The 2014 U.S. Bank Portland Jazz Festival, presented by Alaska Airlines, runs through Sunday, March 2, at venues throughout Portland. It includes jazz education and outreach, along with a series of concerts featuring an eclectic mix of internationally recognized and local musicians playing a range of jazz styles.
McMenamins’ Mission Theater is proud to host Jazz Festival events again this year.
The Kora Band was formed in 2008 by Andrew Oliver after a tour in West Africa with the U.S. State Department and Jazz at Lincoln Center's “Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad” program. A chance encounter with a kora player at a club in Dakar, Senegal inspired Andrew to seek out Kane Mathis, one of America's foremost kora players and an expert in the intracacies and history of Mandinka music. The group was rounded out with drummer Mark DiFlorio, also present on the State Department tour, bassist Brady Millard-Kish, and trumpeter Chad McCullough.
The group's first album Just 4 U “... blends the swing and intellect of American jazz with the divine poetry of West African music” (The Oregonian). Their 2010 follow-up, Cascades (OA2 Records) reached #12 on the U.S. World Music Airplay charts as well as winning 2010 Northwest Jazz Album of the Year from Earshot Jazz in Seattle. The band recently premiered a new concert-length work by Andrew commissioned by the 2012 Chamber Music America New Jazz Works program which will be recorded for release in 2014.
Andrew Oliver, piano
Kane Mathis, kora
Mark Diflorio, drums
Chad McCullough, trumpet
Brady Millard-Kish, bass
PDX Jazz, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit cultural arts organization founded in 2003 in partnership with Travel Portland, produces the annual Portland Jazz Festival. The organization’s mission is to inspire, educate and develop future jazz audiences for generations to come. The Portland Jazz Festival is a multi-venue series of jazz events presented each February within Portland, Oregon. Nationally and regionally supported as a cultural tourism initiative in celebration of Black History Month, Portland Jazz Festival is dedicated to preserving America’s indigenous art form by presenting internationally recognized jazz masters alongside local jazz musicians. A series of jazz education and outreach programs that extend into Portland’s schools and neighborhoods is at the heart of the annual event.