Portland Jazz Festival Unveiled

Portland Jazz Festival The First Ever
Portland Jazz Festival
February 2-8, 2004 – Portland, Oregon
by Raymond Redmond

Jazz is coming back to town! Portland’s #1 jazz advocate Bill Royston has done it again. He’s broken off from the annual Mt. Hood Jazz festival committee to start up the first Portland Jazz Festival. The plan is to hold the festival over a week’s time and have the various events placed throughout downtown Portland. Presented during the first week of Black History Month, Portland Jazz Festival (or PDX Jazz), in association with Jazz Society of Oregon, the Bea Eidsness Jazz Scholarship Fund, and the Leroy Vinnegar Jazz Institute at Portland State University, will present a series of jazz education programs, linking the evolution of jazz with the African-American experience, in neighborhood schools and community centers throughout Portland.

These assemblies, workshops, master classes, and forums will be held during the weekdays (February 2-6) that lead up to an array of weekend performances spotlighting internationally recognized artists with Oregon’s finest jazz musicians. Nearly 50 performances will take place during the weekend (February 6-8, 2004). Six ticketed, headline concerts will be featured, including legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter; #1 jazz violinist Regina Carter; master vibraphonist Gary Burton; and multi-Grammy Award winning percussionist Poncho Sanchez. The streets are gonna bop with jazz like we haven’t seen in a looooong time!

Organized in conjunction with Portland Oregon Visitor’s Association’s (POVA) Cultural Tourism Department and 15 downtown Portland hotels, there will be approximately 40 non-ticketed performances showcasing Portland’s jazz scene throughout the weekend. Festival patrons will be able to catch a set at such venerable Portland jazz venues as Jimmy Mak’s, Blue Monk on Belmont, Billy Reed’s, and Lucere at River Place. Combining world-class musical talent while highlighting regional culinary specialties, patrons will experience such unique Festival events as “Jazz High Tea,” “Jazz Barbecue,” “Jazz (& Gospel) Brunches,” “Jazz Dim Sum,” and several “Jazz Wine & Microbrew Tastings.” There will also be special “Late Night Jazz on Broadway,” featuring jazz along a 5-block stretch of Portland’s main street at the Heathman, Westin, Marriott City Center, Lucia, Paramount, and Benson hotels.

Major performances will take place in downtown hotels:

  • Wayne Shorter, Portland Marriott Downtown (on the Waterfront), Friday, February 6, 8:00 PM.
  • Tom Grant & Jenna Mammina, Embassy Suites Portland, Friday, February 6, 10:30 PM
  • Regina Carter, Hilton Portland, Saturday, February 7, 8:30 PM
  • Gary Burton & Makoto Ozone, Governor Hotel, Sunday, February 8, 1:30 PM
  • PDX Jazz will also stage a “Latin Jazz Dance Party,” featuring Poncho Sanchez, at McMenamins Crystal Ballroom on Saturday, February 7, at 2:00 PM.
  • Jazz Society of Oregon, will present their 20th annual “First Jazz” as the Festival’s grand finale on Sunday, February 8, 4:00 PM, at the Benson Hotel, featuring acclaimed saxophonist Scott Hamilton, plus 2003 JSO Hall of Fame recipient Tom Grant and the Portland Youth Jazz Orchestra.
  • In addition, the Oregon Symphony will present “The Great Ladies of Song” with vocalist Dee Daniels at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall on Saturday, February 6, at 8:00 PM and Sunday, February 7, at 3:00 & 7:00 PM.

With a two-night stay at any of the 17 participating Jazz Festival hotels, patrons can purchase a $100 all-event Jazz Passport. Exclusions from the passport include JSO’s First Jazz and the Oregon Symphony concert. Individual performance tickets range from $20 -$35. For additional Festival information, call 503-228-JAZZ (5299). For the best Portland Jazz Festival hotel rates, visit www.travelportland.com or call toll-free 1.87.PORTLAND (1.877.678.5263).

A portion of the net proceeds from the Portland Jazz Festival benefit the Albertina Kerr Centers. Since 1907, Albertina Kerr Centers has given hope to – and changed the lives of – our community’s most vulnerable citizens: severely abused children, young people with significant behavioral and mental health problems, families in crisis and individuals with developmental disabilities. Albertina Kerr Centers has successfully fulfilled its 96-year mission while maintaining an industry low overhead of 8%, meaning that 92 cents of each dollar goes to the direct care and treatment of the people served by the organization.

Portland Jazz Festival is generously supported by Qwest, Portland Oregon Visitors Association Cultural Tourism, Visitors Development Fund, Comcast, Rogue Ales, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Borders Books & Music, KGW-Northwest NewsChannel 8, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Amtrak, American Airlines, Jazz Times Magazine, Bea Eidsness Jazz Scholarship Fund, and the Jazz Society of Oregon