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

Remembering the Hurricane Club and Birdie Dunlap

Pittsburgh Music History

The Hurricane Club

Birdie Dunlap's Organ Soul Jazz Mecca where the "In-Crowd" Mingled

The Music of the Hurricane Club's Stars

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Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on February 20, 2013 at 1:21am

Thanks Paul.  I remember Ramsey playing at the Grill.  He also played at the Hilton when Walt Harper brought him in for the jazz series he produced there in the early 60s.  the Hurricane focused solely on organ-based groups.  I frequented both clubs almost nightly. Jack McDuff and Shirley Scott were also Hurricane favorites.  When Sonny Stitt played the Hurricane, he had Pittsburgh's Billy James on drums.  It's diligent research like yours that will help correct the errors that have been published by those who did no due diligence.  Thanks.

Comment by Paul Carosi on February 19, 2013 at 4:15pm

You are correct.  A search of the Pittsburgh Courier achieve shows that Ramsey Lewis played the Crawford Grill frequently. His first gig at the Grill was in 1959.  There were no ads or articles listing Lewis at the Hurricane.  A couple of articles on the Hurricane list Lewis as a performer.  But it looks like they are incorrect.  I'll fix the story.

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on February 19, 2013 at 1:17am

Thanks for posting this and all of your other blogs Paul.  I don't recall hearing of Ramsey Lewis playing there or any other piano based groups.  If anyone remembers Ramsey playing there please add your comments here.

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