFishStory: It was announced that the August production of “Big Fish” became Front Porch’s first show to sell out all of its performances. Star Billy Hartung, a Broadway actor and head of Mt. Lebanon’s Center for Theater Arts, joined cast members in a medley, lifting stage son Mario Williams onto his shoulders once more, then sang with his daughter Elizabeth, the oldest of his six children with wife Sharon.

#NightOfStars: The fundraiser moved Downtown after quickly outgrowing last year’s venue, Club Cafe. Performers included Elizabeth Boyke (the title role in “Violet”), Hope Anthony, Lindsay Bayer, Matt Calvert, Erich Lascek, David Leong, Alex Manalo, Danny Mayhak, Kristiann Menotiades, Missy Moreno, Daniel Pivovar, Mario Williams, Corwin Stoddard, David Toole, Becki Toth and Jonathan Visser. Past directors on the scene included Spencer Whale, Stephen Santa and Scott Calhoun.

#SEEN: The producers thanked Pittsburgh Public Theater’s Ted Pappas for his mentorship and Pittsburgh CLO’s Mark Fleischer, both in attendance. Event co-chairs were Rita and David Pollock, Marlene and Art Silverman, and Nikki and Travis Williams. The VIP Host Committee was Joan and Bob Peirce, Laurie and Harry Zionts, and Shirley Zionts.  Event Hosts were Gail and Norman Childs, Elise and Nathaniel Hunter, Susan and Greg Kaminski, Mary Kay and Ollie Poppenberg, and Lynn and Joseph Smith. 

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