PDX Jazz Blog

January 27, 2017

PDX Jazz Executive Artistic Director’s Q&A with Maria Schneider

By Don Lucoff, PDX Jazz Executive Artistic Director This year the BIAMP PDX Jazz Festival will feature a number of large ensembles and big bands including Maria Schneider Orchestra, MONK’estra, The Ezra Weiss Monday Night Big Band, and The Mel Brown Big Band featuring Jon Faddis in tribute to Dizzy Gillespie.  Ezra’s band which will feature Portland’s top section players and soloists perform all original compositions. We have billed this performance to honor the rich tradition of Monday Night big bands that enjoyed important longstanding residences in New York over the past 30 years, the most famous being the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.  I have many personal fond memories, especially hearing on a regular basis Gil Evans’ band at Sweet Basil as well as the Mingus […]
January 25, 2017

Jazz in the Schools on OPB Radio This Saturday!

PDX Jazz is pleased to inform you that OPB Radio will be running a segment on our “Jazz in the Schools” education program this coming Saturday during OPB’s “State of Wonder” show. The program airs on Saturday at noon and repeats on Sunday at 10am. We highly encourage you to tune in and check it out! OPB radio can be found at 91.5 on your FM dial. In the meantime, feel free to check out the JitS promotional trailer below.
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
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.”