Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Bill Charlap & Gary Hobbs at the Earshot Jazz Festival

John Patitucci

In its second year, the Portland Jazz Festival completed its metamorphosis from a summertime beer-and-sunglasses fiesta into the maturity of an urban cultural happening. Hotel ballrooms and a dance pavilion now replace outdoor stages, perhaps a loss for partiers but a benefit to serious listeners. Portland is often moist in February, but a premature visit by springtime made for pleasant navigation among performance sites in the city’s vibrant, compact downtown.

Across 10 days, the festival team headed by Bill Royston and Sarah Bailen Smith coordinated ninety-one concerts, club dates, master classes and discussions. The events began quietly with a panel on Jim Pepper, the late Oregon tenor saxophonist to whom the festival was dedicated, and ended with the Bad Plus roaring in full cry. Along the way were concerts in big rooms by performers with international reputations and recitals in small rooms by players and singers from the Pacific Northwest’s extensive pool of jazz musicians.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published