Link to Owner Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr.



COURTESY: PORTLAND JAZZ FESTIVAL - Some stars of the Portland Jazz Festival include Nicole Glover, who has a new album, 'First Record.'
In 1958, bassist Chuck Israels landed his first professional recording job on pianist Cecil Taylor’s “Stereo Time” album.

Also on hand to record ... saxophonist John Coltrane.

“He was quiet and studious,” Israels recalls. “You don’t accomplish the things that he accomplished without being able to go off by yourself and do some disciplined work.”

Israels contributed one tune to the record, “a little counterpoint exercise” called “Double Clutching,” which he’ll reprise for the Portland Jazz Festival when he plays Jimmy Mak’s, 221 N.W. 10th Ave., at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25.

The festival runs from Thursday, Feb. 18, through Sunday, Feb. 28, and boasts more than 100 events at a dozen different venues.

In addition to Israels, performers include Trio Subtonic Feb. 18, the Gary Peacock Trio Feb. 19, the Bobby Torres Ensemble Feb. 20, Dianne Reeves Feb. 21, the Joe Manis Trio Feb. 22, Henry Johnson, Mel Brown, Louis Pain and Renato Caranto Feb. 24, Reggie Workman and James Carter Feb. 26, Ravi Coltrane Feb. 26 and 27, John Stowell Feb. 27 and John Scofield and Joe Lovano Feb. 28.

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Israels will play along with saxophonist Jimmy Greene, trumpeter Charlie Porter, trombonist John Moak, pianist Dan Gaynor and drummer Chris Brown at the “Coltrane Time” show Feb. 25, named after the title under which “Stereo Drive” was re-released in 1963. By then Coltrane was helping push jazz into new territory.

“What happened to John in terms of the recognition that he got has more to do with the way his musical thinking lined up with the culture of the next few years than it does with any objective aesthetic superiority,” Israels says, noting Coltrane’s break-all-the-rules approach to jazz mirrored the inquisitive, exploratory nature of the times. Israels stresses he admires Coltrane, but is more of a fan of form and development in music as opposed to less structured stylings.

“There was a kind of feeling of ‘Let’s lose ourselves in ecstasy rather than get interested in form and development,’ ”

Israels says of the mid-1960s. “That’s where John’s musical interest and his philosophical direction took him.”

A key member of the Bill Evans Trio from 1961-66, Israels plays the third Sunday of each month at Vie de Boheme, 1530 S.E. Seventh Ave., with the Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra.

Here’s a peek at some of the other performances during the festival.

Feb. 22

Dan Balmer/Javon Jackson, 7:30 p.m. Jimmy Mak’s

Guitarist Dan Balmer and saxophonist Javon Jackson will pay tribute to the 1958 album “Kenny Burrell and John Coltrane” with this show. Tony Pacini tickles the ivories, Ed Bennett plays bass and Mel Brown keeps the beat. Balmer says the musicians play together often and are comfortable with the style of jazz Coltrane and Burrell showcased.

“This is early in his career before he became such a revolutionary,” Balmer says of Coltrane. “This is just when he was one of the great guys.”

Balmer adds that he considers Coltrane a major influence, even though Balmer plays guitar as opposed to saxophone.

“What I loved about him was just the clear emotion in what he played and the just ‘going for it,’” Balmer says.

Feb. 23

Nicole Glover Quartet, 7:30 p.m. Jimmy Mak’s

Nicole Glover now lives in Brooklyn, but may be familiar to music fans here because she’s played with local soul rockers Ural Thomas & The Pain and also appeared on fellow Portland native Esperanza Spalding’s Grammy winning album “Radio Music Society.” The saxophonist is promoting her new album, “First Record,” and says her jazz festival show will feature a mix of cuts off the disc as well as standards and other tunes. As for her latest obsessions, to paraphrase Duke Ellington, Glover’s thing is swing. From Ellington to Count Basie to Miles Davis and Coltrane, seemingly different forms of jazz all contain the good groove, she notes.

“There’s just something about the feel of swing — not necessarily the genre of swing — but the feeling that runs through all the jazz that I like, that I feel connected to,” she says.

Feb. 25

COURTESY: PORTLAND JAZZ FESTIVAL - Some stars of the Portland Jazz Festival include Alicia Olatuja, who has earned acclaimed for her performances and 2014 album 'Timeless.'
Brian Blade & The Fellowship Band, Alicia Olatuja, 7 p.m. Revolution Hall, 1300 S.E. Stark St.

Alicia Olatuja was so nervous she had trouble breathing. But then she snapped out of it.

“I just thought to myself these opportunities are not given so that you will fail,” she says.

The opportunity knocking on her door was a solo singing spot with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir at the 2013 presidential inauguration. Although her stomach was filled with butterflies a couple of weeks before, by the time the day had arrived, the mezzo soprano was ready to sing a solo during “The Battle Hymn of Republic.”

“Honestly I was just so cold that I didn’t have nerves because my nerves were frozen,” she says with a laugh, adding President Barack Obama “did turn around and give us a thumbs up,” she says. “I’ll take that.”

Olatuja has gotten more than a few thumbs up in recent years, earning plaudits from the New York media for her performances with her former husband, bassist Michael Olatuja, as well her 2014 album


“The concerts I do usually take you on a journey,” she says, adding, “I’m always excited to do the last tune off my album, ‘Amazing Grace.’ We do a certain rendition that’s not on the album.”

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