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

The Lost Music School -the Pittsburgh Musical Institute

Pittsburgh Music History

Remembering the Pittsburgh Musical Institute

PMI the Lost Music School

Read about the music school where Billy Strayhorn, Ahmad Jamal, Vivian Reed, Earl Wild and many others received training in music theory, composition, instrumental performance, and voice.  PMI headquartered in Oakland had annual enrollments 2000 undergrad and grad students at its Bellefield Avenue school along with programs for children at its 28 branch studios throughout Western. Pa. from 1915 to 1963.




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Comment by Timothy R. Williams on January 26, 2012 at 2:46pm

Fine article, Paul.  You've been doing lots of great work!  (I'm also an alumni of the unsightly Library and Information Science building.)

Comment by Paul Carosi on January 25, 2012 at 4:49pm

The building was torn down around 1965.  131 Bellefield Ave is now the site of Pitt's School of Library and Information Science - a typical Pitt 1960's cement slab building.  It has all the ambience of a parking garage.  Pitt's music department relocated to a smaller building on the corner of 5th and Bellefield.  (Note: I'm an alumi of the Information Science program and used to hang out in the Pitt Music building as an undergrad)

Comment by Hill Jordan on January 25, 2012 at 4:24pm
Does that building still exist? What an amazing example of gothic architecture!

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