In a few hours, the Rifftides staff will be hitting the roada lot of roadsto the Oregon shore of the Pacific Ocean. The occasion is our first visit in a couple of years to the Oregon Coast Jazz Party. The compact weekend fête was once known as the Newport, Oregon, Jazz Festival. Strong hints concerning copyright law and possible legal remedies suggested the practicality of changing to a title that did not include the name of the town in which the festival is held.
Whatever it’s called, the affair put together by flutist and festival field marshal Holly Hofmann brings together musicians from across North America. Some of the concerts feature working bands; others, players and singers assembled by Commander Hofmann because she thinks that they’ll sound good together or, possibly, because she wants to see what will happen. It’s in the tradition of the late Dick Gibson and his Colorado jazz parties. Ms. Hofmann invites artists who know the jazz language, though not always one another, and if sparks fly they are more likely to give illumination than burns.
The cast this time includes pianists Randy Porter and Mike Wofford, plus Benny Green with his trio; tenor saxophonists Harry Allen and Ken Peplowski; trumpeter Byron Stripling (pictured); bassists Tom Wakeling and Nicki Parrott; guitarist Mimi Fox; drummers Chuck Redd and Todd Strait; and singers Dee Daniels and Rebecca Kilgore (pictured). Pianist and composer Darrell Grant will lead his quartet in a salute to the Modern Jazz Quartet. Ms. Hofmann is reported to be confining her performance this year to an opening night cameo.
For more about the event, go here. If you find yourself on the central Oregon coast this weekend, the festival could offer relief from your round of fishing trips, lobstering expeditions and golf. I’ll be taking a notebook and plan on posting a report or two.
On the off chance that you won’t be in Newport, here is compensation for your disappointment, the husband-wife team of Ms. Hoffman and Mr. Wofford with their quartet in Billy Strayhorn’s “Johnny Come Lately.” Bob Thorsen is the bassist, Richard Sellers the drummer. They were recorded at The Athenaeum in Pasadena, California.