from The Seattle Times:

The Portland Jazz Festival, which kicks off Friday, often hangs its shows on a thematic frame. Past themes have been the historic legacy of Blue Note and ECM records and the explosion of new jazz from Scandinavia.

For 2011, the theme is Bridges and Boundaries: Jewish & African Americans Playing Jazz Together.

It’s a rich idea, though not particularly well fleshed out in the programming and also oddly irrelevant to Portland, which, according to the U.S. Census has one of the smallest African-American populations of any major American city and a small (less than 1 percent) Jewish population, as well.

But theme aside, artistic director Bill Royston, as always, has booked a great lineup.

Esperanza Spalding, the thrilling, Portland-raised bassist and singer who [won the Best New Artist Grammy], is the festival’s official Artistic and Community Ambassador. The Cohen siblings, from Israel — clarinetist and saxophonist Anat, trumpeter Avishai and saxophonist Yuval — are on the bill, as are clarinetist Don Byron (appropriately reprising his brilliant Mickey Katz project of daffy popular Jewish music), violinist Regina Carter, pianist Randy Weston, tenor saxophonist Joshua Redman and the SF Jazz Collective.

Continue reading at The Seattle Times.

Seattle Jazz