Gary Spencer

May 3, 2017

Listening to the History of Jazz: “Bird’s Ax: The Alto Sax”

By KMHD Radio’s Mark Montesano Though the tenor is the more popular sax in jazz, some of the greatest innovators in jazz have played the alto sax. Probably the most influential was Charlie “Bird” Parker. Everyone who played jazz on any instrument has had to come to terms with the way Parker played. As you listen to the evolution of alto styles from the 30’s through the 60’s, notice the changes in tone, rhythm and feeling that the alto has gone through up until Parker and then after. Jimmy Dorsey: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jimmy_Dorsey: Known mainly as a famous bandleader, Dorsey was also an early influence on the alto sax. Watch and hear his virtuosity on this difficult piece. http://tinyurl.com/kdgd2zd     Johnny Hodges: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Hodges: Hodges was one of the first great alto soloists. He first became famous for his work with Duke Ellington, but also had a long and successful solo career. His lovely tone, deep […]
May 1, 2017

Gerald Clayton Interview with Oregon Arts Watch

We’re just two days away from the return of Grammy® Award-nominated pianist and composer Gerald Clayton to The Old Church in Portland, and Oregon Arts Watch just published an interview he recently had with OAW’s Angela Allen in anticipation of Wednesday’s concert. Click on the link below to read this very insightful, personal conversation. Tickets are still available for his show and can be purchased here. http://www.orartswatch.org/gerald-clayton-preview-family-man/  
April 27, 2017

Jazz in the Schools Exhibition 4/28-4/30, New Education Director Hired

By PDX Jazz Board President Joe Maita I am pleased to announce the hiring of Kim Harrison as PDX Jazz Education Director!  As a volunteer, Kim has played an indispensable role in growing our education programs, and has had a particular impact on our Jazz in the Schools program, which we presented to 10 schools and 1,500 children during the 2016 – 17 school year. During her career – which includes over ten years in the classroom – Kim has designed and facilitated family enrichment events and education programs, written project curriculum, and has a special ability to handle diverse groups of children, families and fellow educators while creating welcoming and meaningful environments.   Kim is also an avid jazz fan, and has volunteered for several years as an Artist Host during our Jazz Festival. Kim and others from PDX Jazz will be at the Portland Art Museum April 28 – […]
April 7, 2017

Listening to the History Of Jazz: “It’s Not Just About Notes Anymore!”

By KMHD Jazz Radio host Mark Montesano “It’s not just about notes anymore!” – A quote from Albert Ayler on the New Jazz circa 1965. Like all great art, jazz has always reflected the times: The carefree chaos of roaring 20’s; the escapist romanticism of the depression; the giddy self-confidence of post-war America; were all expressed in the music of these times. African-Americans, coming home from World War II saw the freedom and dignity that they helped secure for Europeans often denied them at home. In response, many began to re-examine traditional values that perpetuated prejudice and hatred. This spirit of rebellion eventually found voice throughout and across all of America. In jazz, also, the standard ideas about rhythm, harmony and melody, which had been developed by bebop innovators as Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk, were challenged by a small group of adventurous and restless young musicians. In this […]
April 5, 2017

Vortex Magazine Interview with Dave Holland

Vortex Magazine online recently posted an in-depth and insightful interview with 2017 NEA Jazz Master and iconic bass player Dave Holland on their site and it’s a fantastic read in preparation for his concert this Friday at Revolution Hall. Tickets are selling fast but great seats are still available! Click here for tickets, and click below to read the article. Enjoy! http://www.vrtxmag.com/articles/all-for-one-one-for-all-dave-holland-in-conversation/
March 21, 2017

Happy Women (In Jazz) History Month

From us to everyone in Jazzlandia, we hope that you are honoring and celebrating Women’s History Month! Thank you to all the women out there who have made a difference in jazz, and the entire world we live in. Sincerely, Marcia Hocker, Cynthia Plank, Diana Dearin, Deborah DeMoss Smith & Megan Morris (not pictured) The PDX Jazz Board
March 9, 2017

Notations from Jimmy Heath…Part II

Here’s Part II of the interview with saxophonist Jimmy Heath by Board member and KMHD Jazz radio Notations columnist Deborah DeMoss Smith. Heath performed to applause and roaring response at his performance during the 2017 PDX Jazz Festival. “Jimmy Heath is the crème de la crème of jazz. He’s written more than 125 compositions and has been on 100-plus albums. At the age of 90, the jazz legend and beloved saxophonist and big band leader continues, indeed, to keep the music alive…” READ MORE
March 3, 2017

Listening to the History of Jazz Blog: “What is Hard Bop?”

By KMHD Jazz Radio host Mark Montesano My radio show on KMHD is dedicated to a kind of jazz that started around the mid-1950’s through the 60’s called “hard bop”. Though categories can be limiting in appreciating music they are also helpful in understanding the history of music. This blog contains some classic recordings that defined that style we call “hard bop”. Bebop was developed around the end of World War II. Reflecting the times, it was high energy and complex. In contrast to swing it appealed to a much smaller audience. Here’s an example of some great bebop from some of its originators. Notice the speed, complexity and how it compares to simpler popular songs. Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Max Roach, “Koko:” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rMiD8UUcd0 Hard bop was a reaction to bebop. It was designed to appeal to the broader audience that bebop lost. With the decline of swing, big bands, musicians […]
March 1, 2017

PDX Jazz Makes Top 50 Jazz Blogs on the Web!

Hello Citizens of Jazzlandia! I am pleased to announce that Feedspot has recently named the PDX Jazz Blog as #13 of the Top 50 Jazz Blogs on the web! It’s an honor to be held in such high esteem with these other fine jazz blogs. To see the full list, click here.
February 21, 2017

Vortex Magazine Interview with John Scofield

Vortex Magazine online recently posted an insightful interview with jazz guitar icon John Scofield about his Grammy® Award-winning new project Country for Old Men that will make its Portland debut this Friday at Revolution Hall during the PDX Jazz Festival. Tickets are still available! Walking the Lost Highway: A Conversation with John Scofield The Grammy-winning composer and guitarist talks ‘Country For Old Men,’ simple playing, and Paul Desmond ahead of his appearance at the PDX Jazz Festival on February 24 at Revolution Hall. By Nathan Rizzo John Scofield is nothing less than a giant of jazz guitar. Arguably the most visible—and prolific—pillar of a pantheon buttressed by the likes of Pat Metheny, Mike Stern and Bill Frisell, Scofield’s oblique, lyrical phrasing and ceaseless experimentation have guided him to the pinnacle of achievement within the genre: stints with kingmakers Gary Burton and Miles Davis, a trio of Grammy awards, and a […]