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 Irene Kaufmann Settlement, which provided summer programs for children, is where my first encounter with group singing, tap dancing, acting, and moreover, live on-stage activities had occurred. At IKS, nearly all activity was in some way linked to the Arts. It remains to be among the best times of my life. Today that location is known as the Hill House Association.

And McKelvy music teacher Miss Blow...and blow she did; thirty to forty minutes of "sing children," as she played piano-accompaniment for the many songs she had taught us; this was a daily dose...without fail. Miss Blow...she was amazing...bless her soul.

Then a family relocation, up the hill, took place; and subsequently, another high-impact musical situation started to emerge. My two best friends at Madison Elementary School were Marvin Turrentine and Franklin "Buddy" Dudley. Never had I been in such a tranquil environment as when visiting Marvin's house. Mr. and Mrs. Turrentine were without doubt, the calmest, most patient, common-sense people I had ever known; they epitomized outer and inner-peace; I was always made to feel welcome and at ease there. In the living room there were family photos neatly positioned in various places. One in particular, of Mr. Turrentine dressed in a black tuxedo along with four or five different sized horns. He looked majestic...and very proud. No wonder Marvin had demonstrated such a high level of confidence; he had approached his interests with more determination and enthusiasm than anyone I had known; and as a result had excelled in music, academics and athletics (senior football quarterback for Schenley High School) and the drummer of the family. His persona revealed an admirable example of his parents. On one visit, Stanley had driven in from New York City where he had relocated a couple years earlier. He had been very successful and had made a gigantic impact on fans and musicians across America and abroad. Shortly after I arrived that day, Stanley loaded us into his brand new, white Cadillac Eldorado, and with convertible-top down, took us along as he visited his relatives and friends, down the hill...and I felt majestic...and very proud.

Buddy's mother, Mary Dee, a popular radio DJ, who saturated the air-waves with popular music for a number of years, invited me along with Buddy and her to several private affairs and various events; and go I did. I still maintain friendships today that were started back then...what good times.

Up the hill had been abundant with music notables: down the street, Walt Harper-piano; across the street, Greg Pennell-bass; up the street, Allen Blairman-drums; further up the street, Charles "Bubby" Bell-piano; further down the street, Kenny Fisher-saxophone; and around the corner the other way, the Turrentine!

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Comment by Eric Watson on February 8, 2009 at 1:16am
Yeah man, ....get'm big bro :)


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