Louie Bellson

What to add to the hundreds of tributes to Louie Bellson in the wake of his death last weekend? The outpouring of accolades emphasizes what anyone who ever encountered him knows: he was full of warmth, generosity and the largest available portion of human spirit. Dozens of obituaries are quoting Duke Ellington's assessment of Bellson as not only the world's greatest drummer but the world's greatest musician. There are excellent obits by Howard Reich in the Chicago Tribune, Nate Chinen in The New … [Read more...]

Portland Jazz Festival, Part 1

The sagging economy has led the Portland Jazz Festival to cancel one of the major concerts of its final weekend. Artistic director Bill Royston announced that for the first time in his 32-year-career as a jazz impresario he was pulling the plug on a primary event. Advance sales to a Friday night concert by singer Cassandra Wilson and pianist Jason Moran amounted to about 400 seats in a 3000-seat hall in downtown Portland. Royston called the cancellation "an arduous decision." Despite difficult … [Read more...]