PDX Jazz Blog

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
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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
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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
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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 […]
August 15, 2016
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The Westerlies debut “Saro”

Earlier today, NPR Music posted up the first single from The Westerlies’ eponymously-titled new album that will be out on October 7 on Songlines Recordings. The song, “Saro”, is based off a 17th century British ballad known as “Pretty Saro”, and the song has previously been recorded by Bob Dylan, Judy Collins and Pete Seeger. The Westerlies’ version is a rare rendition that has no vocals, yet their take on the song’s melodies are quite lyrical, warm and gorgeous.  Check out the song by clicking the link below, and don’t forget to come see The Westerlies when they perform with Dave Douglas at The Old Church in Portland on Friday, October 28! http://www.npr.org/sections/deceptivecadence/2016/08/15/488665481/songs-we-love-the-westerlies-saro
August 4, 2016
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Listening to the History of Recorded Jazz: 12 Tragic Trumpet Heroes

Listening to the History of Recorded Jazz (1917-1967): Blog #2: 12 Tragic Trumpet Heroes By Mark Montesano Every culture has its stories about tragic heroes who are gifted and use that gift to achieve something extraordinary. In the process, they bring back something new to the human community, but they also suffer and often die in the process. Many jazz musicians who have been extraordinarily gifted and create a new approach to playing also have died young. An unusual number of these players have been trumpeters. Part of appreciating jazz and its history is celebrating the heroic lives of the many prodigies who breathed new life into the music and died young. Give a listen to these trumpeters and get to know these remarkable men   Buddy Bolden: One of the first influential New Orleans trumpeters. Committed to a mental institution at 30 as a result of acute alcoholism. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddy_Bolden. No […]
August 3, 2016
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JazzCorner “InnerView” with Chico Freeman

JazzCorner.com producer Reese Erlich recently conducted a 30 minute “InnerView” with tenor sax innovator and legend Chico Freeman about his decision to move to Europe more than 10 years ago, his explorations of the musical traditions of Eastern Europe and Africa, his experiences living abroad, his new record Spoken Into Existence on Jive Music, and his triumphant return to the US earlier this year. This interview is a fascinating listen, and it really gives some insight into what makes Freeman tick musically and personally. Likewise, it also serves as an ample precursor to his first west coast performances in over a decade next week, including his two shows for PDX Jazz next Friday, August 12, at Jimmy Mak’s in Portland. Click on the link below to listen now. Enjoy! http://www.jazzcorner.com/innerviews/
August 1, 2016
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PDX Jazz: Neighborhood Spotlight Article on Portland Patch

Hey everyone! PDX Jazz was recently featured on a Neighborhood Spotlight article on Portland Patch. This Q&A interview is with PDX Jazz’s resident Box Office & Membership Manager Gary Spencer, and is a short and light read. Click on the link below to check it out. http://patch.com/oregon/portland/neighborhood-nonprofit-spotlight-gary-spencer-pdx-jazz-festival
July 12, 2016
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Listening to the History of Recorded Jazz, 1917-1967: Blog #1

We’re excited to announce the arrival of a new monthly blog series that will be featured here on the PDX Jazz website, and we hope you will find informative and fun to read. This series is created and written by Mark Montesano, a friend of the PDX Jazz organization. About the author: Mark Montesano is a retired professor at Arizona State University. While at ASU, he developed a one-credit honors course called “Listening to the History of Jazz: The First 50 Years of Recorded Jazz (1917-1967)”. He began listening to jazz in the early 1960’s starting with his father’s Ahmad Jamal, Oscar Peterson, and Stan Getz albums. A few years later, he was gifted a copy of Miles Davis Live at the Blackhawk and a stack of Downbeat magazines and he was hooked on exploring both the exciting innovations of that time and jazz’s great traditions. While his high school friends were […]