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

Local musicians vs musicians from somewhere else

I don't normally post my thoughts on this site when I am peeved , but I have to clear these thoughts. I played a gig this weekend with three of Pittsburgh"s best musicians: Mark Lucas, Brian Sanders, and Kevin Howard. These three guys as well as myself played with Ronnie Laws at the August Wilson Center a few months back. The guys and I discussed back on the Ronnie gig about how The "audiences" and promoters here in Pgh don't really appreciate the talent that lives here and this weekend was an example of that. If any of you were at Scheneley Park Sunday then you would have seen Marcus Johnson and other out of town musicians. Unfortunately what you didn"t see if you came after three in the afternoon was the  three fore mentioned guys and myself. We were intentionally put in that slot as just "local Musicians." That was a complete insult!!! I moved back here recently from the east coast where I felt the audiences and the musicianship couldn't touch what Pgh has to offer but after this weekend and the disrespect us four musicians received I am extremely disappointed in the promoters of that show. I, like a lot of other Pgh musicians live here because we "choose" too.  I have lived many places and have always chose to come home.  The very same people you rub elbows with on any given night  and the same people you say are so great and that you love to hear play are the same people touring and recording all over America and the world and "we" are local. I have played many places in Europe where people found out I was from Pgh,  I was treated like royalty every time partly based on the reputation of how great "our" , Pgh"s, musical contributions have been. It's time  for the same people lobbying for a jazz radio station or a new jazz venue, ask yourself this question: Before I book so and so from D.C. or New York or anywhere else but from here am I being a hypocrite by promoting some guys from down the turnpike as the best new thing in jazz and yet yoking the cats from my scene? Or am I going to stop "talking" up the scene and help "build up" the scene.   Hypocrite or straight shooter?

Brian E. Edwards

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