Where I’ve Been

March 12th, 2018



Along Highway 16 in Pottawatomie County, Kansas 

March 6, 2018




February and early March have been consumed by my work as Board Chair of PDX Jazz (Portland, Oregon), the presenting organization of the PDX Jazz Festival, which this year took place Feb. 15 – 25.   Immediately following the Festival, I spent some time out on the road with a dear friend, exploring the clubs and museums of Kansas City and the surrounding prairie.  Some highlights of the Festival events and travels follow…

Soon to be back in the swing of things!






Snow fell during much of Festival week…This is SW Broadway in downtown Portland on February 20, outside one of the Festival venues





This year’s Festival included performances by the likes of Abdullah Ibrahim, Kurt Elling, Luciana Souza, David Sanchez, Julian Lage, Bill Frisell, Regina Carter, Tigran Hamasyan, Lisa Fischer, Richie Cole, Esperanza Spalding (with Ravi Coltrane and Terri Lynne Carrington), Marcus Roberts, Russell Malone, Ethan Iverson, George Colligan, Dr. Lonnie Smith, the Miles (Davis) Electric Band, and an ensemble called “Jazz By 5,” featuring Randy Brecker, Joanne Brackeen, Eddie Gomez, Jimmy Cobb and Javon Jackson.  Portland’s talented local jazz musicians were also a major part of the Festival lineup.  It was a fascinating 10 days – challenged by three days of snow in the midst of the calendar — that showcased the music’s diversity in a variety of venues, and amid Portland’s unique culture.


Abdullah Ibrahim’s performance was a highlight of this year’s festival…You can read a review of the Festival by clicking here and here.




One of the perks of the “job” is getting to meet some of the artists, including Mr. Ibrahim, who I escorted around town for a couple of days.




Part of the PDX Jazz organizational mission is to inspire a new generation of jazz fans, and the “Jazz in the Schools” program connects Portland area students to the music via the great album artwork of the LP era.  Students create their own album art by interpreting the music while listening to it.  2,000 students participated in the program this year, and 250 of the exceptional designs were displayed during an exhibition in the Portland Art Museum on February 13.




Hundreds of students enjoyed a day at the Museum…



150 judges chose their favorite pieces…




…culminating in the grand prize winning art by 7th grader Edith Crever of Ockley Green Middle School becoming the commemorative poster of this year’s Festival




The entire collection of art that was displayed in the Art Museum is currently in the window of City Target in downtown Portland.  The poster-sized art in this picture is grand prize winning designs created by high school students





Middle school winners




Another education initiative is “The Incredible Journey of Jazz,” where students learn about jazz from its beginnings in Africa, its development in the United States, and its current role in world culture.  The 60 minute live performance includes narration, classic photographs, and a septet performing music by the likes of Scott Joplin, Armstrong, Ellington, Bird, Dizzy, and Miles…This year two shows were performed in front of 5,000 students at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall





PDX Jazz education outreach programs reached 10,000 students during the 2017-2018 school year




Following the Festival I met a buddy in Kansas City






We visited the Jazz Museum in the 18th and Vine district — a worthwhile visit for anyone with an interest in the music and culture of jazz




Part of the Museum’s exhibit devoted to Louis Armstrong




Much of the Museum honors the contributions of native son Charlie Parker




The space is shared with the Negro League Baseball Museum, another excellent destination




The legendary Satchel Paige





The 18th and Vine district at Sunset



Taking in a show at the Green Lady Lounge…



…and another next door




Along the back highways of eastern Kansas…the County Courthouse in Ottawa




Near Lone Star Lake along the way to Lawrence




The Jazzhaus in Lawrence, one of many clubs in the vibrant college town






Along Highway 177, Geary County, Kansas





A walk along the Tall Grass Prairie Reserve 




“Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.”

-Walt Whitman


















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In This Issue

Maxine Gordon, author of Sophisticated Giant: The Life and Legacy of Dexter Gordon, talks about her book, and the complex life of her late husband.

Also in this issue…A new collection of jazz poetry; "On the Turntable," a new playlist of 22 recommended recordings by seven jazz artists; three new podcasts by Bob Hecht; a new “Great Encounters”; several short stories; the photography of Veryl Oakland and Charles Ingham; a new Jazz History Quiz; and lots more…

On the Turntable

This month, a playlist of 22 recently released jazz recordings, including those by Chris Potter, Sons of Kemet, Stephan Crump, Brittany Anjou, Julian Lage, Joey DeFrancesco and Antonio Sanchez


Seventeen poets contribute 21 poems in this month’s edition…

The Joys of Jazz

In new podcasts, Bob Hecht tells three stories; one about Miles Davis’ use of space in his music, one on the mutual admiration society of Sinatra, Lady Day, and Lester Young, and the other about the train in jazz and blues music.

“What are some of your all-time favorite record album covers?”

Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath, Fred Hersch, Joe Hagan, Maxine Gordon, Neil Tesser, Tim Page, Veronica Swift and Marcus Strickland are among the 25 writers, musicians, poets, educators, and photographers who write about their favorite album cover art


“Thinking about Ida B. Wells” — a photo narrative by Charles Ingham

Jazz History Quiz #126

In 1964, along with the orchestra of arranger Lalo Schifrin (pictured), this flutist/alto sax player recorded one of the first “Jazz Masses,” and soon after studied transcendental meditation in India. He would eventually become well known as a composer of music for meditation. Who is he?

Great Encounters

Dexter Gordon tells the story of joining Louis Armstrong’s band in 1944, and how they enjoyed their intermission time.


In this edition of Veryl Oakland’s “Jazz in Available Light,” photographs of Red Garland, Dizzy Gillespie and Rahsaan Roland Kirk are featured.

Short Fiction

"Strings of Solace," a short story by Kimberly Parish Davis


Romare Bearden biographer Mary Schmidt Campbell discusses the life of the important 20th century American artist

Cover Stories with Paul Morris

In this edition, Paul writes about jazz album covers that offer glimpses into intriguing corners of the culture of the 1950’s

Short Fiction

"And so we went to Paris," a short story by Sophie Jonas-Hill

Coming Soon

National Book Award winning author for non-fiction Jeffrey Stewart is interviewed about his book The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke...Legendary producer, Blue Note Records discographer, and Mosaic Records co-founder Michael Cuscuna talks about his life in jazz.

In the previous issue

The question “What are some of your all-time favorite record album covers?” was posed via email to a small number of prominent and diverse people, and the responses of Gary Giddins, Jimmy Heath, Fred Hersch, Joe Hagan, Maxine Gordon, Tim Page, Veronica Swift and Marcus Strickland are among the 25 writers, musicians, poets, educators, and photographers who participated...Also, the publication of the winning story in our 50th Short Fiction contest; an interview with Romare Bearden biographer Mary Schmidt Campbell; a collection of jazz poetry; two new podcasts by Bob Hecht; the March edition of "On the Turntable," and lots more...Click here to be taken to the issue.

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