5 must-see shows at PDX Jazz Festival 2021


In 2021, attending a performance festival is a bit like trying out a new restaurant: there is a lot of talk about how “we do things a little differently here”. Most of the time, that translates to something like “Now everything is online”.

This is This is the case of the Biamp PDX Jazz Festival 2021, which will offer 20 virtual events (three documentaries, 17 livestreams) and will take place from February 18 to 27. Programmers also get a real benefit from the digital format: In addition to the downtown Jack London Revue performance streams, the itinerary includes live events in Seattle, Brooklyn, London, Johannesburg and Havana.

This morning, Portland monthly took a look at the festival program and got busy marking our calendars. Here are our top picks that you can’t miss.

Harold López-Nussa

8 p.m. Fri February 19, $ 8 to $ 10

Some Americans may have known López-Nussa from his 2018 Tiny Desk concert, where he hammered the keys alongside his brother Ruy and bassist Gastón Joya. . He will perform extracts from his latest album Te Lo Dije (and more, presumably) live from Havana on Friday. If you want to grab your phone, AirPods, and a jacket, nobody says you can’t literally dance the streets while you watch.

Judith Hill

8 p.m. Sat February 20, $ 8 to $ 10

The 20 feet of fame subject and former competitor on The voice is preparing to release a new album, Baby, I’m Hollywood!, next month. The LA native, whose gale force pipes caught the attention of everyone from Prince (who produced her debut album) to Michael Jackson (who she was supposed to do a duet with on her That’s it tour before his death), will perform live from the Jack London Revue on Saturday. Expect stunning vocals and stunning looks.

Brian jackson

8 p.m. Wednesdays, February 24, $ 5

Between 1971 and 1979, Brian Jackson and Gil Scott-Heron, the late prolific jazz poet and self-proclaimed “bluesologist,” co-composed and co-produced nine albums. Jackson, keyboardist and flautist, and Scott-Heron developed a sound during their partnership that fused and graced everything from jazz, blues, soul and funk to spoken poetry. This sound has gone on to influence contemporary R&B, soul, rap and more, ending up in songs like “The People” by Common and “Poe Man Dreams” by Kendrick Lamar. Broadcast live from the Jack London Revue, Jackson will team up with Allokoi Peete and Greaterkind of PDX for “The Gil Scott-Heron & Brian Jackson Songbook”. Jackson will contextualize some of his best-known and Scott-Heron classics and break them down for an evening of stories, anecdotes and music.

Herb Alpert is …

8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday February 25-27, $ 10 for a solo ticket (can also be combined with tickets for two other musical documentaries)

“Alpert grass is butter,” as Billy Bob Thorton says in the trailer for John Scheinfeld’s 2020 documentary Herb Alpert is…, and we can’t think of a better way to describe the musician, painter, sculptor and philanthropist. Scheinfeld’s keen sense of musical subjects (In pursuit of Trane: the documentary by John Contrane; United States vs. John Lennon) looks to the extraordinary life of Herb Alpert, in which he surpassed Beatles sales and co-founded A&M Records (now Polydor Ltd.) which was home to names like Joe Cocker, Sting, Janet Jackson, Quincy Jones, Supertramp, Carole King, Joan Baez and others. The virtual screening of the film, presented by the Hollywood Theater, will feature a question-and-answer session with Scheinfeld and author and jazz historian Ashley Kahn.

The Marcus Shelby Quartet

8 p.m. Fri February 26, $ 5

With recordings and projects such as “Port Chicago”, “Harriet Tubman”, “Soul of the Movement” “Beyond the Blues: Ending Mass Incarceration” and more, Marcys Shelby’s work has largely focused on life. of Blacks through voices and composing instruments. At PDX Jazz Fest, the San Francisco-based bassist presents “Black Music and Freedom,” with Tiffany Austin, Darrell Grant and Carlton Jackson. The performance highlights original and rearranged compositions that celebrate how music has been used as a tool for black liberation and freedom movements. From early blues and spirituals to rhythm and blues and ringing cries, the music that emerges from within and around freedom movements continues to inspire change and unity.

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