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

Obituary: John Clifford Mosley, Jr. / Multitalented musician from Wilkinsburg

Dec. 7, 1950 - Dec. 15, 2010

Sunday, December 19, 2010

By Dan Majors, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette squirrel

Whether it was as the man blowing the horn on the record or the mentor bringing the talent out of a young musician, John Clifford Mosley Jr. made his mark.

You can still hear him. Listen to the flute being played during the opening of The Isley Brothers' cover of "Spill the Wine." There he is and always will be.

Mr. Mosley, whose musical talents took him from scrappy roots in Homewood-Brushton to stages and studios around the world, died Wednesday after a long illness at his home in Wilkinsburg. He was 60.

His journey began with the call of a trumpet.

"He started playing trumpet when he was around 9 years old and played for the rest of his life," said his sister, Victoria Mosley Rivers. "The trumpet was his main instrument, but he also played the flugelhorn, the long horn and the flute."

Born in Belmar Gardens, Mr. Mosley attended Schenley High School, where he played with the band and the orchestra. He followed the music to clubs such as The Hurricane and Hank and Dawn's on Herron Avenue. The Crawford Grill wouldn't let him in because of his age, so he stood outside and listened to John Coltrane's final Pittsburgh performance.

"Our father died when he was 12 and our mother worked very hard to make sure he had his private lessons," Ms. Rivers said.

Mr. Mosley studied with Anthony Pasquerelli of Carnegie Mellon University and the Pittsburgh Pops Orchestra. Upon graduating from Schenley in 1968, he accepted a scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music in New York and took summer classes at Juilliard. He later attended Mannes College of Music and studied with Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Kenny Durham, Jimmy Owens, Dizzy Gillespie and Woodie Shaw.

"When he was younger, his passion was jazz," his sister said. "He got caught up in that jazz scene in New York in the late '60s and early '70s. He was in the thick of it.

"He was always front and center. He had a powerful sound and mastered his techniques, but he was very versatile and open to changes."

He became one of the most acclaimed jazz sidemen of the 1970s, recording and touring with Roy Haynes and Roy Ayers. By the mid-'70s, he was regularly playing with The Isley Brothers as well as the house band at the Apollo Theater in Harlem and the Cheetah Club in Midtown.

Raynard Ford of Wilkinsburg grew up with Mr. Mosley, attending the same Sunday school in Homewood. As teenagers, they were in the Upward Bound program together, and Mr. Mosley taught Mr. Ford how to play the flute. They were lifelong friends, keeping in touch through the years when Mr. Mosley was on the road with assorted tour dates and jazz festivals.

"He said the road wore him out," Mr. Ford said. "It's a lonely life. You're always moving from city to city. But you do what you have to do to keep yourself up.

"He came back from Houston in the early '80s, and started a group called John Mosley and Jazz Ministry. We played at the Crawford Grill for a few years.

"It was a lot of fun because I was learning. I was inspired. We would play two or three times a week. But the music business wasn't flourishing here at that time. There were good musicians, but this was a smaller city."

Mr. Mosley often played with Roger Humphries' R.H. Factor, as well as with Nelson Harrison, Kenny Blake and Tony Campbell. He then went to San Francisco and then Philadelphia, where his sister lived, and took a job with the Department of Health and Human Services. He called his travels "wilderness wanderings."

In 1995, he returned to Pittsburgh and set about ridding himself of the drug addictions he'd fallen into on the road. He found his salvation in the former St. Francis Hospital and the Union Baptist Church in Swissvale, where he played in the brass section of the gospel group.

In 1997, Mr. Mosley joined Mr. Ford who was starting the Union Baptist Music Workshop, tutoring young musicians.

Asked what attracted him to gospel music, he said, "It moves me inside."

"Sunday was his day for church," his sister said. "But he would always do jazz. He was always pulling together a group and playing the clubs."

Survivors include a daughter, Nicole Mosley of New York City; sons, John Mosley III of Maryland and Jason Mosley of Texas; and two grandchildren.

Visitation is from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Spriggs-Watson Funeral Home, 720 N. Lang Ave., Homewood. A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Union Baptist Church in Swissvale.

Dan Majors: or 412-263-1456.

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Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on December 25, 2010 at 6:09pm
And it shall come to pass in that day that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts of the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem. ---Isaiah 27:13
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on December 22, 2010 at 1:47am
Thank you Timm. You add an insightful and truthful perspective on the life of our departed brother that will enrich his legacy in the minds of those who knew him and those who are only now learning of him.
Comment by timm coxx on December 21, 2010 at 11:11am

Many years before Squirrel returned to the Burgh, in the late 70s, me and my cohorts at Slippery Rock State University and Point Park University would proudly discuss that John was our homeboy. We were bigtime Roy Ayers Ubiquity fans and Squirrel and his long-horned trumpet embellished the smooth funky jazz sounds of RoAyers music. I also recall in the early 80s when Squirrel would return from the road and play his many stints at the local clubs doing jazz at the time. Jazz thrived during the '80s in the Burgh, thanks to influences like WYEP Saturday morning radio led by Kevin Amos; and the original "JazzBurgher" columnist - the late Doug Drown of the Pittsburgh Courier, and at jam-session hotspots on the Hill, East Liberty, Homewood, North Side, Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, Oakland and the South Side. Um ramblin' -- but it's all in homage to brother John C. "Squirrel" Mosely. What a full life in exactly Sixty years! Happy Birthday "Squirrel" and may you forever, Rest In Peace. ---

Comment by Roberta Windle on December 20, 2010 at 10:44pm

God rest your beautiful soul!

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on December 20, 2010 at 9:46pm


There is a very nice obituary about him on the link below.


Visitation is from 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Spriggs-Watson Funeral Home, 720 N. Lang Ave., Homewood. A funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at Union Baptist Church in Swissvale.

I am pretty sure that the funeral is at 11 AM and that there will be another viewing @ the church at 10 AM.

Union Baptist Church Of Swissvale 2117 Collingwood St, Pittsburgh, PA 15218-2525

This is the google link:

The church is close by Monongahela Ave - one of the main streets in Swissvale and I am pretty sure you can access it by the east busway.


Comment by Anthony (Tony) Janflone on December 20, 2010 at 6:46pm

I remember Squirrel from back in the day when I was in a group with Roger Humphries, Mike Taylor, & Rabbit Barnes. We played the Sunday afternoon jam session at the Aurora Club. He would always come and play with us. We got to know each other quite well. We always had a great time together. We talked about God and music. I'll miss him and his quick sense of humor.

God's blessings,

Tony Janflone

Comment by Felicia on December 20, 2010 at 2:37pm

I remember (Squirrel) and Kenny (Fish) Fisher taught my how to play the first 8 bars of 'My Funny Valentine' on the baritone a few years back when I hosted Jazz Workshop, Inc Talent Night on Homewood Ave.  Squirrel did the funniest Louie Armstrong impression. Sure will miss 'em..... Squirrel was one cool cat.

Comment by James Bridges on December 20, 2010 at 2:18pm

I will miss John (Squirrel) for me he was a treasured friend and could always make me laugh. We shared some great times together and I was always fascinated by his knowledge of music and his wonderful personality ...He will be missed musically but more importantly as a great human being.

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