The Former Portland Jazz Festival

The Portland Jazz Festival is no more. Word went out that next year's edition has been scrubbed and the festival will not be revived. Here is part of the official announcement. Operations and planning for the 2009 February event could not continue because of a decline in funding and sponsorship support. Shortfalls accumulated to a total need of over $100,000 that could not be met by ticket sale projections and other forms of earned revenue. Recent attempts to develop support throughout the … [Read more...]

Lester Young: Compatible Quotes And A Movie

Rifftides postings have been seldom lately because I'm working on a magazine piece about the resuscitation of Lester Young's tenor saxophone and the consequent revival of a band devoted to his music. More about that later. In the meantime, here's a set of thoughts from and about Prez. Well, the way I play, I try not to be a 'repeater pencil', ya dig? Originality's the thing.   You can have tone and technique and a lot of other things but without originality you ain't really … [Read more...]

Arne Domnérus

The list of veterans of the glory days of modern jazz in Sweden grew significantly shorter on Tuesday with the death of Arne Domnérus at the age of eighty-three. The alto saxophonist and clarinetist came to popular attention in the late 1940s and early 1950s as one of the most adroit disciples of Charlie Parker and Lee Konitz. Within a few years, his own personality emerged and he distinguished himself as a soloist immediately recognizable for the individuality and warmth of his playing. … [Read more...]

Domnérus In Action

Despite his ability early in his career to approximate Charlie Parker, throughout Arne Domnérus's life, Benny Carter remained a primary inspiration. In this 2000 performance in Paris with pianist Claes Crona, Domnérus thoroughly explores Carter's "When Lights Are Low." … [Read more...]

Other Places: JazzWax on Louis and Bix

The Bix Beiderbecke discussion that began here last week has spread to other precincts of the internet, most recently in an entry on Marc Myers's JazzWax. Marc builds on what he points out is an absurd trumped-up competition, Beiderbecke vs. Louis Armstrong; as if music was boxing, a track event or a beauty contest. To read it, and hear the recording of Bix's "Sorry," go here. And don't miss this phrase in Myers's text... ...the rubbery bark of Adrian Rollini's bass sax. That's a nice piece … [Read more...]