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


JAZZ - COMPLACIENCY VS CONSISTANCY (THE PITTSBURGH JAZZ FAN APPRECIATION EVENT)The following article by Kevin Amos is truly right on time.
In my opinion it provides at least a part of the answer to the question posed recently by the Wall Street Journal: Can Jazz Be Saved?

That article (or one just like it) seems like it's run every so many years by well meaning "mainstream reporters," telling us that "jazz is doomed," unless "something" is done about it.

Well we think that the "something" that has to be done about it isn't really the responsibility of record labels, concert promoters or even the Wall Street Journal. We think that the "something" must occur at the grass roots. That's the whole reason you see an event called the "Pittsburgh Jazz Fan Appreciation Event," featured in the Soul-Patrol Times. We think that the survival of jazz is far too important to be left up to record labels, concert promoters, radio networks or even the Wall Street Journal.

We think that it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY. And we put "skin into the game," by being one of the sponsors of the monthly grassroots "Pittsburgh Jazz Fan Appreciation Event." This is a model for "saving jazz," that we feel should be replicated across the country. If you are involved in activity like this in your local area, please feel free to let me know ahout it and how we might assist here on

And with that as a backdrop, please read the following article by our own Kevin Amos...(just don't tell the folks at the Wall Street Journal, Clear Channel or Radio-One, etc. that we are doing this...lets just keep it "our little secret, ok?') - Bob Davis




Hi everyone! For the past few months Bob Davis has been on my case about writing this piece. I was going to write something for Black Music Month but it just did not feel right to me. After all, every month is Black Music Month and our music should be celebrated all the time. Not just for some sort of "special occasion". Kevin Amos has not been complacent but steadfast and consistent.

Great Black Music, as a lot of us call it, is celebrated each and every day across the universe. Sun Ra often stated. "We travel the spaceways". We make the journey to spread the word. Personally I have been spreading the message for over thirty years now as a broadcaster, music advocate, writer, musician, promoter and events planner. All of this did not happen overnight. It has taken a lot of hard work and has not always been fun. However, I have been consistent in my exposure of our culture to many people be it Jazz, Reggae, Rock, Blues, Soul or Gospel. In other words I just don't talk the talk but press on, outweighing the negative and accentuating the positive. If you remember, the Pittsburgh area is the home of many Jazz giants. Earl "Fatha" Hines, Roy Eldrige, Earl Garner, Ahmed Jamal, Billy Strayhorn, Dakota Staton, Horace Parlan, Art Blakey, Mary Lou Williams, George Benson, Jimmy Ponder, Stanley Turrentine, Ray Brown,Mickey Bass and many, many others. We are quite proud of our Jazz tradition and we have an awesome live Jazz scene.

The Jazz Fan Appreciation Event is built on an old model that some of us forgot. That model is supporting local community establishments, supporting musicians, bringing folks together and just showing up. Creating partnerships has been central for the promotion of this event., the New Pittsburgh Courier, Nu-Groove Records, Shanachie Entertainment, Aprils on the Avenue, Malika's Gallery, and Little E's Jazz Club have been very supportive.

Local businesses survive when people support the establishment by having a chicken dinner, buying an affordable drink (water included) and by not having to pay $25 or more just to get in the door. The music comes back to the community from where it came from. Musicians get paid a fair wage. They also increase their fan base by exposing their music to a wider audience. In addition, musicians come together for a good old fashioned jam session. Younger musicians get a chance to really go to school by honing their chops and sitting in. The monthly event that I created does just that.

Over the past year, more than 2,000 people have attended the sessions. We were even able to have presentations in two of the Pittsburgh city parks and also created two new venues for these free musical events. Economic opportunity has been created for both venues owners and our core group of musicians that play at the sessions. The artist plays an important role in the economic life of our neighborhoods and our nation.

We cannot just sit on our hands and do nothing. This event can take place anywhere in the world. It just takes some initiative. On that note let's discuss the impact this event has made and who is actually attending. The overwhelming amounts of new and "regular" patrons of this event are not African-American. Even though members of our community have disposable income, some find it difficult to support this free event. Note there is an exception. When the events are held in a city park, everyone shows up.

The only solution to lack of support is to step up educational and promotional efforts. That is what you must do to get folks to "just show up". Future plans are to increase sponsorship opportunities for potential partners and create spinoffs of this event.

In closing I would like to leave you all with a statements made by President Obama and the late Abbey Lincoln. I think this sums up what the objective is.

"Throughout our history, African-American music has conveyed the hopes and hardships of a people who have struggled, persevered and overcome. Through centuries of injustice, music comforted slaves, fueled a cultural renaissance, and sustained a movement for equality.

Today, from the shores of Africa and the islands of the Caribbean to the jazz clubs of New Orleans and the music halls of Detroit, African-American music reflects the rich sounds of many experiences, cultures, and locales."

"African-American musicians have created and expanded a variety of musical genres, synthesizing diverse artistic traditions into a distinctive soundscape. The soulful strains of gospel, the harmonic and improvisational innovations of jazz, the simple truth of the blues, the rhythms of rock and roll, and the urban themes of hip-hop all blend into a refrain of song and narrative that traces our Nation's history."

"These quintessentially American styles of music have helped provide a common soundtrack for people of diverse cultures and backgrounds, and have joined Americans together not just on the dance floor, but also in our churches, in our public spaces, and in our homes."

- President Obama

"I was looking for the people who were making the music inside the cabinet.

I would look in there and see if I could find somebody who was making all this wonderful music."

- Abbey Lincoln

--Kevin Amos

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