Shortly, I am going to head south, turn right, drive west through the Columbia River Gorge—shown above—and spend the next few days in one of my favorite former hometowns at the Portland Jazz Festival .
This year’s PDX Festival is built around the legacy of John Coltrane (1926-1967). Its brochure says,
John Coltrane at 90 is a musical retrospective that will cover many aspects of John’s career, including showcasing musicians who have played with him in the past, tributes to well-known collaborators and special performances that will highlight the Festival’s concerts.
Among the performers in the festival’s run of nearly two weeks will be Ravi Coltrane (pictured right), Charles Lloyd, Sonny Fortune, Pharaoh Sanders, Gary Bartz, Javon Jackson, Jimmy Greene, James Carter, Joe Lovano and other saxophonists who have come to prominence under Coltrane’s influence. Among the festival’s other main-stage artists will be Chuck Israels (pictured left), Pat Martinto, Kenny Barron, the Brian Blade Fellowship, Dianne Reeves, John Scofield and Orrin Evans. To see the complete rundown, go here. In addition to the main events, many of Portland’s clubs, restaurants and lounges will present artists from the Pacific Northwest’s extensive jazz talent pool. It would be impossible to hear more than a fraction of the possibilities. Inevitably, two or three worthy performances are happening at the same time.
Kenny Barron (on the right) may appear skeptical, but I’m looking forward to my public conversation with him in the Art Bar of the Portland Centers For The Arts this Saturday afternoon.
I will post Rifftides reports on as many performances as possible.