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

2019 Biamp PDX Jazz Festival Announces New Headliners

Pharoah Sanders and Christian Scott top the bill at late-winter event in Portland

Christian Scott 2018
Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah in performance at the 2018 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (photo by Mark Robbins)

The 2019 Biamp PDX Jazz Festival in Portland, Ore., which celebrates Black History Month, is scheduled to run Wednesday, Feb. 20 through Sunday, March 3. Now in its 16th year, the event will kick off with a performance by the trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah. The saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, an NEA Jazz Master, will play the festival for the first time since 2016, when he appeared as a special guest for the Alice Coltrane tribute “Universal Consciousness.” He last headlined the festival with his longtime quartet in 2010.

Sanders replaces pianist Ramsey Lewis, who was originally scheduled to make his debut appearance at PDX in 2019 but who has since announced that, at age 83, he has retired from touring.

PDX will also feature such musicians as Patrice Rushen, Harold Mabern, Aaron Diehl, Matthew Whitaker, Jean-Michel Pilc, François Bourassa, Cameron Graves, Benny Green, and Veronica Swift, along with groups like the Bad Plus, the Art Blakey Centennial Band and the Spirits Up Above Ensemble, led by trombonist Steve Turre.

There will be a number of tribute performances as well. Singer and pianist Freddy Cole will give a nod to his brother, Nat, on the great crooner’s centennial. In celebration of the Blue Note Records’ 80th anniversary, the trumpeter Terence Blanchard will perform with his E-Collective band, while saxophonist Eli Degibri and trumpeter Farnell Newton will, respectively, pay tribute to Hank Mobley and Donald Byrd.

In its second week, the festival will highlight Philadelphia jazz musicians, with tributes to the late saxophonists Michael Brecker and Grover Washington Jr. Stanley Clarke, the virtuoso bassist and a Philadelphia native, will perform at the festival for the first time since 2004.

The local pianist Darrell Grant will also be honored as a Portland Jazz Master.

“These established and legacy artists speak to the breadth of what jazz has imparted over generations to fans globally,” Don Lucoff, PDX Jazz artistic director, said in a press release, “and our emerging artists point to where jazz is heading for the future to behold.”

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Originally Published