Five Sold Out Shows Highlight Opening Weekend at the U.S. Bank Portland Jazz Festival Presented by Alaska Airlines

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Five Sold Out Shows Highlight Opening Weekend at the
U.S. Bank Portland Jazz Festival Presented by Alaska Airlines

 Second Week to Kickoff with Three Nights at Jimmy Mak’s


Photo Credit: John Rudoff

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The 10th Annual U.S. Bank Portland Jazz Festival Presented by Alaska Airlines kicked off with simultaneous sold out shows featuring the Barry Harris Trio with Chuck Israels and Mel Brown at Jimmy Mak’s and the Afro Cuban All-Stars with Alfredo Rodríguez as a special opening guest at the Aladdin Theater. The Art Abrams Swing Machine Big Band featuring Rebecca Kilgore, with openers Shanghai Woolies, also sold out the Scottish Rite Auditorium for a memorable premiere showcasing Stan Kenton’s musical legacy. Mack Avenue recording artist Alfredo Rodríguez also sold out his solo piano performance as part of the inaugural PDX Jazz Piano Perspectives series at Classic Pianos. George Cables will conclude the series on Thursday night at 7:00PM, tickets are still available for purchase here.

Tonight, February 18th, “NEA Jazz Master Gerald Wilson presented by Mack Avenue Records.” In his first Portland performance since 1949, where he performed at McElroy’s as lead trumpeter in the Basie band, the legendary Gerald Wilson will conduct the PDX Jazz All-Star Student Big Band performing Wilson’s most cherished compositions. The PDX Jazz Educators Ensemble will perform the second show playing Wilson’s music rearranged for octet. The 94-year-old bandleader, composer, trumpeter, educator and jazz icon, has a career that dates back to his first gig with the Jimmie Lunceford band in 1939. Known for his advanced voicing and pioneering the use of eight-part harmonies, Wilson went on to write for some of the greatest jazz orchestras (Ellington, Basie and Benny Carter, among others) and continues to compose to this day at his home in Los Angeles. Listen to Gerald Wilson, Sweet Baby James, and Mel Brown discuss Portland’s Golden Age of Jazz with Thara Memory in this Jazz Conversation

The PDX All-Star Student Band, under the direction of  NEA Jazz Master Gerald Wilson, will include: trumpeters, Matt Carr (guest artist, lead trumpet with Art Abrams & Carlton Jackson Big Band), Noah Conrad, Ben Seacrist and Kirin Bolsey; trombonists, Matt Hettwer (guest artist, Portland State University Big Band), Garrett Williamson, James Powers and Michael Gillett; saxophonists, Ryan DeHaven, John Carey, Aaron Reihs, Ben Anderson, Joel Gardella and Sam Seacrist; and rhythm section players, bassist, Nicole Vanderzanden, drummer, Nolan Hamar, pianist Justin Salisbury and guitarist Athony Utehs.   

The PDX Jazz Educators Ensemble who assembled the various students from their respective programs will include: trumpeters, Farnell Newton and Derek Sims; saxophonists, David Valdez and John Gross; trombonist, Stan Bock; bassist, Eric Gruber;  drummer, Alan Jones and piano/leader, Darrell Grant.

Photo Credit: John Rudoff

Scott Hamilton will perform at Jimmy Mak’s on February 19th, featuring Dave Frishberg, Dave Captein and Gary Hobbs. Hamilton is one of the premier ‘mainstream’ saxophonists in jazz today. Known especially as a balladeer for his novel interpretations of standard tunes, Hamilton is clearly one of jazz’s most prolific recording artists, having appeared on 118 albums, including 46 as a leader and 20 as a co-leader. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, he came along at a time when the kind of jazz he loved – the small-group swing of such great stylists as Illinois Jacquet and Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis – was out of fashion, and largely out of the public ear. Hamilton’s warm sound and impeccable phrasing were a rare commodity among young jazzmen at the time. Indeed, he is often credited as one of the players who has kept the Swing Era in jazz relevant in today’s market.

Hamilton, 58, who currently lives in Italy, last played in Portland in 2004, with pianist Dave Frishberg, at the Jazz Society of Oregon’s 20th annual “First Jazz” celebration at the Benson Hotel, which was part of the Portland Jazz Festival’s inaugural event. Now he returns, Frishberg at his side again, with an all-star Portland rhythm section including bassist Dave Captein and drummer Gary Hobbs.

Matt Wilson: Arts & Crafts featuring Terell Stafford, Gary Versace and Martin Wind will perform at Jimmy Mak’s on February 20th. National Public Radio says, “Drummer Matt Wilson is one of the friendliest guys in jazz, and his music, even at its most complex, reflects that.” He was voted the 2011 Drummer of the Year by the Jazz Journalists Association, an honor he was also awarded in 2003, and was featured on the covers of both DownBeat and JazzTimes magazines in November of 2009. In addition to maintaining an active schedule as a performer, bandleader and recording artist, Matt Wilson is a dedicated teaching artist. His outreach work and reputation as a community builder has helped establish him as a treasured ambassador for jazz music. 

Few reserved tickets remain for Jimmy Mak’s performances and can be purchased here. Tickets for any of the performances held at Jimmy Mak’s are $18 general admission, or $22 for reserved seating. 

Jimmy Mak’s Performances
All Shows @ 7:00PM and 9:30PM
Tickets are available for purchase here.


For more information, please contact:

Don Lucoff –

503-228-JAZZ (5299)


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