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

Pittsburgh’s Negro Opera House makes national list of endangered places

The National Negro Opera Company House on Apple Street in Homewood on Thursday.

Pittsburgh’s Negro Opera House makes national list of endangered places

A Pitts­burgh build­ing has caught the eye of the Na­tional Trust for His­toric Pres­er­va­tion.

On Thurs­day, the Na­tional Ne­gro Opera Com­pany House in Home­wood was named one of the trust’s 11 Most En­dan­gered Places. It was the first Black op­era com­pany in the U.S.

The house where the op­era com­pany had its head­quar­ters was built in 1894 at 7101 Ap­ple St. In 1941, im­pre­sa­rio Mary Card­well Daw­son founded the op­era com­pany there to train sing­ers and mount per­for­mances in Pitts­burgh, New York, Chi­cago and Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

The Ewalt House — which was built around 1840 and owned by Samuel Ewalt, one of Pittsburgh’s earliest merchants — may be demolished.
Marylynne Pitz
Demolition permit granted for historic Ewalt House

The large Queen Anne-style house, which has a ball­room on the third floor, was owned by Wil­liam “Woo­gie” Har­ris, a num­bers banker with part­ner Gus Green­lee and brother of Pitts­burgh Cou­rier pho­tog­ra­pher Char­les “Tee­nie” Har­ris. Har­ris held dances and other events there and rented rooms to Pitts­burgh Pirates Hall of Famer Roberto Cle­mente, en­ter­tainer Lena Horne and sev­eral Pitts­burgh Steel­ers.

The op­era com­pany even­tu­ally moved to Wash­ing­ton, D.C., and dis­banded when Daw­son died in 1962. The house fell into dis­re­pair and its grand in­te­rior was stripped by thieves. The Penn­syl­va­nia His­tor­i­cal and Mu­seum Com­mis­sion des­ig­nated the house a his­toric struc­ture in 1994. In 2008, it was named a Pitts­burgh His­toric Land­mark.

The Young Pres­er­va­tion­ists As­so­ci­a­tion of Pitts­burgh is cur­rently spear­head­ing ef­forts to pre­serve the house, which is owned by Jon­net Sol­o­mon and the fam­ily of Mir­iam White. The non­profit has spent the last year lob­by­ing for its in­clu­sion on the trust’s en­dan­gered places list.

“The house is in re­ally bad shape,” said Mat­thew Craig, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Young Pres­er­va­tion­ists As­so­ci­a­tion. “This might be its last chance.”

Mr. Craig said na­tional ex­po­sure on the list and the trust’s re­sources and ex­per­tise can help the Young Pres­er­va­tion­ists As­so­ci­a­tion to bring to­gether a co­a­li­tion of peo­ple and or­ga­ni­za­tions to sta­bi­lize the his­toric build­ing. Pitts­burgh His­tory & Land­marks Foun­da­tion is also in­volved.

National Negro Opera Company does National Negro Opera Company does "La Traviata" at Syria Mosque Sun, Jan 23, 1944 – 29 · Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) ·

“We want to re­fresh the story so peo­ple will say, ‘We’ve got some­thing spe­cial here and we re­ally should save this trea­sure.’”

Kath­er­ine Malone-France, chief preser­va­tion of­fi­cer for the Na­tional Trust for His­toric Pres­er­va­tion, said the or­ga­ni­za­tion was drawn to the op­era com­pany’s story and Daw­son’s per­se­ver­ance.

“This com­pany op­er­ated for 20 years, but its sto­ries and con­tri­bu­tions to lo­cal and na­tional cul­ture are rel­a­tively un­known,” she said.

Inclusion on the list doesn’t come with any fund­ing. Ms. Malone-France said the pur­pose of the list is to pro­vide ex­po­sure and spark in­ter­est in his­toric places that are at risk. Many of the sites on past lists have been suc­cess­fully pre­served, she said. The last time Pitts­burgh made the en­dan­gered places list was in 2000 with the Fifth and For­bes av­e­nues busi­ness dis­trict.

“Pres­er­va­tion to me isn’t about try­ing to freeze time, but stew­ard­ing the leg­acy of these spaces and car­ry­ing those leg­a­cies for­ward,” she said.

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