PDX Jazz Blog

April 25, 2016

The White House to Celebrate International Jazz Day This Weekend

As you may know, this coming Saturday April 30 is International Jazz Day, established by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, complete with concerts and sundry celebrations all over the world. A month ago it was announced that 5th Annual International Jazz Day Global Concert will be held at The White House with Michelle and President Barack Obama playing host to dozens of artists the night before, portions of which will make up a one-hour event the night before entitled Jazz at The White House to be broadcast the following night on ABC television at 8PM. Some of the artist participating in The White House event include Joey Alexander, Terence Blanchard, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Chick Corea, Jamie Cullum, Kurt Elling, Aretha Franklin, Buddy Guy, Herbie Hancock, Zakir Hussain, Al Jarreau, Diana Krall, Hugh Masekela, Christian McBride, John McLaughlin, Pat Metheny, Marcus Miller, Dianne Reeves, Lee Ritenour, Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, Sting, […]
April 14, 2016

Next Thursday: Free Screening of OPB’s “Jazz Town”

Hello! Just one week from tonight, Oregon Public Broadcasting in conjunction with PDX Jazz will be presenting a free advance screening of the “Jazz Town” documentary at PCC Cascade’s Moriarty Auditorium. The program is a new installment in OPB’s Oregon Experience series that examines the eruption of music and nightlife in North and Northeast Portland in the 1940s and ’50s. A colorful and significant chapter in the city’s cultural narrative, this short-lived period is largely unknown to many Oregonians. As Portland’s African-American population swelled after World War II, newcomers to the city came with a shared passion for rhythm and blues and contemporary, danceable jazz. Their options for entertainment were limited due to segregation. Presented largely through first-hand accounts from local residents, “Jazz Town” showcases the music and the parade of musicians that helped to put Portland on the jazz map. Free and open to the public, the screening event is first come, first […]
April 11, 2016

This Thursday!: Celebrating Clifford Brown at Alberta Abbey

Hello! Hope everyone’s week is off to a good start. And if you’re already feeling the work week blues, PDX Jazz will give you something joyous to look forward to this Thursday with our first  show of the Spring 2016 season Joy Spring: Celebrating Clifford Brown, a two-set concert featuring some of the Pacific Northwest’s finest musicians interpreting Brownie’s signature tunes including “Daahoud”, “Cherokee” and of “Joy Spring” among many others. Joy Spring will put the spotlight on Seattle-based trumpeter Charlie Porter, a fantastic player who has toured the world as a bandleader and sideman who has performed with  Joe Zawinul, Paquito D’Rivera, Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra and Alan Jones Sextet among others. Also joining Porter on stage this Thursday will be David Evans (saxophone), Dan Gaynor (piano), Tom Wakeling (bass) and Christopher Brown (drums), all brilliant musicians in their own right. Tickets are still available. We hope that you will join us this […]
March 30, 2016

Just Announced: Wayne Thompson tribute concert on April 24

For those of you who haven’t heard, PDX Jazz will be presenting a tribute concert to fallen Portland Jazz Master Wayne Thompson on Sunday, April 24 at 3PM at the Alberta Abbey. Wayne Thompson was an indefatigable jazz warrior and life-long jazz advocate. He worked for 37 years at The Oregonian as a reporter and editor. He covered the Trail Blazers’ inaugural season in 1970 and was a key contributor to telling the team’s story for four decades, and wrote for several national publications including Time, Fortune, The Sporting News and Jazz Scene. Wayne was also recognized as a Portland Jazz Master by our organization and the Mayor’s office during the 2015 Portland Jazz Festival, and he was honored by the Jazz Journalists Association as their 2014 Jazz Hero as well. Wayne passed away on January 10, 2016, and PDX Jazz will hold “A Musical Celebration of Life” concert in […]
March 2, 2016

My Favorite Things from the 2016 Biamp PDX Jazz Festival

Hello! The 2016 Biamp PDX Jazz Festival was a smashing success, and in great part due to all of our fantastic volunteers, sponsors and of course all of you who bought tickets and came out to support our 11 day run this year. We set record numbers in several departments, but more importantly set so many wonderful experiences and memories for those who were a part of it all. Now that the dust has settled, I’d like to share with you what were personal highlights for me from this year’s extravaganza. One of my favorite performances from this year’s Festival was the concert featuring legendary flutist and saxophonist Charles Lloyd. This was special for me on a lot of levels – I first discovered Lloyd when I was working as a DJ at WMUB-FM in Oxford, Ohio. I found a vinyl copy of his “Love In” live at the Fillmore LP […]
February 28, 2016

A Knife is to Cut – by Pancho Savery

In Book I of his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle makes use of the function argument. He argues that humans, like other things, have a function, and that true happiness comes when one exercises one’s function. For Aristotle, humans’ function is to think rationally, just as a knife’s function is to cut. Brian Blade had his knife sharpened as he played at Revolution Hall with the Fellowship Band and cut the place up. The last time he was in town, last October, also at Revolution Hall, he was in the company of Wayne Shorter, and he played so fiercely that at one point one of his sticks went flying into the audience. Although he managed to keep control of them this time, he was no less sharp. Two things have always impressed me about Blade’s playing, his enormous energy and the joy with which he plays. He always has a smile on his face, and his joy infects both the […]
February 24, 2016

one, two, three, WE FOUR – by Deborah Demoss Smith

When it comes to listening to the epitome of authentic jazz, Sunday February 21st at the Winningstad Theatre proved to be a high note. WE FOUR – featuring saxophonist Javon Jackson, bassist Corcoran Holt, and jazz legends pianist George Cables and drummer Jimmy Cobb – delivered a “now, that’s jazz!” performance. The audience obviously concurred as I heard no sighs of boredom and saw no one leave early. Immediately after the concert, Javon headed to the Moda Center to play “The Star Spangled Banner” at the Trailblazers’ game. The solo national anthem scored another PDX JAZZ high. Standing beside me were three young men. I heard one resignedly say, “Oh, another saxophone.” At the tune’s conclusion, they stood there with mouths open and moist eyes. (Jazz rules!) Before we exited the building, Javon was stopped more than once from audience members thanking him for his ballad-rendition. Outside, a recent military […]
February 20, 2016

Fortner’s Keys – by Deborah Demoss Smith (Board Member)

Have y’all ever been to a concert having not heard the artist perform before and hoping you’d leave glad you’d come?  That was my experience on the opening night of the festival, Thursday, Feb. 18th at Classic Pianos. New Orleans-born 29-year-old pianist/composer Sullivan Fortner’s key strokes and music selection offered a more wiser and experienced jazz man than his age may suggest. The room was full and Solly put a spell, with solid jazz standards and cool originals, on the very receptive audience. Earlier in the day, he and I had an easy-going jazz conversation at the nearly-full 220-seat PSU Lincoln Recital Hall.  Hope to see him back in P-town soon.
February 20, 2016

The Zen Master – by Pancho Savery (board member)

It was like being in a Japanese garden. Charles Lloyd was a Zen master on the saxophone, and listening to him was sublime. What was even more amazing was watching Lloyd listening to his young musicians. He gave them a huge amount of space and they rose to the occasion. He walked around the stage pausing at each instrument, listening and encouraging them to “Play, Play!” And eventually he would go back to the front, pick up his horn, and like the original Zen master Lester Young played it sideways. There were times when an audience would normally have applauded, but they didn’t because they didn’t want to break the mood, so in the moment were the audience with the musicians. They ended with Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday,” and we were back in church. A lot of times when musicians are young they attempt to show how good they are […]
February 18, 2016

Fortunate for Sonny Fortune

“Last night at Jimmy Mak’s I was fortunate to witness the great Sonny Fortune play with his quartet.  He was an absolute favorite of mine during the 1970’s and this was my first experience ever seeing him play live.  He didn’t disappoint — in fact he amazed!  His 10 minute version of “Caravan” will be a highlight of the Festival.  It was also wonderful to see our new Board member Pancho Savery introduce the band in his own unique style.  During his introduction he let anyone concerned about being deported by “The Donald” that they could avoid such a fate by becoming a “Citizen of Jazzlandia!”  He then proceeded to recite a short poem from Toni Morrison’s novel “Jazz” in honor of her 83rd birthday.  Charles Lloyd tonight!”