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

Portland Jazz Festival: A Celebration of ECM

As the title implies, this concert was conceived as a recreation, or extension, of the 2002 Fela Kuti tribute album that included-among the dozens of participants-jazz artists such as Roy Hargrove, Ron Blake and Brian Lynch. The album was part of the “Red Hot” series designed to raise money and awareness in the fight against AIDS. Fela, the Nigerian saxophonist, singer, composer, inventor of Afrobeat, seminal world music artist and political activist, died in 1997 from AIDS and is therefore a perfect figure for the series and, specifically, for the task of heightening awareness about AIDS in Africa.

The capacity crowd in Brooklyn was in a festive mood when the evening got underway with footage of Fela performing and speaking projected onto a scrim over the stage, finishing with his famous quote, “Music is the weapon of the future.” The onstage musical hosts of the evening were guitarist-producer Andres Levin and his group Yerba Buena, the Latin-funk dance group put together following the musical success of the Red Hot and Riot CD, which Levin produced and assembled.

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