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

Pioneering Booking Agent Ruth Bowen Passes


Entertainment Business Leader Broke Race and Gender BarriersRepresenting Music Legends Including Aretha Franklin, Dinah Washington, Ray Charles, Sammy Davis, Jr. andOthers

Press Release For Immediate Release

(New York, NY - April 23, 2009) - Ruth Bowen, founder of The BowenAgency Ltd., passed away on Tuesday, April 21, 2009 in New York Cityafter battling a brain tumor. Bowen was the first black female booking agent and first black female to establish a theatrical booking agency.
For 55 years, Ruth Jean Bowen-Bryant booked and guided the careers ofsome of the most well-known and successful entertainers in the world.Bowen's musical journey began in 1944 when she met and married William"Billy" Bowen, one of the original Ink Spots, a group known as one ofthe first black entertainment acts to break the racial barrier.

While traveling and handling her husband's business affairs, he introduced her to Dinah Washington, known as "Queen of the Blues." Soon after theirfirst conversation, Dinah offered Bowen a job as her publicist. Bowen accepted and in no time she was handling the blues/R&B/jazz singer's publicity and management. Dinah insisted on Bowen obtaining her booking license and in 1959, with the help of her lawyer (former New York City Mayor David Dinkins), Bowen founded Queen Booking. Once established as an agent, her agency grew rapidly, with Dinah Washington as her best salesperson. As Dinah performed and traveled across the country, she met other artists that needed Bowen's expertise. In the beginning, Queen Booking started booking acts at the Howard Theatre in Washington D.C., the ApolloTheatre in Harlem and the Regal Theatre in Chicago.

When Dinah Washington died in 1963, Queen Booking was only a few yearsold, but in 1964, Bowen expanded the business which became Queen Booking Corporation (QBC). The roster and staff grew, and in 1969, QBC hadbecome the largest black-owned entertainment agency in the U.S. - if not the world - with a roster that included a who's who in entertainmentincluding "The Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Sammy DavisJr., The Isley Brothers, Dionne Warwick, The Four Tops, Kool and theGang, Bobby Womack, Teddy Pendergrass, and a host of other top black singing stars. In the same year, Bowen was recognized as one of the country's outstanding black women achievers. In 1974, Bowen changed the name of her agency from QBC to RenaissanceTalents, which later became The Bowen Agency Ltd., and remains untilpresent date.

After the death of her husband, William "Billy" Bowen,she married her longtime friend, Clarence "Billy" Bryant. In addition to the day-to-day operations of running the agency, Bowen found time to be one of the co-founders and president of a civic and social club called the Rinkydinks. The club was primarily made up of notable musicians' wives including Mrs. Basie, Mrs. Bostic, Mrs. Hinton,Mrs. Jacquet and other distinguished women. The group members encouraged and supported minority children to advance in their education pursuits.

Ruth Bowen-Bryant departed this life on Tuesday April 21, 2009 leavingher husband Billy, brother James Edward Goode and sister-in-law Jean, aswell as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and loving friends. Services are scheduled to be held in New York City (see below).

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations be made to the Rhythm &Blues Foundation. Checks can be made payable to: The Rhythm & BluesFoundation, sent in care of The Bowen Agency Ltd. attn: Mr. Gary James,301 E. 79th Street, New York, NY 10075.
All checks will be presented tothe foundation upon receipt.

ViewingSunday, April 26, 20092:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. Benta's Funeral Home630 St. Nicholas Avenue (@ 141st Street)New York, NY 10030(212) 281-8850

Funeral Monday, April 27, 200911:00 a.m.Canaan Baptist Church132 W 116th Street (Cross Streets: Between Lenox Avenue and Seventh Avenue) New York, NY 10026 (212) 866-0301

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