Monday, February 24, 2014

PDX Jazz Festival

The PDX Jazz Festival is well underway. I've been performing a lot in the past week; our area recital at PSU on Tuesday with the Persian Jazz Collective and the Colligan Men's Tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, my new steady gig at Jo Bar and Rotisserie with Jon Lakey on Bass and Chris Brown on drums, a sold out show with my group Theoretical Planets at Camellia Lounge, my Quintet at Ivories, and finally the Newmark Theater with Buster Williams featuring Cindy Blackman, Bennie Maupin and Julian Priester. I also did a cool Jazz Conversation with Buster Williams on Saturday afternoon. It's great to play music, but the PDX Jazz  Festival this year is bigger than ever, and there is a lot happening that I won't get to see. However, I was able to check out the Jazz Conversation with Darrell Grant and piano legend Amhad Jamal. I also went down to the Hotel Monaco and checked out the Club Room performance of Nicole Glover, Jon Lakey, and 14 year old drummer Jordan Goldblatt. Not only did I find this young trio to be playing music on a high level, I was impressed with the venue, and wondered why Portland jazz musicians don't try to do jazz events in this location more frequently.

Last night, I was able to get backstage and listen to the Spring Quartet, which featured drummer Jack
Leo Genovese. I think he is a keyboard player.....
DeJohnette, bassist Esperanza Spalding, pianist Leo Genovese, and  tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano. Although everyone in the group played impressively, I was most impressed with Genovese, who not only played the acoustic piano with fluid and prodigious technique and rhythm, but also did some cool detuned upright piano explorations using the array of various keyboards which surrounded him on the stage. He also plays a decent soprano saxophone ( another surprise was that Spalding, known as a bassist and vocalist, midway through the show pulled out an alto saxophone and played along with Lovano and Genovese!)

For more information on upcoming PDX Jazz festival events, please check out the Portland Jazz Festival website.

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