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

Phat Man Dee's Guide to Fighting the Terrorists....

I have been a Francophile my entire life. I fell in love with French music and the language and the poetry of it's people and the peoples they invaded a long time ago. I love France, I love West Africa, I love New Orleans, I love a lot of places, but I really really like France. As an adult I look back and wonder WHY do I like France so much? I like cheese, but I like anyone's cheese, cheese is just delicious, and I like the cabaret songs from the 30's and the 40's, but I like most songs from the 30's and the 40's (unless their really degrading, it's a fine line, you have to be careful), I like the architecture,  their's is extremely special, I mean, even the subway stations are works of art! However, I am pretty sure it is because I like the way they live life. They celebrated and praised our Black jazz artists who couldn't even get served at a diner who might even get lynched in their own country.....They consider the music I love to be a form of the "Beaux Artes" a high form of art.... They consider poets and people who think to be important. They value what I care for and they do it passionately and beautifully. The French are not perfect, they have their social issues the same as my fellow Americans do. We are all hopefully evolving.... But it is their passionate love of a beautiful life, which makes them who they are, and what made them such unexpected targets. Their art, their freedom, their spirits and passions are an absolute offense to people who want to control and do so through through unspeakable violence. So, how do I recommend we fight terrorists? I state that we must be ourselves more than ever. We love harder, we celebrate freedom, we celebrate equality, we live life like we're going to the Moulin Rouge and then to an underground cavern filled with jazz and international poets from the Resistance...We refuse to let them make us who they can never be. We refuse to play their game and become the thing we're fighting against. I recognize this is kind of a simplistic view....and that terror doesn't just happen in France, it happens in Beirut, it happens in Kenya, it happens right here at home when innocents are killed by the police in "misunderstanding" after "misunderstanding" and on college campuses in Missouri, and in children's bellies who don't get enough food every day, but we can do better, we can be better, and we will survive to celebrate the gift of life another day. To those we have lost, we will never forget. 

I have some really special events coming up and I would love to see you. If you can't be there please share this post and let some folks know, I am singing for some great causes this weekend, let us stand up to the jagoffs who want to ruin the world, and refuse to let them steal our joy and faith in humanity. 

This Thursday November 18, 2015 (that's tomorrow as of the time of this posting!) I am singing at the "2nd Annual War on Women Art Show" at Clear Story Studios in the South Side, 1931 Sidney Street. Be a hero in the war on women by bidding on work by nationally recognized and respected regional artists that addresses the reproductive and social inequalities faced by women on a daily basis. All artwork will be available for purchase in a silent auction throughout the evening. I will sing and also performing will be the fabulous Tami Dixon, story teller, Producing Artistic Director, Bricolage Production Company, Carol Brown Awardee, and Post-Gazette Performer of the Year. Catering will be provided by Kate Romane.
General admission is $50 and includes drinks and light fare. 
VIP tickets are also available and include a pre-show reception from 6:00-7:00 p.m.
You can purchase tickets here:

The next night on Friday the 20th of November, 2015 I will be singing at Mr. Smalls Theater for a night of fun and fancy with live music, a silent film, and great performances from unique artists. Sport your best top hats and parasols and meet us at the Steampunk Ball and Fashion Cotillion! Tickets: $10 in advance, $15 at the door!

Then on Saturday November 21, 2015, I am joining Pastor Deryck Tines and the Lemington Chorale at the Fall Festival of Praise at the Pentecostal Church in East Liberty. Pastor Tines believes in radical inclusion and I am honored to be part of this incredible group of singers. We will bet at 6300 E. Liberty Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15206 at 5 pm. Tickets are $5 and you can get them at the door. 

On Monday November 23, 2015 I am singing at the August Wilson Center for  A ReMARKable Recovery! 
Mark Clayton Southers is a well loved and brilliant director. His passion for the 100 year cycle of 10  plays by August Wilson has helped bring them to light to many who may not have ever seen this invaluable work. His own company Pittsburgh Playwright Theater produces ground breaking independent theater for many years and his work is respected and celebrated by the entire community. He was in a terrible car accident earlier this year and I am performing at an event to help him and his family ease some of the burden this unexpected tragedy has cost him. Other performers to include: Vanessa German​, Wali Jamal Abdullah​, Tameka Cage Conley​, Raymond Werner​, and Leslie Ezra Smith​ will be reading selections from Mark's Chronicles at the event on November 23rd. All details:

Then on the Day after Thanksgiving on Friday November 27, 2015 I will be singing with my full band at James Street Ballroom with Tony DePaolis, Carlos Peña, Reggie Watkins and JT "Smitty" Smith. 8 pm - midnight, tickets $5 at the door. 

After the turkey, after the cranberries, the sweet potatoes, the pies, please come join us and raise a glass to the many blessings we share.




**The coolest jazz cats playing holiday classics for the hottest burlesque dancers in town!**

I will send more info and event details after Thanksgiving, but save that date, cuz I am sure it will be a deliciously salacious night to celebrate the holidays! (this event is kind of a bellwether for me, if it does well, I am going to A.) make it an annual occurrence and B.) use it sell the idea of hosting a burlesque and sideshow festival here in Pittsburgh! 

Also, while we're discussing holidays.... I launched a music store on CD Baby. I ask this year you consider the gift of music, for yourself, for your loved ones, many friends of mine make a killing on selling their beautiful wares on Etsy, I don't make physical items you can purchase, I make music, but they told me to market the heck out of it.... so I am making an effort to sell the work I have made over the years. It's kind of crazy how much music I have made....if you bought some, it would be just amazing to me....

Here is a link to my CD Baby Music Store online:

We have each other. Right now, we have each other. That is major. It is not something that everyone gets. The headline to this post is "Phat Man Dee's Guide to Fighting Terrorism" and my plan for fighting terrorism is fight hard to love each other, fight hard to sing every song you can, fight hard to be as happy in this life as you can be and make all the people around you as happy as you can help them to be. Every day, every time, for tomorrow is not promised any single one of us. We have right now. Make it count. For me, that means doing waaaaaaay too many shows, for not nearly enough money.... but you know what, I do it cuz I love the people I am doing them for and I love the people I am doing them with. Now or never, there is absolutely no reason to wait.

One final thing to leave you with.... my dear friend Donna Davis, known to us in the Pittsburgh Jazz Community as the High Priestess, passed away several weeks ago. I was (as were all who knew her) hit extremely hard by this. She had an aggressive cancer which was diagnosed late because she like many musicians, had no health care.... I am going to miss her until I see her again on the other side of the rainbow.... please listen to her music as she played at my last show with her at James Street last  month. And tell someone you care about that you love them. Don't wait. I told her I loved her when I last saw her. And that comforts me every day.

photo by Paulette Messino

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