PDX Jazz Blog

April 18, 2018

Appreciating Jazz This Spring

Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart informed us 80 years ago on Broadway that “Spring is Here,” and we have enjoyed this reminder ever since through the timeless renditions by Bill Evans, Stan Getz, Frank Sinatra, and Chet Baker. We also appreciate live jazz in the Spring and are about to globally celebrate International Jazz Day on April 30 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Recognized by UNESCO, this auspicious day culminates Jazz Appreciation Month and PDX Jazz is sharing their appreciation with you, the audience who also appreciates this great art form that began in America but is now embraced globally.  The snow is now behind us and there is lots to explore during the second half of April. Our partners at the Soul’D Out Music Festival […]
April 3, 2018

John Nastos Group at The 1905

So much going on in April, jazz appreciation month, at PDX Jazz including a performance by reeds man, and Portland native, John Nastos. He has an impressive bio, but it’s his energy and seductive sound that speaks louder than any words. I’ve heard him many times, yet I know the next time he’ll play, there will be no ennui and the audience will not be disappointed. He’s that good, and that adept, at giving jazz a good name. One of those “next times” is offered by PDX Jazz. April 10th the John Nastos Group will perform 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm at The 1905. See y’all there! –DEBORAH DEMOSS SMITH
March 5, 2018

Jazz Conversation With Marcus Roberts

During the recent 2018 PDXJazz Festival, Marcus and KMHD Jazz Radio Host & PDX Jazz Board Member, Deborah DeMoss Smith sat down at the Portland’5 Center for the Arts bar for a Jazz Conversation. One of Deborah’s favorite jazz pianists is Marcus Roberts. Blind since the age of 5 and, with a Gospel musical background, Marcus has never allowed his sightlessness impede his musical acumen and career, including his playing with Wynton Marsalis for six years. As a leader, he’s released 25 albums, plus more as a sideman. If you missed the fun, check out the entire interview here.     
February 14, 2018

2018 BIAMP PDX Jazz Festival Digital Program

2018 BIAMP PDX Jazz Festival Program Digital Download HERE    
January 17, 2018

Interview with Charnett Moffett

Hey, Y’all, PDXJAZZ has some jazzy music headed our way on February 15 – 25 via its annual festival.  One such artist is bassist Charnett Moffett, performing Saturday, February 17th at Class Pianos.  Who is this artist and what’s his philosophy toward music and life? To find out, check out ‘Notations’, my column on the KMHD Jazz radio website. KMHD is one of PDX Jazz’s partners. Charnett Moffett Interview Here. Also, a reminder to purchase your festival tickets now and enjoy jazz, jazz, and more jazz. Nothing like having the sound of live jazz surround you as you move to the music. You might even feel like second lining! See Y’all there! Deborah DeMoss Smith Charnett Moffett’s PDX Jazz Festival performance  More Info | Purchase Tickets
December 6, 2017

2018 BIAMP PDX Jazz Festival Guide

2018 PDX Jazz Festival Guide CLICK HERE      
November 21, 2017

Donald Harrison at the Jack London Revue

Donald Harrison played at The Jack London Revue Sunday, November 19, 2017, and PDX Jazz Board Member, Deborah DeMoss Smith was in attendance. Read Deborah’s review of the New Orleans Saxophone master’s Portland performance: Sunday night, finally made my way with Board member Marcia Hocker to the new Jack London Revue. Liked the space and undoubtedly the band on stage: NOLA’s (New Orleans, LA) Nouveau Swing creator, alto saxophonist, composer, bandleader, educator and mentor Donald Harrison. (Harrison played at the PDX Jazz Festival this year with Javon Jackson – Harrison was Jackson’s mentor in the Art Blakey Band). Joining Harrison on stage Sunday were three young (20s) musicians whose sublime skills and understanding of the music was impressive – and fun: Zecharia Curtis, piano; Jason […]
October 5, 2017

A Special House Concert w/ Bill Charlap

Last week, we presented a PDX Jazz “For Members Only” house party concert featuring Grammy Award winning pianist Bill Charlap.  It was a very special evening of incredible jazz, food, beverage, friendship and conversation. Mr. Charlap has the ability to reach into the “old world” and play the music of great composers like Gershwin, Porter, Arlen, and Ellington in a way few can – sensitive, respectful and innovative.  Prior to the musical performance, local radio legend George Fendel talked with Bill about his childhood memories in New York – we learned that Bill grew up in a musical household, and his father wrote much of the music to the musical “Peter Pan”! The event was performed in a beautiful inner southeast Portland residence, and featured […]
September 8, 2017

Exclusive Interview with Christian McBride on Ray Brown Tribute

We are very excited to present renowned jazz bassist Christian McBride live in concert at The Mission Theater on Wednesday, October 18 in a debut program in tribute to jazz bass icon Ray Brown that also features pianist Benny Green and Lewis Nash (Tickets are available here). PDX Jazz Executive Artistic Director Don Lucoff caught up with McBride while he was finishing up a Quincy Jones Tribute show at the Hollywood Bowl on what Ray Brown and his music have meant to McBride and his own career, and here’s what he had to say… PDX: The word mentor comes up frequently when Ray’s name is mentioned, can you connect the dots on that as it relates to your experiences with him on and off the bandstand? McB: […]
September 1, 2017

Listening to the History of Jazz: Unsung Pianists

By KMHD Radio’s Mark Montesano There are so many underrated piano players in jazz history that one could spend a lifetime listening to them all. As a continuation of last month’s blog on underrated tenor sax players I want to give some recognition to four of my favorite hard bop jazz pianists. Give a listen!   Elmo Hope (1923-1967): Born in New York City to parents who emigrated from the Caribbean. One of his childhood friends was Bud Powell. Both met Thelonious Monk in 1942 and they  began exchanging ideas and experimenting with new kinds of harmonies and melodies. His style was blues- based, with jagged lines and unexpected twists. He avoided virtuosity and speed in favor of subtle and complex choice of notes. Hope left […]