Charlie Hunter-Festival Headliner Opens the “PDX Afrobeat Breakdown” Featuring Scott Pemberton Trio With Special Surprise guest, Ben Darwish – COMMOTION and Jujuba @ Crystal Ballroom, Saturday, February 25 @ 9:30pm

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Festival Headliner Charlie Hunter To Open For The

 “PDX Afrobeat Breakdown”
Featuring Scott Pemberton Trio With Special Surprise guest,

Ben Darwish – COMMOTION and Jujuba @ Crystal Ballroom,

Saturday, February 25 @ 9:30pm

PDX Jazz and the 2012 US Bank Portland Jazz Festival Presented by Alaska Airlines announce Charlie Hunter and the “PDX Afrobeat Breakdown” at the Crystal Ballroom on Saturday, February 25th at 9:30pm. The guitar phenom’s Solo Jam opens the night followed by performances from Portland artists Scott Pemberton with a surprise special guest, Ben Darwish’s COMMOTION, and Jujuba. The program will explore and “breakdown” the historical Afrobeat discipline as a pivotal root in the modern funk and jam band experience which combines the improvisational character of jazz with the raunchiness of funk and flavor mixture of African tradition (BBC).

                                                                 Photo Credit: Greg Aiello

States Don Lucoff, PDX Jazz Managing Director, “This marathon program is unprecedented in the festival’s history, whereby three local bands are sharing the stage with a headline artist. What better showplace than the Crystal Ballroom to present Hunter and three of Portland’s most funky and groove oriented bands than the storied venue that served as one of the Grateful Dead’s favorite performance spaces outside of The Bay Area.”

Charlie Hunter has established himself as one of the premier modern fusion/jazz-rock artists. Hunter will often find a funk groove and turn it into an amplified, wah-wah pedal induced free jam that competes with saxophones, keyboards and even violins. Since the early 1990s, Hunter has released 17 acclaimed albums featuring his dizzying technical and virtuosic 8-string guitar playing. Hunter has collaborated with preeminent names such as Christian McBride, Michael Franti, Norah Jones, Kurt Elling, Mos Def and even took lessons from master guitarist Joe Satriani.

“Though rhythm and blues always has been Hunter’s bread and butter, his earthy sensibility often leads people to overlook his resourcefulness as an improviser. Hunter almost serves as a bridge between the avant-garde and jazz’s populist edge.” – The Los Angeles Times

Charlie Hunter: “How Ya Gonna Leave ‘Em Down On The Farm – Nederland Winterfest 2010”

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Artist

Scott Pemberton is among Portland’s most renowned modern guitarists. His entertaining and eclectic shows have earned him a strong reputation in the Pacific Northwest music scene. The Portland-native’s playing has drawn comparisons to a diverse range of guitarists like Jimi Hendrix, Dick Dale, and Grant Green.

“Pemberton has translated a salt-of-the-earth approach to spreading his music into some of the most infectiously positive music resonating throughout Rip City.” - Oregon Music News

Scott Pemberton Superband: “Let’s Do It”

Photo Credit: Cortney Erskine

Portland-based pianist/composer Ben Darwish and COMMOTION are a funky ten-piece group designed for a live experience. They are known for their rhythmic danceability and offbeat conceptual shows such as the Afrobeat Tribute to Michael Jackson.

“Anyone impressed by skilled musicians holding down a groove and letting the horns do the talking would be hard pressed to find a better live dance party.” - Willamette Week

Ben Darwish and COMMOTION: “Afrobeat Tribute to Michael Jackson”


                                                         Photo Credit: Stephen Shefrin

Jujuba is a Portland-based eleven-piece afrobeat ensemble that mixes funk and Nigerian juju with a driving rhythm and horn section. The band features drummer and Nigeria-native Nojeem Lasisi, who has settled in Portland and found local musicians passionate about Nigerian music to round out the band. Lasisi played with King Sunny Ade, who is widely considered the premier juju musician.

“The heat and flavor was all in the groove.” - Marty Hughley, The Oregonian

Jujuba: “Jujuba at the Goodfoot – 9-27-08 – #2”


 Ticketing Info:

Portland Jazz Festival Box Office

Hours of Operation: 2-5:30 pm, Monday-Friday

Order by Phone: (503) 228-5299

 In Person: 133 SW 2nd Avenue, Ste 420 Portland, OR 97204



Crystal Ballroom Box Office

Walk Up: 1332 W Burnside 11:30 am – 6 pm, Daily

By Phone: 855-CAS-TIXX

Tickets range from $25-$45

Ticket Package:

Tickets to 3 shows at the Crystal Ballroom
(Bill Frisell, Vijay Iyer, Charlie Hunter), general admission, $99

Package is available exclusively through the Portland Jazz Festival box office


Anyone can purchase Gold Circle tickets (best seats) for $45
or reserved seating for $40

For further information contact

Don Lucoff @

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