|Charles Lloyd / Ravi Coltrane|
The 13th Annual Biamp PDX Jazz Festival is set to commence Thursday, February 18 through Sunday, February 28 with 30 featured concerts at venues throughout the Portland metro region. Tickets exclusively available to PDX Jazz members beginning October 4, and to the general public November 2.
This year's 11-day celebration will also boast the second annual Jazz Forward Competition, a high school competition drawing students throughout the western region. In partnership with Portland State University, the JFC was created to establish a scholarship program in the tradition of other prestigious regional events held in Reno, Nevada; Monterey, California and Moscow, Idaho. Finalists will compete in seven categories (two college level solo categories have been added) and the winners will receive main stage exposure.
The thematic centerpiece performances are two For Portland Only concerts featuring special guest Ravi Coltrane in celebration of his father's 90th birthday and mother's influence and artistry. Friday, February 26, The Africa Brass Ensemble, under the direction of Portland Jazz Master Charles Gray, will re-imagine the five singular pieces from John Coltrane's debut impulse! sessions. Anchoring this performance is Philadelphia pianist and McCoy Tyner inspired, Orrin Evans and his esteemed rhythm mates. On Saturday, February 27, Ravi will pay tribute to his revered mother, Alice Coltrane, in a highly anticipated program titled, Universal Consciousness, featuring Reggie Workman (a prominent collaborator with John and Alice Coltrane), pianist Geri Allen (she and Alice are both Detroit natives), harpist Brandee Younger and drummer Andrew Cyrille.
Coltrane's mastery will be reflected through legacy performances in special groupings through tribute projects: Gary Bartz (Coltrane Rules) and Javon Jackson/Jimmy Cobb (We FOUR); Olé Coltrane featuring the Bobby Torres Ensemble with special guest Azar Lawrence, the West Coast debut of Reggie Workman's RW WORKz, and a week-long residency of nightly Coltrane tributes from top Portland performers.
Coltrane will also be explored through his association with Elvin Jones around a seminal project titled Puttin' It Together, featuring Jones' celebrated sidemen Sonny Fortune and Azar Lawrence, led by Portland icon Alan Jones (no relation). Fortune, a Philadelphia native, will make his Portland debut as a leader on the Festival's opening night at Jimmy Mak's. Coltrane's stellar collaborations with guitarist Kenny Burrell and lesser known work with Wes Montgomery will be will be honored in two programs: Freight Trane featuring Dan Balmer under the direction of Tony Pacini and West Coast Blues, under the leadership of Portland drummer Mel Brown with special guest guitarist and former impulse! recording artist Henry Johnson. The Festival will also pay homage to the historic Saxophone Summit - which originally featured Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, and David Liebman and later Ravi Coltrane. Recast For Portland Only as the Saxophone Summit Supreme, the Orrin Evans Trio will be joined by JD Allen, Jimmy Greene and Devin Phillips. Allen will also collaborate on another program with Evans' Trio billed as The Classic Quartet.
States Executive Artistic Director, Don Lucoff, "This will be the first themed Festival since 2011. I can't think of a more fitting figure than John Coltrane, who transcends jazz music and serves as a guiding influence for so many human beings in their daily lives. Through the ensuing generations, Coltrane has served as a cultural touchstone, and it's an honor to have his son, Ravi Coltrane represent his cherished legacy, and pay loving tribute to his mom, Alice Coltrane."
"We are presenting music for the first time during the Festival at Revolution Hall, Alberta Abbey and Al's Den. We look forward to nine exciting shows at Jimmy Mak's, including the anticipated return of Portlander Nicole Glover, our popular PDX Piano Perspectives series including Chano Domínguez, Brandee Younger, David Goldblatt, Aaron Goldberg and the American Pianist's Association's 2015 Cole Porter Fellow - Sullivan Fortner. Six shows at the Newmark and three at the Winningstad Theatres, complimented by free Jazz Conversations, music in the Art Bar Atrium of P5, and various hotels and restaurants throughout the downtown corridor," concludes Lucoff.
The BIAMP PDX Jazz Festival was co-founded in 2004 with Travel Portland to establish a cultural tourism initiative in the metro Portland area, and to celebrate Black History Month through education and outreach programming.