The Portland Jazz Festival

I was unable to cover the Portland Jazz Festival this year, to my regret. For reasons of economy, the festival came in compact form; one week instead of two. Jack Berry of Oregon Music News tells me he thinks that smaller was better. Berry wrote about two of the festival artists. This is some of what he had to say in advance about Pharaoh Sanders, for forty years among the freest of the free. So this is your cup of tea or it isn't. Sanders was playing with John Coltrane on Live in Seattle and … [Read more...]

Correspondence: Breitenfelds

As a young adult, Paul Breitenfeld adopted the last name Desmond. Over the years, to amuse himself and confound others, he concocted several reasons for the change. He sometimes said he did it because he thought that in the event that he ever made records, the shorter name would fit better on 78 rpm labels. In truth, the inspiration came when he and his friend and fellow saxophonist Hal Strack were at Sweets Ballroom in Oakland, California. Hal's story is in Chapter 6 of a certain book. "We were … [Read more...]