The Portland Jazz Festival is upon us Thursday (Feb. 20) and though quite a few of its major attractions also pass through Seattle this year — namely, Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, guitarist Pat Metheny, vocalist Cecile McLorin, bassist Buster Williams (with Seattle trombonist Julian Priester) and drummer Brian Blade — the festival also features acts that make a hop down I-5 worthwhile.
To wit: Toshiko Akiyoshi, back in action as a pianist after the demise of her big band, will perform with her trio, plus saxophonist (and husband) Lew Tabackin (Saturday, Feb. 22) and solo (Sunday, Feb. 23); hipster singer-songwriters Dave Frishberg and Bob Dorough team up (Saturday, Feb. 23); drummer Jack DeJohnette’s Spring Quartet, with saxophonist Joe Lovano and bassist/vocalist Esperanza Spalding (Sunday, Feb. 23); Oregon (Feb. 24); pianist Tord Gustavsen (Feb. 25); and saxophonists Bobby Watson and James Carter, on a double bill (Mar. 1).
Tons of music from the Portland scene will be on hand, including a major new composition by pianist Darrell Grant, “The Territory” (Friday, Feb. 21) and the great bebop singer Nancy King (Saturday, Feb. 22).
As always, the Portland festival offers intimate and informative “Jazz Conversations” with artists as well as a walkable program, from venues located downtown to the Pearl District (with an obligatory stop at Powell’s bookstore and a variety of great restaurants in between).
Have fun down there!
Portland Jazz Festival:
Thursday, Feb. 20-March 2 at various venues in Portland; free-$105, with some 10% discounts available to festival members (http://portlandjazzfestival.org or 503-228-5299).