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
So sad to hear of the passing of Randy Purcell.
We all knew he was sick for a long time, but the news is still tragic.
We lost another legend today.
I guess Maynard was saving a seat in his band up there...

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Comment by Leslie Purcell Upchurch on May 27, 2009 at 2:18am
Shawn Purcell, Randy's son and amazing jazz guitarist, is performing on a radio program honoring Randy this coming Friday, May 29th, from 10 AM to 12:30 PM.; is the link. Listen if you get a chance. Shawn and his very cool wife Darden, a classy and very good jazz singer, did a program on this station the Monday after Randy passed and it was great.
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on May 20, 2009 at 2:29pm
Randy Purcell's viewing hours and location are as follows:
2pm - 4pm and 6pm - 8pm
Heard Funeral Home
Friday May 22, 2009
4047 Perrysville Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15214
(412) 931-0200
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on May 19, 2009 at 1:03am
The memorial service is Sat., May 23rd, at 3 PM at the Southminster Presbyterian Church on Washington Road in Mt. Lebanon. It is the church my parents and Rick and his family attend.

There are viewing hours on Friday and I will send those when I have the details.
Comment by Diane Shapiro on May 18, 2009 at 3:12pm
Randy was a gifted musician but also a strange dude. Randys ego was a mess. May he rest in peace.
Comment by Angela Abadilla on May 18, 2009 at 2:29pm
Until we all see you again someday Randy, we'll miss you Thank you for sharing your gift of music and life with us all.
Comment by Adrian Zvarych on May 18, 2009 at 1:36pm
I played bass for Randy and the band at the CMU Jazz Ensemble from fall of 1980 through Spring of 1982, when I graduated and moved to Florida. It was the most amazing season of music time even up til now. We had an amazingly tight horn and rhythm section during those years, quite outstanding considering it was 'just' a school band. He had a way of bringing the best out of the band without being condescending or harsh, and had lots of cool stories to tell along the way that made the journey fun. He remains one of the people that I feel truly blessed by having the privilege to know and serve under his leadership.

Randy has just experienced his final healing. Peace and blessings to family and friends.
Comment by Leslie Purcell Upchurch on May 18, 2009 at 5:13am
Hi Lou! Yes, I was watching the Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me on You Tube with Maynard's band and his solo keeps replaying in mind - that fast playing he could do was amazing. But also, always the right thing to play - not just fast to be fast. Glad you use him in jazz history class because he is a part of the real deal. Last year I saw a big deal New York trombone player who also plays other instruments. When he played the trombone I was thinking - what? That is so lame compared to Randy. Of course comparing the two Purcells and the rest of the trombone world made it almost impossible for me to be impressed.
Comment by Lou Spagnola on May 18, 2009 at 4:09am
In fact, I was just just thinking...what amazing tonguing Randy could execute.
Comment by Lou Spagnola on May 18, 2009 at 4:08am
Leslie, my heart is breaking for you. Randy was so special to us msicians. I play him in my jazz history class all the time. He taught me so much. What a loss to the music world. I'm sre he's trading 4's with Maynard right now. God bless you.
Comment by Leslie Purcell Upchurch on May 18, 2009 at 3:23am
Thank you for your thoughts. Randy was at his best when he was with Maynard so he will definitely be in that seat in the band. We will be all together on Saturday to celebrate his life. Details not in place yet.

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