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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share this:

2 comments on “Where I’ve Been”

Comment on this article:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In This Issue

This issue features a roundtable discussion about how the world of religion may have impacted the creative lives of Billie Holiday, Langston Hughes and Ralph Ellison. Also, previous winners of the Jerry Jazz Musician Short Fiction Contest reflect on their winning story; three new podcasts from Bob Hecht; new collection of poetry; recommendations of recently released jazz recordings, and lots more.

Short Fiction

"The Wailing Wall" -- a short story by Justin Short

Interviews

Three prominent religious scholars -- Wallace Best, Tracy Fessenden and M. Cooper Harriss -- join us in a conversation about how the world of religion during the life and times of Langston Hughes (pictured), Billie Holiday and Ralph Ellison helps us better comprehend the meaning of their work.

Poetry

Nine poets contribute ten poems celebrating jazz in poems as unique as the music itself

Short Fiction

In celebration of our upcoming 50th Short Fiction Contest, previous contest winners (dating to 2002) reflect on their own winning story, and how their lives have since unfolded.

The Joys of Jazz

In this edition, award winning radio producer Bob Hecht tells three stories; 1) on Charlie Christian, the first superstar of jazz guitar; 2) the poet Langston Hughes’ love of jazz music, and 3) a profile of the song “Strange Fruit”

On the Turntable

25 recently released jazz tunes that are worth listening to…including Bobo Stenson; Medeski, Martin and Wood; Muriel Grossman and Rudy Royston

Features

Chick Corea, Rickie Lee Jones, Gary Giddins, Michael Cuscuna, Randy Brecker and Tom Piazza are among those responding to our question, "What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz recordings of the 1940's?"

Poetry

"Billie Holiday" -- a poem (with collage) by Steve Dalachinsky

Coming Soon

Thomas Brothers, Duke University professor of music and author of two essential biographies of Louis Armstrong, is interviewed about his new book, HELP! The Beatles, Duke Ellington, and the Magic of Collaboration; also, Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell, author of An American Odyssey: The Life and Work of Romare Bearden, in a conversation about the brilliant 20th Century artist

In the previous issue

This issue features an interview with Bing Crosby biographer Gary Giddins; a collection of poetry devoted to the World War II era; and a new edition of “Reminiscing in Tempo,” in which the question “What are 3 or 4 of your favorite jazz recordings of the 1940’s” is posed to Rickie Lee Jones, Chick Corea, Tom Piazza and others.

Contributing writers

Site Archive