The Portland Jazz Festival 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
In its 11th incarnation (Feb. 20 – March 2, 2014) the festival will include such headline events as:
- A rare appearance by 83-year-old piano icon and NEA Jazz Master Ahmad Jamal (Feb. 21)
- The return of hometown favorite Esperanza Spalding as part of The Spring Quartet, featuring Spalding’s musical director Leo Genovese and longtime collaborators Jack DeJohnette and Joe Lovano (Feb. 23)
- Celebrated jazz stars Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra (Feb. 28)
- Pat Metheny with his recalibrated Unity Group (March 2)
Performances are 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.
In 2009, the Portland Jazz Festival honored the 70th anniversary of Blue Note Records; the 2014 fest will include “Blue Note @ 75,” highlighting artists important to the iconic jazz label’s history. These performances will include:
- Schoolhouse Rock alums Bob Dorough and Dave Frishberg performing their 1999 album, “Who’s on First” (Feb. 23)
- The reunion of hard bop masters Bobby Watson and Horizon, featuring Victor Lewis, Terell Stafford, Edward Simon and Portland native Essiet Essiet (March 1)
- Eliane Elias in a special program recasting the works of Bill Evans, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Chet Baker (Feb. 20)
- Brian Blade and The Fellowship Band (Feb. 20)
- Pianist-composer Kenny Werner (Feb. 22)
Each year, the festival honors a “Jazz Master” — in 2014, the 43-year-old ensemble Oregon will serve as the Portland Jazz Masters, becoming the first group to share the title.
2014 PDX Jazz Festival hotels
The following hotels have partnered with PDX Jazz Fest to provide lodging during the festival (Feb. 20 – Mar. 2, 2014):