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
You go, Bro!

Seems like these brothers from Pittsburgh can't be stopped these days!

Thanks for the hedzup on this new film.

Every conscious and positive statement that can be made about and for Haiti is much needed, as much for us as for our legacy to future generations.

(Just this week I caught up to the September, 2008, issue of National Geographic -- a special on where food comes from, which has a brief but heart-wrenching article about the situation in Haiti. It is a real indictment of what has been done to that country, especially when, on the very same island, the DR is not suffering that kind of devastation. The depth of the crime becomes even clearer when we remember that this was once the richest colony in the hemisphere, richer than the 13 colonies combined. And the US has the Haitian Revolution to thank for Jefferson's Louisiana Purchase, which doubled the size of the country.)

What we know is that poverty is not a natural circumstance, except following natural disasters, which is usually temporary. "Poor neighborhoods" and "poor countries" are artificially and systematically created. Poverty is profitable: it causes illness, death, crime, etc., which create windfalls for the medical, mortuary and prison industries, for example. Poverty is also great propaganda, for convincing the so-called "middle class" that they are not as poor as they are, because there are REAL poor people out there.

In Haiti's particular case, the country has never stopped being punished for having the audacity to defeat white slaveowners and declare itself to be free. Still, that Revolution was the symbol of victory and the beacon of hope to struggling people, mostly Africans, around the world.

That heritage is still with us, and this, every bit as much as the economic deprivation, is the backdrop for the drama that you portray in the film. As more people become more knowledgeable, the full meaning of the film will be even more appreciated. In other words, like a few other people from Pittsburgh, you definitely made the right move at the right time.

Best wishes for great success, as always, Bro. Leo.


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