Monday, March 11, 2013

TWO CONCERTS! Tonight and Tomorrow at PSU

Farnell Newton
I've been enjoying my time with the various ensembles I work with in the Portland State University Jazz Program. This term, we benefited from the PDX Jazz Festival giving us additional opportunities for student performances. We had many groups perform at Ivories as well as the PDX Student Stages on the PSU campus. It's great to get the students performing in real situations.  Additionally, I invited some of our ensembles to perform for my Jazz History class. I think it was good for the jazz students as well as the history students.

Tonight and tomorrow(March 11 and 12) our cup runneth over; we will have TWO performances by our ensembles on the campus of PSU. Tonight's concert will be in Lincoln Hall 75, and feature three different groups: the PSU Salsa Band(directed by trumpeter and PSU alumni Farnell Newton), the Guitar Orchestra (directed by one of our Master's degree students, guitarist Corey Hoeppner), and the Portland State Jazz Saxophone Ensemble(directed by yours truly...). I have heard the Salsa Band, and they are impressive; Newton has done a great job of teaching them the traditional rhythms of Latin Jazz. He also sits in with the band on congas! Similarly, I will be playing piano with the Saxes; they've done  lot of performing this term and they are steadily improving. We are doing a number of great McCoy Tyner tunes and Herbie Hancock tunes, as well as a few tunes arranged by our tenor saxophonist Tristan Weitkamp. Tonight's concert is free and begins at 7pm.

Darrell Grant
Tomorrow's concert is in Lincoln Hall 175. The groups performing will be the PSU Nonet(directed by Assistant Dean of the College of the Arts and famed pianist Darrell Grant), the Park Avenue Group(which I direct and play in) and the Guitar Heroes(which I direct...and occasionally sit in on drums). The Nonet has some of our strongest players in the program, as does the Park Avenue Group. The latter group has done a lot of performing this term, and even more playing without me; tenor saxophonist Nicole Glover, bassist Jon Lakey, and drummer Jon Huteson have been playing every week at the Brasserie Montmartre, which means they know how to groove together. The Guitar Heroes are playing many of my songs, and they also know how to groove together, as well as come up with some cool guitar effects using pedals and so forth. This concert also starts at 7pm and is free and open to the public.

I'm leaving you with some clips from a recent performance of the Park Avenue Group from the PDX student stages. The sound isn't optimal, but it might give you an idea of the great things we are doing in the Portland State Jazz Program. Hope to see you tonight and/or tomorrow!

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