PDX Jazz Blog

October 17, 2016

In Review: Jazz & The Beat Generation

On Friday, October 7, we hosted our first “Discover Jazz” event at the offices of Literary Arts.  The standing room only crowd witnessed our board member and Reed College Professor of English Pancho Savery give a talk called, “Jazz and the Beat Generation,”  which focused on the influence jazz musicians like Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Dexter Gordon had on writers Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka and Bob Kaufman.   This is a fascinating topic that is not only jazz history, but American and literary history as well. “Discover Jazz” will be an ongoing series of free lectures and discussions designed to create opportunities for learning about the history of jazz in a variety of contexts.    The history of jazz music is incredibly rich, and provides an interesting look at American history, and in particular African American history, because jazz music and its originators were at the centerpiece […]
October 13, 2016

A Note from the Board President on “Jazz in the Schools”

Dear Citizens of Jazzlandia, I am proud to report that PDX Jazz has begun teaching this year’s session of our “Jazz In the Schools” program, having presented it to Rigler Elementary, Franklin High School and George Middle School in the last two weeks.  Our education coordinator Kim Harrison, our education chair Marcia Hocker, and myself have gone into classrooms and teach a short history of jazz music, talk about its importance in 20th Century America, its influence on the civil rights movement, and its connection to art – particularly the art found on the album covers of mid-century. For the next two weeks, students listen to jazz music in their classroom while creating their own jazz album cover, expressing what the music “looks like.”   This art is then exhibited in downtown Portland in February, during our annual Jazz Festival (which is also Black History Month), and will be celebrated at a […]
October 12, 2016

Bill Frisell on NPR’s Weekend Edition

Hello Citizens of Jazzlandia! In case you hadn’t seen this, Grammy® Award-winning guitarist Bill Frisell was on NPR’s Weekend Edition earlier this year discussing his newest album and project, When You Wish Upon a Star, in what turned out to be a very insightful and intriguing interview. You can check it out at the link below. Tickets are still available for Frisell’s upcoming concert at the Aladdin Theater on Friday, November 4. Don’t miss this opportunity to see Frisell and Company bring the timeless music of film and television to life live on stage in what should an enchanted evening. You can get yours by clicking here. Cheers! http://www.npr.org/2016/01/24/463750885/what-made-that-thing-work-bill-frisell-takes-on-screen-music
October 10, 2016

Catherine Russell Interview in Oregon Arts Watch

Hello Citizens of Jazzlandia! Hope you are ready for the Catherine Russell concert tomorrow night at The Old Church! We know we are. And if you aren’t already amped to see the woman who Wall Street Journal declared ” “the best blues and jazz singer going today,” then you should take a look at this wonderful interview she gave with Oregon Arts Watch. It gives you good insight into Catherine’s singing and music, and is a lot of fun – much like the concert Tuesday night will be. Tickets are selling fast but there’s still some left if you haven’t gotten yours yet. You can do so by clicking here. See you tomorrow night! Catherine Russell preview: Artful swing from the ground up
October 6, 2016

Listening to the History of Recorded Jazz: Jazz Piano Part 2

By Mark Montesano This is a continuation of a brief history of jazz piano styles beginning last month with Ragtime, and now focusing on the years between swing and avant-garde.   Art Tatum: was born in Toledo, Ohio in 1909. He is considered by many the greatest jazz pianist of all time. Though he was practically blind from birth, his playing showed an unparalleled technique, swing, harmonic daring. To see how Tatum advanced jazz piano listen to from part one of this series. Earl Hines’ (one of his main influences) version of his song, “Rosetta” (play Hines’ first) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PpC3HDvujU), and then listen to Tatum’s version of the same song for unparalleled speed and unusual runs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SvSVfZ1MUUA   Teddy Wilson: was the quintessential swing piano player. He was born in Texas in 1912 and began to play in big bands as a teenager. In 1935 he joined Benny Goodman’s small group with […]
September 9, 2016

Today in jazz…

Today is a big day for us at PDX Jazz. First, we are presenting our first show of the Fall 2016 season tonight at Jimmy Mak’s featuring New Mexico’s one-of-a-kind one man band and singer-songwriter Raul Midón in his Portland debut. This unique talent is the kind of thing one must see to believe what they are hearing. Tickets will be available at the door in limited quantities, so we recommend arriving early. Showtimes are at 7:30 and 9:30pm. Today also saw the release of not one but two albums by two more performers during our Fall 2016 schedule. Ben Wendel released his new album, What We Bring, on Motema Music today, and based on the clip he released prior to the album’s for sale date, it should be an exciting time. Check it out and come see the Ben Wendel Quartet live and in person on Wednesday, September 28 […]
September 9, 2016

PDX Jazz presents “Jazz and the Beat Generation”

On October 7, 2016, PDX Jazz is proud to present its inaugural program in its brand new adult education series, Discover Jazz, entitled “Jazz and the Beat Generation”, presented by Reed College Professor and PDX Jazz Board Member Pancho Savery. Discover Jazz is an educational outreach program created by our organization that will focus on the significance of jazz and its influence on American civilization, and also serves as a way for people not intimately familiar with jazz to discover the music and culture for their own personal enjoyment. “Jazz and the Beat Generation” will examine the influence of jazz masters like Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Wardell Gray, Lester Young, and Thelonious Monk on Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso, Bob Kaufman and other “Beat Generation” writers of the 1940s and 1950s. The event will feature a lecture, recorded music, and an ensuing discussion led by […]
September 5, 2016

Interview with Raul Midón on Oregon Arts Watch

Hello everybody! Oregon Arts Watch recently conducted an interview with Raul Midòn, the “badass and blind” one man band that PDX Jazz will present in concert this coming Friday, September 9 at Jimmy Mak’s. To read the article, click the link below. And to buy tickets for the singer-songwriter’s Portland debut, click here. Enjoy! Raul Midón preview: Uncontainable talent  
August 31, 2016

Listening to the History of Recorded Jazz: Jazz Piano Part 1

By Mark Montesano Here is a short, two-part history of the jazz piano up to the late 1960’s.  Part one begins in the late 1800’s and goes until the late 1930’s. In the history of the jazz piano we can see the rapid evolution of melody, harmony and rhythm in jazz. It’s all there.     Scott Joplin: was born in northeast Texas in 1868. His work was one of the first attempts to formally integrate African-American music into written popular music after slavery. To European ears the rhythm sounded ‘ragged’. Yet, ragtime was a major form of America’s popular music for over 20 years. “Maple Leaf Rag” was one of his simpler, but popular compositions. Listen for ‘ragged’, many-layered rhythm and melodies from a piano roll of Joplin actually playing it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMAtL7n_-rc       Jelly Roll Morton: was born in New Orleans in 1890. He claimed to have […]
August 16, 2016

Author Bob Nietsche to Conduct Jazz Conversation with Stanley Cowell

We’re a month away from iconic veteran jazz pianist Stanley Cowell‘s debut concert in Portland, and we’ve got a special addition to the show that you won’t want to miss. Robert Dietsche, author of the 2005 book Jumptown: The Golden Years of Portland Jazz 1942-1957, will be conducting a rare Jazz Conversation with Cowell regarding his hometown of Toledo, the influence of Art Tatum on his piano playing, the groundbreaking Strata-East Records sound he helped pioneer, and more prior to the beginning of Cowell’s second set at The Old Church on September 16. Dietsche has taught courses in jazz history at Oregon colleges and universities and was the longtime host of “Jazzville” on Oregon Public Broadcasting radio. His writings about jazz have appeared in numerous publications, including Jazz Journal, The Oregonian, Willamette Week, Pittsburgh Press, and The Toledo Blade. If you haven’t gotten your tickets for this fantastic event yet, you can do so […]