The Portland Jazz Festival, from PDX Jazz, celebrates Black History Month with a series of concerts and events presented over two weeks every February. Dedicated to preserving America’s indigenous art form by presenting internationally recognized jazz masters alongside local musicians, the festival includes education and outreach programs that extend into Portland’s schools and neighborhoods, as well as a generous offering of free performances.
“We strive to produce a festival that reflects the fabric of a vibrant jazz community … there is no city of a similar size in America that boasts such a wealth of talented artists as Portland.” – Managing director Don Lucoff
The annual orgy of improvised music brings some of jazz’s greatest living stars, including Charles Lloyd, Gary Peacock, Kenny Barron, Dianne Reeves and other greats. It also offers the chance to see rising young lions like Nicole Glover, Monk competition winner Marquis Hill and pianist Aaron Goldberg, plus a parade of Portland’s finest jazz musicians, tributes to legends like John and Alice Coltrane, Elvin Jones, West Montgomery and Jimmy Smith and much more.
In its 13th incarnation (Feb. 18–28, 2016) the festival celebrated John Coltrane at 90. This musical retrospective of one jazz’s most influential pioneers included performances by musicians who played with Coltrane in the past, along with tributes to well-known collaborators and special concerts. One performance also payed tribute to John’s wife, Alice Coltrane.
Performances were held at multiple venues, from the Newmark and Winningstad theaters at Portland’5 Centers for the Arts in downtown Portland, to the acclaimed jazz club Jimmy Mak’s in the Pearl and the historic Aladdin Theater, a former vaudeville house.
Getting to the festival
The Portland Jazz Festival’s official transportation partners were Amtrak and Alaska Airlines.
2016 PDX Jazz Festival hotels
The following hotels partnered with PDX Jazz Fest to provide lodging during the festival (Feb. 18–28, 2016):
- Ace Hotel
- Aloft Portland Airport at Cascade Station
- The Benson Hotel
- DoubleTree by Hilton
- Embassy Suites
- Hilton Portland & Executive Tower
- Hotel deLuxe
- Hotel Eastlund
- Hotel Lucia
- Hotel Rose
- Mark Spencer Hotel
- Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront
- River’s Edge Hotel & Spa
- The Westin Portland