I am proud to report that I am Vice-Chair of the Board of the Portland (Oregon) Jazz Festival, now in its 11th year and which just opened last night with terrific performances by Eliane Elias and Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band. Programmed by industry veteran Don Lucoff, the Festival features an amazing array of talent in ticketed and free shows played out in performance halls and clubs all over our community.
Jazz is keeping interesting company these days. On one end of the spectrum is the ageless Ahmad Jamal, who plays tonight, and on the other is 24-year-old Cecile McLorin Salvant, who plays tomorrow night and is described by Chris Barton of the Los Angeles Times as “a rising star…whose Grammy-nominated sophomore album, ‘Woman Child,’ was one of the sharpest, most magnetic releases of 2013.” Her recording showcases a singing style in the tradition of Abbey Lincoln and Sarah Vaughan, at times even dipping into what Barton describes a “Paul Robeson-like purr” while singing Bert Williams’ “Nobody.” We are quite excited about this performance..
Portland is a fascinating place to live — filled with foodies and galleries and brewers and winemakers and bikers and artists — and it is also one of the great cities in the country for jazz. On any given night there are several clubs in The Pearl neighborhood (all within walking distance of one another) featuring some top-notch jazz.
If you are nearby, come take in the Festival, in town through March 2.
Here is information on the Festival
Here is Chris Barton’s LA Times pieces on Salvant
Doug Ramsey of Rifftides is blogging from the Festival during its first four days
Cecile McLorin Salvant sings “Nobody”
Ahmad Jamal plays “Poinciana”
Eliane Elias plays “So Danco Samba”
Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band play “Stoner Hill”