PDX Jazz Blog

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
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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 […]
October 19, 2016
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An exclusive interview with Dave Douglas

Hello Jazzlandia! I recently got the opportunity to speak with Grammy® Award-winning trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas in a quick Q&A format where he discusses discovering jazz music, his many different music projects, his upcoming performance with The Westerlies & Anwar Marshall at The Old Church in Portland next Friday, and more. Check it out below, and be sure to get tickets to the show next week by clicking here. Enjoy! How did you first get into jazz? Who were some jazz artists that you have earliest memories of or fondness for? My father was an amateur musician — he played piano, banjo, recorder, basically he would try anything. I learned to play tunes by reading from the fake book over his shoulder at the piano. At first on trombone, and then switching to trumpet at the age of 9 because I wanted to play melodies and not long notes. That […]
October 17, 2016
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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
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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
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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