PDX Jazz Blog

January 10, 2017

UPDATED 2017 biamp PDX Jazz Festival Mailer

Hello citizens of Jazzlandia! The newly updated 2017 BIAMP PDX Jazz festival guide is here! This guide has all the latest information. We have added new shows, added exciting venues, and updated the schedule. We have provided a downloadable link. Physical copies are sent to your door or can be found across the Portland metro area. Downloadable PDF file HERE The 2017 PDX Jazz Festival begins February 16 – 26. Hope to see you there!
January 6, 2017

In Review: Mary Sue Tobin & the Rebirth of the Cool Big Band at Fremont Theater

By former PDX Jazz President Tom Smith Good news for jazz in Portland! My fellow board member Joe Maita and I had a great night on Thursday enjoying a killer large ensemble at the Fremont Theater on 24th and NE Fremont, with Mary Sue Tobin and the Rebirth of the Cool Big Band. Songs of Gil Evans, Mingus and Horace Silver, among others. Really cool venue with great acoustics. I plan to attend the Quadraphones show here next Thursday!  We are having several shows at this venue during the Festival in February.  Check out our calendar for details!
January 3, 2017

RIP Jimmy Mak

PDX Jazz sends its heartfelt condolences to the family of Jimmy Makarounis. Your club was our organization’s heartbeat, our staff of life for so many opportunities and experiences. Portland musicians are richer for the opportunities you provided and your brand also transcended the Pacific Northwest as a name jazz lovers knew worldwide. When one goes to New York, its the Village Vanguard, but in PDX, Jimmy Mak’s was de rigueur.  I personally can’t thank you enough for your strength and encouragement of support for the way ahead in 2011.  I always looked forward to our regular meetings in the quiet morning comfortable club confines or a coffee nearby at the Pearl Street Bakery. Whether it was serious sports talk on the Pac 12 and your beloved Beavers or my Bruins or reminiscing on jazz, and the world at-large, you made my life at PDX Jazz all the richer. Don Lucoff, […]
December 28, 2016

Listening to the History of Jazz: Tenor Sax Part 3 – “Sons of the President”

By Mark Montesano Last month we listened to tenor players that were influenced by Coleman Hawkins, the first major soloist on the tenor. This month we’ll listen to three of the first major players influenced by Lester Young (often referred to as “The President” or “Pres”, pictured above), the second major soloist on tenor. In contrast with Hawkins, Young’s tone was light and airy and his phrasing laid-back and unpredictable.  The use of space was as important as the notes he played.  Listen to his version of “Somebody Loves Me” with Nat “King” Cole, piano and Buddy Rich, drums. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_wBQe2hiaA Young helped bring jazz from swing to bebop, influencing every instrument. You can hear that influence on these three tenors. Wardell Gray (Feb. 13, 1921-1955) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wardell_Gray Born in Oklahoma City and moved to Detroit as a youngster and played in Earl Hines’ big band from 1943-46. Moved to L.A. where he […]
November 30, 2016

Listening to the History of Recorded Jazz: 2nd Generation of the Tenor Saxophone

Listening to the History of Recorded Jazz: The First 50 Years “Second Generation of the Tenor Saxophone” By Mark Montesano Last month we listened to the beginnings of the tenor sax as a solo instrument in jazz. Coleman Hawkins was the first major tenor sax soloist. Later, Lester Young brought a very different approach to the instrument which influenced a whole new generation of musicians.  This month we’ll listen to three of the great, Hawkins-influenced tenors. They had very different careers and unique contributions to the way the tenor is played. I will focus on two tenor sax settings: the warm ballad where the musician expresses deep feeling through tone and phrasing, and the uptempo “cooker” where he shows his technical virtuosity and adept rhythmic flow at a fast pace. Leon “Chu” Berry:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chu_Berry Born September 13, 1908. According to Coleman Hawkins, Berry was the only disciple that he felt that […]
November 30, 2016

Interview with Kamasi Washington on Oregon Arts Watch

Hello! Oregon Arts Watch just published  an interview with saxophonist Kamasi Washington who will be playing at Roseland Theater in Portland tomorrow night and it’s a very good read. You can check it out at the link below. Standing room tickets are still available for the show by clicking here. See you tomorrow night! Kamasi Washington preview: Epic jazz
November 29, 2016

KMHD Radio Interview with Camila Meza

Hello Citizens of Jazzlandia! KMHD Radio host and PDX Jazz board member Deborah DeMoss Smith recently conducted an interview with Chilean-born guitarist and singer Camila Meza and it’s quite a fun read. You can check out the interview at the link below, and don’t forget that tickets are still available for her concert next Monday at The Old Church in Portland! You can get tickets by clicking here. Enjoy! http://www.opb.org/kmhd/article/notations-fromcamila-meza/
November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving from PDX Jazz!

On behalf of everyone at PDX Jazz, we want to wish all our members and lovers of jazz music a Happy Thanksgiving!  We are thankful for your support of our mission to inspire, educate and develop future jazz audiences for generations to come.   Wherever you are spending this special holiday, we hope you get there safe! Meanwhile…you may enjoy this wonderful 1957 video of Lionel Hampton performing “Flying Home.”
November 2, 2016

New interview with Bill Frisell!

Hello Citizens of Jazzlandia! Our friends at the Ace Hotel in Portland recently conducted an exclusive interview with Bill Frisell in advance of his performance this Friday, November 4 at the Aladdin Theater with his new project, When You Wish Upon a Star, and it’s quite the read. You can check it out for yourself at the link below. Tickets are still available for what should be an enchanted evening of music, and you can get yours by clicking here. Look forward to seeing everyone this Friday! http://blog.acehotel.com/post/152608509463/interview-bill-frisell
November 1, 2016

Listening to the History of Recorded Jazz: Two Ways to Play Tenor Sax

By Mark Montesano Early in the history of jazz, the trumpet was most often the lead instrument. Its tone was brassy and loud and could be heard easily in the days before microphones and amplifiers. With the widespread use of recording equipment, records, and amplification, other instruments began to take on more important roles. The tuba was replaced by a string bass and the saxophones—up to this time used for background color—came out of the shadows and began to take solos. The tenor sax, in particular, soon became the strongest voice and eventually the most dominant solo voice in jazz. The first major tenor saxophone soloist was Coleman Hawkins (known as “Hawk” or “Bean”). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coleman_Hawkins His first major job was with blues singer, Mamie Smith’s Jazz Hounds from 1921-1923. After that he joined Fletcher Henderson’s big band until 1934. During his time with Henderson, he developed a solo style strongly […]