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

Pittsburgh lost a true legend and gentleman with the passing of Dr. Kwasi Jayourba on Tuesday, 11/4/14. He was a great teacher, performer, mentor, colleague, and most of all, my friend. Kwasi had an amazing life and career, and performed with jazz greats such as Groove Holmes, Jimmy McGriff, Earl Garner, and Sonny Stitt. He also was friend with such greats as Max Roach, Miles Davis, and Armando Perazza. I will miss his many stories and am fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from him as well as perform with him with John McDonald and the Mango Men, Dr. Kwasi and the Islanders, and RML Jazz. Thank you Kwasi for 20 years of friendship.

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Comment by Rick Laus on November 9, 2014 at 3:52am
Kwasi had quite a few sculptures in his drum studio as well many interesting drums he made. I don't know if the sculptures were his, but his art work on his drums were pretty cool. Kwasi talked about his art gallery quite a few times, and was very proud of it. I learned some drum making techniques from him, and have used what he taught me to restore and custom make some drums. Kwasi was an amazing person, and I am very fortunate to have known him. His last gig was with my jazz group at the nursing home not long after he moved there. He still had the chops and I even have a rough recording of him playing St. Thomas with us. He truly inspired everyone in the band with his playing.
Comment by Michele Bensen on November 8, 2014 at 11:55pm

So very sorry to hear of the passing of my friend Kwasi Jayourba. I met him in the 70's and had the good fortune to work with him only a few times in my career. Yes, he was all those things you mentioned, plus he was a gifted artist and I remember his art gallery he had on East Carson Street on the Southside of Pittsburgh. In fact my daughter and I helped him and some other friends also to clear out the space and prepare it for the opening. He was a wonderful sculptor. Wish I had some picture of his work,it was outstanding. My deepest condolences to his whole family.  

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