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

Live at the Rhythm House in February 2008. I was fortunate enough to be able to play a few tunes with this group who was backing Sandy Staley that night.

Trumpet- Benny Benack III
Piano- Max Leake
Bass- Tony DiPaolis
Drums- Roger Humphries

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Comment by Ed Skirtich on November 14, 2008 at 2:11am
Hi Benny,

Yeah, you can really swing, just like your grandad.

Your welcome to come hang out at The Jazz Workshop, Inc. Big Band rehersal every Sat. from 3 PM - 4:30 PM at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Homewood on 7101 Hamilton Avenue.

Ed Skirtich
Artistic Director/Jazz Workshop, Inc.
(412) 422-4149 (H)
(412) 841-8046 (C)
Comment by Benny Benack III on April 22, 2008 at 1:22am
Thanks so much, I look forward to continuing to learn from all the great players in Pittsburgh, it's really a privilage to live in this jazz community! I like to think maybe some of the swing came from my grandfather
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on April 16, 2008 at 7:15am
And you can swing too. Your grandfather would be very proud of you.
Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on April 16, 2008 at 7:11am
Benny III,

You are becoming quite a fine player... learning the language. Keep hanging out with us and there'll be no stopping you.

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