Bill’s Guide to the Portland Jazz Festival, Part Two
- February 18: This is another night where I’d like to be able to sub-divide like an amoeba. Part of me wants to go to the Jazz Society benefit concert with the father/son tandem of Mel & Chris Brown, but I have a feeling that I’ll hang at The Cave to see Portland’s Nancy King (8:30 PM) within an intimate, New York vibe.
- February 19: Another busy week day! I’m excited about Portland Jazz Orchestra’s evening of Blue Note Legends (7:30 PM) at Old Church. This group has grown so much in the last two years, and we’re proud to have them as the resident ensemble of the Portland Jazz Festival. This will also be a CD release party for PJO’s first recording. When these festivities are over, I’ll be going cross town to see the Master Musicians of Jajouka, known for legendary collaborations with Ornette Coleman, at the Roseland Theater (9:30 PM)-fortunately there’s an opening act, so it shouldn’t hard to make both!
- February 20: The second weekend of the Portland Jazz Festival offers new choices and challenges. There’s a fascinating not-to-be-missed Jazz Conversation at Brunish Hall (2:00 PM) with jazz detective Larry Appelbaum and Howard Mandel, President of the Jazz Journalists Association. Larry is the music archivist at the Library of Congress, who after years of searching found the original acetate tapes in the basement of a Manhattan apartment building of the 1957 Thelonious Monk & John Coltrane at Carnegie Hall concert, which was subsequently re-mastered and released by Blue Note. Then, I’m off to the Mission Theater for a screening of “One Night with Blue Note” (4:30 PM), the legendary concert that officially re-launched Blue Note under Bruce Lundvall’s direction in 1984. This great film features footage from Herbie Hancock, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, McCoy Tyner, Stanley Turrentine, and an incredible finale by Cecil Taylor. This means missing a Jazz Conversation with Jason Moran (4:00 PM), but I plan to get back to the Art Bar for what should be a memorable conversation with Blue Note’s oldest living artist, Lou Donaldson (5:30 PM0, which will subsequently be published as a “Before & After” feature in Jazz Times magazine. I won’t miss Jason Moran & The Bandwagon opening for Cassandra Wilson at the Schnitzer (7:30 PM), but I’m going to sneak out early again because I also want to catch the Upper Left Trio at the RiverPlace and Michelle Medler at West Café (8:00 PM). I’ll then keep club-hopping with Shelly Rudolph at Wilf’s and Wally Schnalle from Northern California at The Cave (also at 8:00 PM), plus Dan Balmer playing at Rogue’s new eastside pub, the Green Dragon (9:00 PM). The real priority here, however, is back at the PCPA with a unique collaboration between two very different Portland music ensembles, the Blue Cranes and Paxselin Quartet (9:00 PM). The second weekend jam sessions are at The Cleaners at The Ace Hotel with an earlier start time (11:00 PM), but will still go until… whenever!
- February 21: Two more Blue Note films are screened at the Mission Theater (12:30 PM) with archival concert footage by Bobby McFerrin and John Scofield. It’s then just a couple of blocks to walk down to the Crystal Ballroom for an afternoon of the Blue Note old cats with Lou Donaldson and Bobby Hutcherson (2:00 PM). I won’t miss a minute of this or another double bill accentuating youth on Saturday night with the ever-provocative Patricia Barber and young Seattle keyboardist and newest Blue Note signee Aaron Parks at the Newmark Theater (7:30 PM). In between, there are Jazz Conversations with Jane Bunnett (5:00 PM) and Aaron Parks (6:00 PM). After Patty Barber’s set, it’s just downstairs to the Art Bar to see Rebecca Kilgore & Dave Frishberg (9:00 PM) and enough time to catch some of rising young guitarist Charlie Stanford at the RiverPlace (8:00 PM) and maybe even some of the nouveau tango by Mood Area 52 at Rogue Public House (9:00 PM) before hitting the last jam session at The Ace (11:00 PM)
- February 22: Whew! The last day, and my feet already hurt! This Sunday starts with a kickin’ Gospel Brunch featuring the Sounds of Soul at SEI on N Kerby in N Portland (11:00 AM). Warning: make reservations in advance; this event is a definite “sold out in advance!” I’ll also race back to the Mission for the last two Blue Note films featuring the incredible Lena Horne and a special performance with Michel Petrucianni w/Wayne Shorter & Jim Hall (12:30 PM). It’s again walking down a couple of blocks to the Crystal Ballroom for a hot set of Cuban jazz with Blue Note Canada artist Jane Bunnett & The Spirits of Havana opening for my all-time favorite jazz guitarist Pat Martino (2:00 PM). Then, there’ll be time to walk over to Rogue Public House for Beer Cheese Soup, Kobe Beef Hot Dog, and one more Jazz Guy Ale before walking back to the Crystal for the grand finale of Kurt Elling Sings Coltrane/Hartman with Ernie Watts, Laurence Hobgood Trio, and the Vox Humana String Quartet. Fireworks galore and I predict to be the memorable events of the festival’s second weekend.
What to do on post-festival Monday, February 23? I’ll be more than happy to stay in bed, watch re-runs of Law & Order, and hope that the laundry magically takes care of itself!