Features and Commentary

Features and Commentary

Akbar DePriest

Akbar DePriest and the DePriest Project Family Jazz Concerts – 1999   When drummer Akbar DePriest was growing up, bebop was presented alongside the blues and R&B in neighborhood theaters on fabled Central Avenue in Los Angeles. We never divided the music, explains DePriest, who passed away in 2007 at age 76. I could see […]

Read More
Features and Commentary

Brad Mehldau in 2004

Preview   Pianist and composer Brad Mehldau is talking about the late French philosopher Jacques Derrida, whose deconstructionist theories have revolutionized ideas about making and understanding art. “Form becomes interesting (only) when you break it,” says Mehldau, 33, in a recent email exchange. “I want something to break in the first place; chaos in itself […]

Read More
Features and Commentary

Branford Marsalis in 2000

Preview   Several years ago, Branford Marsalis came to a personal and professional crossroads. Perhaps the second best-known jazz musician in the country, after his younger brother, Wynton, Branford held one of the most visible jobs in jazz as director of The Tonight Show band. He had acted in Spike Lee movies, toured and recorded […]

Read More
Features and Commentary Previews and Reviews

Steve Lacy: Conversations

Book Review April 2007 Steve Lacy: Conversations Edited by Jason Weiss (Duke University Press)   I’m always searching for the magic, something different from everything I’ve heard, says avant-garde jazzman Steve Lacy in one of the interviews collected by editor Jason Weiss in Steve Lacy: Conversations. I want to stay alive. It’s the same way […]

Read More
Features and Commentary

Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars

Review You probably need to know their story in order to fully understand why Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars are considered a symbol of hope and inspiration. Otherwise, you might have figured them for another journeyman band playing reggae and rolling, guitar-and-drum West African pop during the band’s show at the Wonder Ballroom Saturday night. […]

Read More
Features and Commentary Previews and Reviews

Jim Pepper Celebrated at Portland Jazz Festival February 2005

Preview He was the most colorful jazzman to ever come out of Portland, and today, 13 years after his death, Jim Pepper remains one of the most influential. A saxophonist, singer and composer, music was the center of his life — a life shaped first of all by his native American heritage. Of Kaw and […]

Read More
Features and Commentary

Cuban Musicians Vanish from U.S. Venues

What’s happened? Where are they? Since the doors began to open in 1996, U.S. listeners have grown accustomed to seeing Cubans perform regularly, especially in Portland, where many of the best Cuban musicians have appeared before enthusiastic audiences. For a while, after the Buena Vista Social Club album and film, it seemed that a cultural […]

Read More
Features and Commentary

Profile: Dave Storrs and Louie Records October, 1999

When I was learning to play music while growing up in Corvallis in the 60s, the closest I could get to jazz was my music teacher, Harvey Brooks, who led a dance band at the Elks Club. He’d take my clarinet to demonstrate a passage, and when he handed it back, the mouthpiece would taste […]

Read More
Features and Commentary

Eddie Wied and Cleve Williams

Musicians played when friends and family laid Cleve Williams to rest June 1, 2007, at the Riverview Cemetery. It was a jazz funeral. Now, with the death of pianist Eddie Wied just 10 days later, another key figure from the heyday of modern jazz in Portland is gone. Both Williams, a trombonist and singer, and […]

Read More
Features and Commentary

Profile: Dave Frishberg – August 2, 2000

Dave Frishberg never intended to be a singer. In fact, the singer/songwriter/pianist a four-time Grammy nominee for such clever vocal vignettes as Peel Me a Grape, My Attorney Bernie, I Can’t Take You Nowhere and Blizzard of Lies — earned a degree in journalism before he moved to New York in 1957 to become house […]

Read More