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


We Need Your Voice...
I write to you, esteemed Jazz stakeholders, to invite you to lend your input and your voice at Pittsburgh's first-ever
JazzHubs in America Summit. This brand new, nation-wide pilot initiative, created by the Jazz Forward Coalition (JFC), aims to help strengthen the power of a cooperative Jazz market. Through collaborative participation, you can help build a stronger and more robust Pittsburgh Jazz presence. But we need you there! As your local JazzHubs coordinator, I invite you to save the date for Monday, June 26, 2017 to attend the 
JazzHubs in America Pittsburgh Summit. Please find all of the details below, and I look forward to working with you...together!
- Thomas Wendt, Pittsburgh JazzHubs in America, Local Coordinator

Help Build the Future of Jazz in Pittsburgh

Jazz Forward Coalition (JFC) has selected Pittsburgh to host a series of Summits — three meetings taking place over the next 12-15 months — to inform concrete actions that could help make the region a better place to hear, play, and study Jazz. These Summits are part of JFC's pilot initiative called JazzHubs in America. Pittsburgh's own, MCG Jazz has partnered with JFC since its inception to work towards creating tools and opportunities to advance the Jazz Industry. You have been identified as a key stakeholder to take part in this effort; and we hope you’ll consider joining us at this meeting to offer your view on the issues that affect our community:

JazzHubs in America:
Pittsburgh Summit One

Monday, June 26th, 2017
1 - 5 pm
1 Library Place, Munhall, PA 15120

There is no charge to attend the Summit.

Direct questions and RSVP to:

Tom Wendt

JazzHubs in Amercia - Pittsburgh Summit #1 Location - THIS IS RED

"The Hubs"

JazzHubs in America is hosted by four Jazz organizations across the nation tasked to explore a stronger, more robust commercial and cultural Jazz presence — locally and nationally:
The Nash - Phoenix, AZ

MCG Jazz - Pittsburgh, PA
PDX Jazz - Portland, OR
Smithsonian Jazz - Washington, D.C.

JazzHubs in America Receives Doris Duke Grant

Singled out by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s National Projects Fund as the sole award recipient for Jazz,
JazzHubs in America was declared “…an exemplary program to provide an infrastructure for a dynamic exchange of ideas, resources and demand building best practices that can be replicated around the country.” – Maurine Knighton, Program Director, Arts at DDCF 

Who is Jazz Forward Coalition?

Jazz Forward Coalition (JFC) is a diverse and inclusive alliance of Jazz professionals and artists devoted to advancing the genre and industry through coalescence and collective action by building capacity, facilitating partnerships, and increasing demand.

JFC, in partnership with JazzTimes, co-organizes and -hosts the annual Jazz Connect Conference in New York, the largest gathering of Jazz stakeholders in the U.S.

Through collective engagement, JFC also expands their mission by presenting at such conferences as APAP, JEN, and Chamber Music America. JFC continues to work on partnership development and legislative efforts to advance the cause of Jazz. 

Local Contact

Tom Wendt
JazzHubs Local Coordinator

National Contacts

Shannon Wallace
JFC/JazzHubs National Coordinator

Peter Gordon
JFC Founder/CEO

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Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on May 9, 2017 at 9:41pm

Now THAT's what I'm talking about!!! Your brief litany of acts you saw there is such an important eye witness story, especially for those who were not able or too young to have experienced such greatness up close and personal.  You may also remember J. J. Johnson, Monte Alexander, Ahmad Jamal, Sonny Stitt, James Moody to name a few more.  I played there with Harold and used to be his regular sub on Thursdays.  I also played there with my own groups, Andy Bey and Nathan Davis. Art Swiden ruled the venue and later Bobby Davis took over.  Owner Will Shiner would often stop by and Lenny Litman would review the groups for the Post-Gazette.

I saw Chet Baker, Philly Joe Jones, Richard "Groove" Holmes and Ahmad Jamal at Encore II on Liberty.  Keep those memories coming.  YOU WERE THERE!!!

Comment by Shawn Cohen on May 9, 2017 at 9:21pm

Thank you, Dr. Nelson, you are to be commended for this place where we can share our memories. I had a wonderful experience of learning about jazz at the Encore, which was one of THE places to see live jazz being played nightly in Pgh in the mid 1970's. From 1976-79 I saw the great Harold Betters who was the house band at the Encore and his brother Jerry Betters would also come and play and sing. Then the list is long..George Benson came in to celebrate his "Breezin'" LP going up the charts and got up and played there and I remember Art (the manager) calling him, "Little Georgie Benson" because he used to come there as a boy genius to play there with his father! I also worked downtown at the Encore II, my Aunt Betty used to book some of the Jazz acts out of New York to the Encore downtown (how I got the job!) and she also booked comics, so Rodney Dangerfield was one of hers then. I remember Dizzy Gillespie's cheeks blowing up like two balloons when he blew into his trumpet! Never saw anything like it before and I just stood there in front of the stage mesmerized with my drinks tray in my hand! I was waitressing at the time and man, I could not move just watching and listening to Dizzy play! Then there was Cleo Lane, Blossom Dearie (my Aunt booked her too) and Chuck Mangione, Herb Alpert too played the Encore. Duke Ellington, Bobby Blues Bland, Buddy Rich, Sarah Vaughn, just to name a few. The real question is who DIDN'T play there! I was lucky because I heard great jazz live every single night I worked there and what an education! Keep Jazz alive in Pittsburgh, it truly belongs there and has such a rich history of it. To this day, Jazz FM is on my dab radio in my London home every single day...that is because of my early education in Jazz and me and my cat both love it!  

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on May 8, 2017 at 8:31pm


The Encore I was a fabulous place. Please share some of your memories here , on your page or anyplace else on this network.

Comment by Shawn Cohen on May 8, 2017 at 3:37pm

Great idea to keep JAZZ alive and well and growing stronger especially in Pgh which has so many connections to it as a musical form, its history is littered with jazz greats, from artists to legendary venues and smoky clubs! I know, I worked at one, called The Encore, in Shadyside and Downtown in the 1970's...great place, even better Jazz! 

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