PDX Jazz, the sponsoring organization of the Portland Jazz Festival is bringing in several live performances to roll-out the line-up for the 2013 Festival. This year marks the Festival’s 10th anniversary, and they’ll be showcasing 3 different international Jazz acts in the month of October.
October 15th – Matthew Shipp trio @ Jimmy Mak’s
Matthew Shipp’s innovative playing will be on full display at Jimmy Mak’s. This is a rare appearance for the pianist in Portland. He’s been a collaborator with saxophonist David S. Ware, as well as indie-rock and electronic artists throughout his career.
October 18th – Nik Bartch’s Ronin @ the Mission Theater
The “zen-funk” stylings of Nik Bartch’s quintet, Ronin is possibly one of the most interesting and genre-bending in all of Jazz. Their meditative music evolves in performance before the audiences eyes, making for an especially enjoyable live experience – one not to be missed.
October 23 – Gregoire Maret @ Jimmy Mak’s
Swiss-born Harmonica player Gregoire Maret is the real deal. A seasoned player, he’s spent time with Herbie Hancock and Marcus Miller among other legends of Jazz. He brings his quartet to Portland on the 23rd.
October 25th – Delfeayo Marsalis @ Jimmy Mak’s
Trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis (one of the four Marsalis brothers) is a terrific player who holds true to the Jazz traditions of the early part of the 20th century. He brings his quintet to Jimmy Mak’s on October the 25th.
The 32nd Annual Cathedral Park Jazz Festival wrapped up last weekend, and KMHD was there. This year’s festival had a different flavor, showcasing Portland’s diverse Jazz scene. Here are some highlights:
Saxophonist David Evans and pianist Andrew Oliver delivered a wonderful duo performance on Sunday afternoon. Their stripped down, vibrant takes on Jazz standards were the perfect fit for the weather, setting the tone for a lazy afternoon in the park.
On Saturday afternoon, the Pete Peterson Seven gave the crowd a swingin’ set of Jazz standards. The band’s tight horn section (with trumpeter Paul Mazzio, Stan Bock on trombone, and festival organizer Mary-Sue Tobin on sax) and impressive rhythm section (with George Colligan and Andre St. James) included a surprise visit by vocalist Alyssa Schwary.
Portland groove-merchants Trio Subtonic played a pleasing early afternoon set that got the crowd up on it’s feet and dancing. Their new release has been getting heavy rotation at KMHD, making them a festival favorite.
The “gypsy brass” sounds of Krebsic Orkestar were on full display early Sunday afternoon, on the stage and in the crowd. Their raucous, fun sounds filled the park with their own Balkan-influenced take on World Jazz.
You may have heard that the festival almost didn’t happen this year. Thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers, community organizers and musicians – it all went down without a hitch, and that’s a wonderful thing! Here’s looking forward to next year!
-Matt Fleeger, Program Director
Navigating the 150+ different performances that make up the Portland Jazz Festival can be a mind-bending challenge. Fortunately for you, we’ve compiled this easy rough-guide to the festival. The following are our picks for some noteworthy, and off-the-beaten path performances. Whether you’re a fan of straight-ahead Jazz, funky stuff, vocals, or avant-garde – the festival has something for everyone!
Here are our picks:
-For Straight-ahead Jazz Fans
Mon, 2/20, 7:30 @ Jimmy Mak’s – Charles McPherson
Weds, 2/22, 8:30 @ Ivories – Chuck Israels plays Bill Evans
Fri, 2/24, 7:00 @ Newmark Theater – Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band
Sat, 2/25, 9:30 @ Art Bar – Upper Left Trio
Sun, 2/26, 3:00 @ Newmark Theater – Branford Marsalis + Joey Calderazzo
-For Fans of Funky Jazz
Fri, 2/17, 9:30 @ Nel Centro – Damian Erskine + Carlton Jackson
Sun, 2/19, 8:00 @ Blue Monk – The Quadraphonnes
Fri, 2/24, 9:30 @ Crystal Ballroom – Bill Frissell plays John Lennon
Sat, 2/25, 9:30 @ Chrystal Ballroom – Charlie Hunter + PDX Afrobeat Breakdown
-For adventurous fans
Sat, 2/18, 7:30 @ Winningstad Theater – Enrico Rava
Sun, 2/19, 7:00 @ Winningstad Theater – The Jazz Passengers
Thurs, 2/23, 8:00 @ Gallery 135 – Portland Jazz Composer’s Ensemble
Sat, 2/25, 3:00 @ Crystal Ballroom – Vijay Iyer + Tirtha
-For fans of Vocal Jazz
Thurs, 2/23, 7:00 @ Newmark Theater – Dee Dee Bridgewater
Sat, 2/25, 8:30 @ Touche – Kelley Shannon feat. Dick Birk
Sat, 2/18, 9:30 @ Art Bar – Better Homes and Gardens
Thurs, 2/23, 9:00 @ Rogue Brewery – Go by Train
Thurs, 2/23, 9:30 @ Art Bar – Rebecca Kilgore and Dave Frishberg
The 2012 US Bank Portland Jazz Festival presented by Alaska Airlines will be held Friday, February 17 through Sunday, February 26 at venues throughout Portland. The 9th annual 11 day festival will include jazz education and outreach along with a series of concerts featuring an eclectic mix of internationally recognized and local musicians playing a wide-range of jazz styles.
Among this year’s headliners are esteemed saxophonist Branford Marsalis and the prolific pianist Joey Calderazzo, playing songs off their latest album, Songs of Mirth and Melancholy; legendary drummer and NEA Jazz Master Roy Haynes, who has played with some of the most decorated names in jazz over the past 60 years and continues to “Snap Crackle at 86″ and GRAMMY® Award winning singer Dee Dee Bridgewater, who will return to Portland (she last played the festival in 2006) performing the timeless songs of Billie Holiday. The revered Seattle based guitarist Bill Frisell, in a two-night program titled “For Portland Only,” will perform in four divergent settings, the first evening, paying tribute to the works of pedal steel guitarist, Wesley Webb “Speedy” West and guitarist, fiddle player and producer, Jimmy Bryant as well as pop icon John Lennon.
Frisell’s second evening will turn to the ethereal, boasting his classically sublime 858 Quartet and a captivating solo opening set. Seminal Portland trumpeter and educator Thara Memory will be honored as this year’s Portland Jazz Master and will open the festival with ambitious large scale ensembles inspired by the music of Miles Davis.
Guitar phenom Charlie Hunter will perform a program titled Solo Jam as part of the Portland Jam Band Marathon, an evening devoted to regionally based jam bands. The celebrated New York Times “jazz album of the year” composer-pianist Vijay Iyer will be joined by India based guitar-composer Prasanna and tabla player Nitin Mitta. They comprise Tirtha in an east meets west program titled “From New York to Tamil Nadu.”
Additionally, the influential Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava and his quintet Tribes will feature a program of introspective-tinged songs spanning Rava’s celebrated ECM recording legacy in a show entitled A Jazz Pilgrim. New York downtown compatriots of actor/musician John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards, The Jazz Passengers, will play songs off their first album in 12 years, Reunion.
White Bird Dance will present Griot New York in partnership with the Festival. This is a highley anticipated and legendary collaboration between the Tony Award-winning choreographer Garth Fagan, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Wynton Marsalis and celebrated sculptor Martin Puryear. The pre-recorded three-part composition uses jazz to render the history and feeling of a city, and the emotional references connected to styles and rhythmic grooves. The preceding evening on February 21 on Fat Tuesday, the festival will celebrate Mardi Gras @ The Mission with a PDX flavored roux. ”From India to Italy and returning home to PDX via New York City, this year’s festival maintains a longstanding tradition of embracing jazz as an evolving and fast changing global art form,” states managing director Don Lucoff.
This year’s festival was programmed by Lucoff after the retirement of founding artistic director Bill Royston last spring. Lucoff concludes, “Royston re-wrote the rules for programming in the U.S. by giving audiences unsurpassed thematic presentations that resonated around the world.” This year’s festival will put a strong focus on local artists interacting with the arriving headliners through various outreach and educational programs, along with surprises to be announced in the future.
Complete concert schedule:
Friday February 17, 7:30pm, Winningstad Theater Thara Memory
Saturday February 18, 7:30pm, Winningstad Theater Enrico Rava’s Tribe
Sunday February 19, 7:00pm, Winningstad Theater The Jazz Passengers
Tuesday February 21, 7:30pm, Mission Theater Mardi Gras @ The Mission
Wednesday February 22, 7:30pm, Arlene Schnitzer Hall Garth Fagan Dance
Thursday February 23, 7:00pm, Newmark Theatre Dee Dee Bridgewater
Friday February 24, 7:00pm, Newmark Theatre Roy Haynes Quartet
Friday February 24, 9:30pm, Crystal Ballroom Bill Frisell -Tribute to John Lennon
Saturday February 25, 3:00pm, Crystal Ballroom Vijay Iyer, Prasanna, Nitin Mitta
Saturday February 25, 7:00pm, Newmark Theatre Bill Frisell solo & the 858 Quartet
Saturday February 25, 9:30pm, Crystal Ballroom Charlie Hunter
Sunday February 26, 3:00, Newmark Theater Branford Marsalis/Joey Calderazzo Duo
KMHD is the official media sponsor of the Portland Jazz Festival
On June 15th, shortly before sunset, the Stanley Cup Finals came to an end in a manner that most cities dread: large-scale rioting.
A short 8 days after these destructive hockey riots rocked the otherwise peaceful city to it’s core, The Vancouver International Jazz festival seemed to come at the most opportune of moments. What does it take for a city like this to get back to normal? Jazz. And a festival celebrating the worldwide unifying spirit of this music was right around the corner.
The first person I saw when I got to Vancouver was John Orysik, Media Director for the festival. “So sorry about your Canucks, John” I said “even more sorry about what happened afterwards.” To which Orsyk, a smile stretching across his face, responded “Perfect time for a Jazz Festival.”
The boarded up windows of businesses are all that’s left as a reminder of that terrible night, like band-aids covering up cuts and bruises. Passers by leave notes with sentiments that are aimed at thanking and comforting the business owners – and at showing what kind of a city Vancouver really is.
Last week, I traveled north to cover one of the world’s most interesting celebrations of Jazz music. The Vancouver International Jazz festival is just that, a mix of what’s happening now in the world of Jazz. From Norway, Spain, Africa, the U.S. and seemingly every western European country – representatives from around the world gather in one of North America’s most beautiful cities to play for enthusiastic crowds.
My first show at the festival started with a bang. German saxophonist Peter Brotzmann’s Full Blast is just that – a white-knuckle ride through what could only be described as the heavy metal of jazz. The saxophonist’s lyrical playing was loud, dissonant and absolutely indescribable. You just have to see it first hand to really get it, and I’m glad I did.
Swedish super-group Tonbruket (led by bassist Dan Berglund) played a set that moved from ballad to rhythmic instrumental, sometimes within the same song. Their brand of Jazz fusion melded indie rock with indian rhythms and what sounded at times like Dick Dale-influenced surf guitar.
One of Jaga Jazzist’s 6 North American tour dates came through the festival and the large ensemble didn’t disappoint, playing for a raucous, enthusiastic crowd. Their energetic mix seemed to hit the right note for the standing-room only audience.
Robert Glasper’s soulful touch was evident throughout his lulling, rollicking acoustic set. This sold-out 3 performance set was a wonderful thing to behold, and Glasper seemed to truly appreciate the audiences familiarity with his work. His version of Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit” was a highlight.
Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society was one of two large ensembles to play on the first Sunday of the festival. Argue’s composition’s are heady-yet accessible pieces that are often themed (Buckminster Fuller and author David Foster Wallace were prominent inspirations). The composer and band-leader now resides in Brooklyn, but is originally from Vancouver and was met with a warm reception from his hometown audience.
Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra were in top form when they performed in the Vancouver Symphonies’ Orpheum Theatre. As per usual, they swayed between Ellingtonia and post-bop arrangements with ease and grace (even going as far as to perform Herbie Hancock’s “riot”). In the context of a cutting-edge Jazz festival like this one, The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra added a supreme level of sophistication, demonstrating that the birthplace of Jazz still produces some of the most amazing musicians in the world.
One of the unexpected treats of the festival was getting to sit down for some traditional Japanese Izakaya (tavern) food with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s stellar pianist, Dan Nimmer. Nimmer invited me afterward to the festival’s closed-door jam session, where the entire 15-member Orchestra rotated on the small stage of the Listel Hotel’s bar, calling tunes until 2 AM.
As Jazz fans, we make pilgrimages to places like these to be taken out of our element for a bit to experience something special. The Vancouver International Jazz Festival certainly delivered that experience, and for the city’s residents – it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Matt Fleeger, Program Director
PDX Jazz presents fine local musicians at RiverFest 2009, the largest free summer celebration honoring the Willamette River. The lineup, during Saturday’s events of the four day festival, features music handpicked by PDX Jazz Artistic Director Bill Royston for a unique take on jazz in a scenic setting.
Saturday’s line-up includes:
12:00-1:00 PM Mary Kadderly
1:15-2:30 PM Darrell Grant & On The Territory
2:45-4:00 PM Stephanie Schneiderman
4:15-5:30 PM Tom Grant w/Shelly Rudolph