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

Jazz and Poetry Birthday Jam - April 23, 2021

Dear Nelson,

We should all look as well and have as much warmth and enthusiasm as you. You are a walking - talking treasure! We were all so honored that you took the time to share your history, spread your joy and allow us to soak up your knowledge and wisdom. You are a true example of the power of eternal student, continually developing for eldership, building blocks for ongoing generations. Who would want to stay young? We could have stayed another hour, and neither Judge Watson or you seemed to get tired.
There are so many things for which we are thankful:  the sparkle of fresh grass and flowers after a spring rain, the blast of colors that decorate the leaves on the trees in fall, the spirited blush of the blazing summer sun, and the glistening bright light of snow in winter. Of course we must listen to the rhythm. Being thankful for small things leads to big blessings. 

Your contribution was a magnificent blessing to our literary community. You helped show the value of life and living in the world. We will encourage all to subscribe to your website. You make us all so, so proud. We say thank you "because our faith is so strong that we don't doubt that whatever the problem, we'll get through it. There is a rainbow in the clouds,” says Maya Angelou. You are part of that rainbow. Thank you for BEING.

Lorena Amos Brock, UBBCP President

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Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on April 28, 2021 at 3:26am

Thanks for sharing. This is one of warmest thank you messages I’ve ever seen. It is well deserved, and it affirms the my sensing that the audience didn’t want you to stop. I,, too, could have listened  to your stories all night. I’m thankful that you have the ability and means to share all that you have experienced. It enriches all those who hear.

--Joyce Harris

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