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

American Masters - August Wilson: The Ground on Which I Stand on

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Comment by Bob Garvin on May 22, 2018 at 4:36pm

Please forgive me for nitpicking in the midst of tributes to A.W., but I don't think the man who had spent days in the library rather than the classroom would have ever said "The Ground On Which I Stand On." How did that happen?

Comment by E Van D on May 21, 2018 at 11:52pm

Each play was written out of its own moment in time and its own necessity. Wilson's language was as sorrowful as a blues guitar but but expressed a reasonable amount of joy in every moment. 

Comment by Dr. Nelson Harrison on May 21, 2018 at 8:47pm

Right on Bob.  Your comments are always meaningful and much appreciated.

Comment by Bob Garvin on May 21, 2018 at 5:43pm

Corrections: My 89-year-old memory betrayed me. August Wilson saw six Japanese men having breakfast in a bus station restaurant and imagined how different six black men would have acted. . But the important correction is that Wilson told Bill Moyers that he collected used 78 rpm records. Among them was Bessie Smith singing a racy tune, which he played over and over. In his decade-by-decade plays, he listened to the music of each period for help in crafting his themes. Check Google for the Moyers interview.

Comment by Bob Garvin on May 21, 2018 at 5:05pm

August Wilson's plays reveal his strong awareness of how vital the blues and jazz have been to the African-American experience. The version I heard was that the sound of a Bessie Smith record coming from a place on the Hill spurred him to search for cheap records of this music. Among the highlights of my life are 1) the opportunity to see several of his dramas and 2) to meet him and speak with him after he had given a talk in Pittsburgh the early '80s. In an interview with Bill Moyers, August Wilson compared the conversation and actions of a group of Japanese having breakfast in a diner with how a group of black men would have spoken and behaved. Not only does it capture his marvelous gifts for observation and language, but it is one of the most hilarious pieces that I've ever read.

Comment by Roberta Windle on May 18, 2018 at 9:55pm

Pittsburgh is on the map of humanity because of August Wilson. He will reign forever as a brilliant man of vision. Thank you, Mr. WILSON

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