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

Colored Musicians Club Documentary pt. 1

WIVB Interview

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Comment by James Harber on December 13, 2011 at 8:10pm

Aloha Barry, thanks for responding. At my website, I have a Jazz History page, and would love to add excerpts from Pittsburgh Jazz.

Let me know what you think.

Comment by Barry Boyd on December 13, 2011 at 6:03pm

Hello James and thanks for checking it out. I've been speaking with Doc, Chuck Austin and many others since reading Chuck's article in the AFM News about 2 years ago and realize that we've all had similar musical origins and struggles. We hope to preserve the Jazz legacy for our future generations. Pittsburgh's jazz culture is unequivocally one of the most rich and diverse ones in the world. I'd like to see coordination and cooperative efforts in development of a large repository and display of jazz heritage to come out of the experiences of those trailblazers who have gone before us and opened up opportunities for all.

Comment by James Harber on December 13, 2011 at 2:09am

That was great..thanks for posting and the history lesson.

Comment by Barry Boyd on December 10, 2011 at 8:59pm

Good to hear from you also Kevin.

Come visit us sometime, we have open mic, unfortunately on Sunday nights though which is  tough for out of towners and those of us with early "day gigs" an evil necessity. Hope to hear all of you sometime when I'm in the Burgh which is about once a month or so. May try to stop in at CJ's to check in on Tony Campbell's crew.

Comment by Barry Boyd on December 10, 2011 at 8:56pm

Brian, Thanks for watching and for commenting. I once inquired about why were clinging to that very term when I first started hanging there and learning the ropes as a teen ager in the late 70's and was quickly schooled by the old guard. I think the term is held onto for historical purposes only though I'll agree that it is an anachronism in today's world. The club received it's charter and independence back in the 60's when were were still referred to (and referring to ourselves) as "colored." The board wishes to retain the term based on the name under which local 533 was chartered.

I've read all of your blogs and I strongly agree with each and every one of your points about the business and audiences as well as on education. Thanks for keeping it real.

Comment by The Brian Edwards Excursion on December 9, 2011 at 10:55pm

Informative video but do not like the phrase "colored musicians club."  I know these are old school cats but in 2011, no black person should be  referred to or refer to themselves as colored. Just because someone is old now and referred to black people as colored back in the day does not make it acceptable now.  When we were colored made a great movie but not so great when you look at the 60's on backwards.  Again, great video but just a thought.

Comment by Kevin Hurst, Sr. on December 8, 2011 at 9:31pm
Great piece on the history of another great jazz city! Systematically being left out of work and the role and times of the Civil Rights movement is very interesting!- kev
Comment by Barry Boyd on December 8, 2011 at 9:18pm

Thanks Jerry,

We all want to keep the legacy alive for the next generation. Unfortunately since the WIVB documentary we've lost many of those fine musicians interviewed-Ms. Dodo Green vocalist, Jimmy Gomes-drummer, Pete Lee-saxophone, Willie Dorsey-big bandleader, former Buffalo Public School music educator trombonist and bassist and Al Tinney-pianist who is prominently featured in Part 2 of the documentary that I'll post.

I do the same as you-if it wasn't for our predecessors we wouldn't be able to do what we do.

Fortunately we're starting to see a small cadre of young musicians in our two cities who believe you actually need to know theory and how to play instruments rather than sample beats and other peoples' music. Thanks to people like yourself, Nelson, Rodger H., James Johnson, the MCG crew and so many others.

Comment by SOUTHSIDE JERRY MELLIX on December 7, 2011 at 7:51pm

Excellent piece.  I'm 64 and was a member of local 471, well before we had to merge.  I can identify with a lot that is said in this clip.  I'm thankful that things are not as restricted as they once were.  I'm living proof of that.  I just wish some of the older 'cats' that were around when I first joined and are no longer with us could reap the benefits from what they started.  I swear on every gig I've played and will play, I give a nod to those Brothers and Sisters.

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