Portland jazz fest hails Blue Note, cancels Cassandra

The PDX Jazz Festival in Portland, Oregon last week began to garner good reviews for its programs, many of which celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of Blue Note Records. Yet as the first major jazz festival of 2009, it may be the canary in the coalmine regarding effects of the economic downturn. Last fall Alaska Airlines rescued the fest from folding after its major funder, Seattle-based Qwest Communications, pulled out, having been one of the decade's 25-worst performing S&P 500 Index stocks. Now, according to PDX Jazz artistic … [Read more...]

Ten top of 2008 and many more recommendations

So much music, so little time -- it's absurd to whittle down this year's "best" recordings to 10, an act that merely bows to convention. Why not 15? 25? 50? -- if there are that many albums that reward repeated listening with enjoyment and revelation.I make no claims for the following list being definitive -- I haven't yet had a chance to hear once many of the some 1100 promising cds that arrived for consideration of review since November 1 2007. But I guarantee that none of these recommendations are made on the basis of anything except my … [Read more...]