"If this band appeared in New York City, they'd be a sensation!" That was guitar great--and one-time Mel Brown bandmate--George Benson's reaction after hearing the Mel Brown B-3 Organ Group open for him in 2003. This true all-star band has been a sensation for a long time—including a 20-year run on Thursdays at Portland’s Jimmy Mak’s (The Oregonian dubbed them “Jimmy Mak’s signature group”). A collective resume that reads like a "Who's Who" of NW jazz, blues, and soul, this group has the talent and confidence to be completely spontaneous--from their blistering solos to their improvised arrangements and segues.
MEL BROWN -- An Oregon icon, has been labeled the "Gentleman of Jazz," with a career spanning a half century. The city of Portland proclaimed June 22, 1989 "Mel Brown Day" in recognition of Mel's achievements as a musician and educator, receiving the Governor's Arts Award in 2002. Mel first made his mark as a Motown staff drummer, recording and touring with the Temptations, Smokey Robinson, and many others. He subsequently spent ten years working with Diana Ross and other pop acts before giving up the road in 1991 and returning home to his first love: jazz. Mel has been a fixture in Portland ever since, leading groups six nights a week at Jimmy Mak's and other venues when he isn't backing jazz artists like Joey DeFrancesco and Benny Golson.
DAN BALMER -- Widely considered the defining sound of contemporary jazz guitar in the Northwest. Described by the Los Angeles Times as "the model of what a contemporary guitarist should be," Dan is one of the most original and creative artists to come from the fertile Northwest music scene. Dan has played and recorded with a long list of jazz greats, has released six CDs of his own, is a jazz educator and a noted composer. Dan leads his own groups and performs with jazz artists including Diane Schuur, Benny Green, and Jeff Hamilton.
RENATO CARANTO -- described as "one of Portland's most soulful jazz saxophonists" by The Oregonian," Renato is one of the most versatile, accomplished, soulful saxophonists anywhere. Arriving from the Philippines in '81 with only his horn, Renato has built an enviable career in Portland. After gaining a foothold in the local scene, Renato became one of the most sought-after jazzmen in the NW and beyond. In recent years, he’s toured with Grammy-winning jazz artist Esperanza Spalding and late country legend Merle Haggard. Talk about versatility!
LOUIS "KING LOUIE" PAIN -- "Portland's boss of the B-3" (The Oregonian) hails from San Francisco, where he played and recorded with a wide variety of top musicians: Tower of Power guitarist Bruce Conte, Santana saxophonist Jules Broussard, Edwin Hawkins vocalist Dorothy Morrison, and B.B. King saxophonist Bobby Forte. After moving north in '86, Louis continued the trend. His 2016 cd with vocalist LaRhonda Steele, “Rock Me Baby,” was honored by Downbeat as one of the “Best Albums of 2016.” Louis’ knack for playing exactly what's needed to further the song has made him Portland's "first call" organist.
Jarrod Lawson is blessed with a voice steeped in reverence for the great soul singers that have gone before him. Raised in a musical household, Jarrod often credits his father's eclectic and exhaustive record collection as the reason for which his musical palate evolved in such a diverse fashion. Jarrod's carefully crafted and intricate, genrebending compositions, as well as his deft, thoughtful, spiritually laden lyrics, have brought him admiration and attention from international tastemakers all across the globe, many of whom consider Jarrod's unique approach to be a breath of fresh air in a genre whose modern permutations have lost their depth.
Jarrod's debut album, released in May of 2014, rocketed to the top of the UK Soul charts and garnered a medley of prestigious awards including SoulTracks 'Album Of The Year', London based Jazz FM's 'Soul Artist Of The Year', and the runner up position for Gilles Peterson's Worldwide 'Album Of The Year' Award for 2014. Jarrod has now shared the stage with international superstars such as Stevie Wonder, Marcus Miller, Take 6, Bilal, and Lalah Hathaway, to name a few.
House of Waters' music is both complex and easy to enjoy, a musical exploration that invites listeners to open themselves to new sounds. One of those sounds is that of Max's instrument, the hammered dulcimer, a percussion/stringed instrument that takes years of study and spans dozens of cultures around the globe. Most often associated with traditional American and Irish folk music, Max has taken the instrument in entirely new directions. "I've been playing it since I was 7," says Max. "And my folks reminded me I first fell in love with it when I was 2: I saw it performed at an exhibit opening, walked up to it, sat underneath and just listened to it for hours."
Moto had a similar experience with the 6-stringed bass and it has defined his life ever since. His study of Western Classical music, Japanese traditional music and the African inspired musical sensibilities of South America, coupled with his undeniable virtuosity, adds a breath-taking element to the group's total sound. Luke studied with the legendary Hamza El Din, while Max studied with traditional musicians in Senegal and continues to learn from Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, India's master of the santoor (an ancestor of the hammered dulcimer.) "That experience," says Max, "opened me up to a whole separate world of traditions and philosophical thought." Joining forces has given each artist an opportunity to stretch their chosen instruments, to take risks to expand both the music and themselves. In the process, audiences cannot help but be thrilled by the enormity of their sound.
The album House of Waters marks the band's first record for GroundUP, the artist-friendly label started by Snarky Puppy's Michael League. "There was a lot of mutual respect and interest there," says Max. "I think we bring something unique to their roster." He laughs. "Not a lot of dulcimer trios out there."
greaterkind makes music for both the soul and the booty. Hailing from Portland OR, the band is comprised of close friends who are active in the PDX music scene - Peter Knudsen (guitar/vocals), Charlie Brown (keyboards), Cory Limuaco (drums) and Andre Zapata (bass). With a groove-minded approach, greaterkind cohesively blends elements of jazz, funk, r&b and gospel to create a unique sound that fearlessly pushes the envelope. With honest intention, the band strives to uplift its listeners with every performance. Keep an eye out for an EP of original tunes sometime early this summer!
Pete Knudsen -guitar/vox.
Charlie Brown -keys/synth/talkbox.
Cory Limuaco -drums
Ian Lindsay -bass
It's an exciting time for Lilla. One week after graduating from Berklee College of Music, she released her second self -‐ produced album, The Awakening . Over the summer she toured throughout the US, appeared on festival main stages on both coasts, and this fall she was the opener for Mos Def on his tour. Lilla has played from Kingston, Jamaica to Beijing, China, working with an impressive array of artists, including Ciara, Damian & Stephen Ma rley, Talib Kweli, Trombone Shorty, Esperanza Spalding, the Wu -‐ Tang Clan, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Annie Lennox, Willie Nelson, Carole King, Kenny G and Boyz II Men. Backed by her hard -‐ hitting band and armed with a collection of soulful original tunes, few modern performers bring the class, message and talent that Lilla brings to the stage. "A languid, sultry, neo -‐ soul and R&B mix that is instantly accessible yet shows a remarkable depth and musical maturity." -‐ The Oregonian At the age of 6 she tau ght herself to play the piano by ear and, by age 12, began singing in her local gospel choir. In high school other opportunities presented themselves -‐-‐ in addition to gospel choir, she sang and toured the East Coast with the internationally recognized Roya l Blues, at the same time providing stage and studio vocals for several acts. It was during this time that she found a niche in the West Coast scene. After performing guest vocals for a number of published releases, and studio work with national hip -‐ hop, R&B and jazz notables, she felt she had enough experience to strike out on her own. Writing, producing and performing her two full -‐ length albums are some of Lilla's greatest accomplishments to date. Despite the challenges of creating truly original musi c, the end products are those of uncompromising dedication to music with integrity. Her recent album was recorded all over the map, from Bob Marley's studio Tuff Gong in Jamaica, to Lilla's hometown of Portland, Oregon. The Awakening is a celebration of the power of music and its ability to connect musicians, cultures and people from around the globe.
"Farnell Newton & The Othership Connection - the funk to feed your soul" -The Register-Guard, March 2016
"Like his fellow barons of brass Jeff Bradshaw, Saunders Sermons and Trombone Shorty, Farnell has truly proven that he is equally capable of being a member of the band or a solo act." -SoulBounce, March 2015
"Still considered a young lion of the local jazz scene despite deserving tenure, trumpeter-producer Farnell Newton has his hands on just about everything cool and funky happening in Portland. His name on a bill serves as a seal of freshness."
-Willamette Week's Finder 2012-2013 - Casey Jarman
Revitalizing Funk & Soul with a new twist, Farnell Newton & The Othership Connection has been stirring up a ton of noise on the NW music scene. Led by Trumpeter Farnell Newton, who currently tours with Jill Scott & Bootsy Collins, The Othership Connection brings a sound that blends the old with the new. They are gaining a reputation of funkin' up stages all night long.
Trumpeter Farnell Newton is one of the most versatile musicians & educators in the Northwest, playing straight ahead jazz, funk, Latin music, soul, hip hop, and more. In the last few years, Newton toured with 3-time Grammy Winner & award winning Actress Jill Scott. Farnell has also performed with a who's who of world class artists including, Stevie Wonder, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Cee-Lo Green, Karl Denson, Lettuce, George Duke, Brian Blade, Eric Benet, Lalah Hathaway, Mike Phillips, Fred Wesley, Charlie Wilson, and more!
The Seattle Soul All Stars is a collective of perhaps the finest musicians the tradition rich Emerald City has ever produced...a bold statement considering the likes of Jimmy Hendrix, Quincy Jones, Kenny G, etc were all spawned in the unbelievably fertile Seattle music scene. Gerald and Thaddeus Turner, two of Seatown's finest bass/ lead guitar combination since 70s funk superstars The Brothers Johnson, take the stage alongside DJ ROC PHIZZLE,( Jamaal Robinson), an extraordinary talent whose keyboard playing is reminiscent of some of the great funk / Soul Keyboard players in some of the best bands of the 70s and 80s. It should come as no surprise that his father played bass guitar in the legendary 70s and 80s funk super band " "Lakeside".
Also included in this eclectic group of musicians is the aptly named"Superman", Conrad Real, on the drums; Conrad, together with the aforementioned Turner brothers, form the nucleus of the rhythm section for 90s super hip hop jazz group " Digable Planets" and will be leaving with DP to go on tour shortly after doing the Jack London show.
Rounding out the band will be singer extraordinaire Dechelle Monet. Anyone who saw her electrifying performance last month on her first visit to JL will remember her soul, power, and presence. So if you are looking for a sound that is rare (if it exists at all) outside of the Seattle City limits, and you want a musical experience that will stay with you long after the last note has been played, do yourself a favor and get your tickets to this truly special show Sunday 4/22/18 at the Jack London Revue.
Legendary Portland based artist Mic Crenshaw, Libretto and Rich Hunter combine forces to create the super groups Silent Heroes. Each of them with over two decades of music experience give you a raw and uncut journey through sound. This is real HIP HOP and real music for the soul.
DJ Wicked has been a staple in the Northwest Hip-Hop scene for more than a decade. His determination and dedication to the art form has led him to opening shows for the likes of the Wu-Tang Clan, Eminem, and Outkast, as well as performing on the Northwest stretch of some of the most prestigious DJ tours of all time, including the Future Primitive Sound Sessions, Deeper Concentration, and the 2003 "Scratch" Tour. Wicked has showcased his talent both nationally and internationally at a number of high profile music festivals, such as the Phoenix Festival, North by Northwest, South by Southwest, and the "Avataria" music festival in France. Wicked has also performed at numerous skateboarding and snowboarding industry events, including "Vegetate" at Mt. Hood Meadows, the "Backyard Bang Railjam", and demos for both DC Shoes and Girl Skateboards, as well as teaming up for various events with Adidas, Toyota/Scion, Skullcandy Headphones, NIKE, Pony, and more. Wicked's diverse DJ sets combined with his turntable skills, tasteful record selection, and devotion to preserve quality Hip-Hop music, has earned him the honor to share the stage with some of the most prestigious artists in the industry, including Grandmaster Flash, Mix Master Mike, Z-Trip, DJ Revolution, Q Bert, DJ Swamp, and Mr. Dibbs. Wicked is best known for his self released mixed CD's: "Got Milf?" (a collection of some the of best 80's pop, guilty pleasures that you hate to love), "Just Plain Terror" (a Halloween inspired mix from Hip-Hop's dark side), and "Fuck the Radio" (an Underground musical assault against watered down, mainstream rap music). Collaborations with Crooked I, 2MEX, Grayskul, and Boom Bap Project, have gained Wicked recognition from URB, SPIN, and The SOURCE magazine, and have led to Wicked's spotlight in the upcoming Street Artist Pictures documentary titled "God Damn That DJ Made My Day". Since returning home from the 2009 "Dazed N' Dirty" tour with Potluck and D12, DJ Wicked is once again hosting a number of DJ residencies in the Portland area (including the legendary "WICKED WEDNESDAYS"), as well as performing at clubs, concerts, and DJ events around the globe. Currently in the studio working on his next full-length release, DJ Wicked continues to maintain his reputation as the hardest working, most sought after DJ in the Northwest!
Rebecca Kilgore is an American jazz vocalist based in Portland, Oregon. She has been called "one of the best interpreters of the Great American Songbook."
Kilgore has performed with jazz pianist and composer Dave Frishberg, trombonist Dan Barrett, tenor saxophonist Harry Allen, and many other musicians.
In 2010 Kilgore was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame
"Richly engaging and utterly brilliant...a musical mind of rare sensitivity and vigor" - CD Hotlist.
Southern California jazz pianist Danny Green has earned recognition as a bandleader and as a composer with a gift for spinning supple, absorbing narratives. His enchanting mix of jazz, classical, and Brazilian rhythms has captured the attention of critics around the world, including DownBeat Magazine, Jazziz, the Boston Globe, and Public Radio International.
It's no wonder that Green, an Origin Records recording artist, won Best Jazz Artist at the 2018 San Diego Music Awards. His albums have twice received Best Jazz Album at the San Diego Music Awards, been included in several "Top 10" lists for best album releases, and remained on the Top 50 in Jazz Week charts for months. This year, Green celebrates his fifth release, One Day It Will.
His long-time trio includes bassist Justin Grinnell and drummer Julien Cantelm, noteworthy musicians in their own right, and together they have developed a nearly psychic connection as they perform Green's original tunes and jazz standards. Green takes listeners on a journey that is equal parts introspective and exuberant, and always compelling.
The Ben Fowler Quintet infuses modern jazz with a heavy dose of soul, blues, and gospel roots. For this debut performance at the Jack London Revue, the quintet is excited to present a diverse sound-scape, a musical tour of sorts, weaving in and out of familiar styles of the past and present within the jazz context. You'll get a taste of old-time gospel, New Orleans Second Line, hip-hop, hard-swinging Blue Note post-bop, the Nouveau Swing style of the 90s, and beyond. The band's debut release, The Pilgrimage, is available on CDbaby.com. In the band: Ben Fowler, Alto Saxophone Dan Gildea, Guitars Dave Fleschner, Organ, Piano, Rhodes Bill Athens, Basses Ken Ollis, Drums BIO: Ben grew up singing hymns in church. His dad and grandfather were both ministers. "There was a lot of fire and brimstone preaching back then, and it sort of permeated my world as a child", he recalls. He started playing alto saxophone in the 5th grade, and went on to receive numerous performance awards in high school and college jazz programs. By this point he got way into jazz, and found a way to channel that fire and brimstone energy of his youth into his music. He began honing his saxophone skills in multiple contexts simultaneously: blues, rock, funk, fusion, and straight ahead jazz. He went on to perform with, and learn from, some most excellent musicians and bands, including The Four Freshman, Billy Hart, Body & Soul, D.K. Stewart, Joey Porter, Andy Stokes, Jay "Bird" Koder, Leroy Vinegar, Tony Pacini, Mel Brown, Renato Caranto, Tall jazz, Randy Porter, Gary Hobbs, Thara Memory, Gordon Lee, Chris Brown, Rob Scheps, Margo Tufo, and Norman Sylvester. His playing is influenced by: Kenny Garrett, Joe Henderson, Stanley Turrentine, Wayne Shorter, David Sanborn, Johnny Hodges, and Miles Davis. Ben currently resides in Portland, OR. You can learn more about his current project on Facebook via the The Ben Fowler Quintet, page. Ben's debut release, The Pilgrimage, is available now on CDbaby.com or on your favorite streaming platforms.
The Blue Cranes
Since their formation in 2007, Blue Cranes have become a key player in the Portland, Oregon creative music/DIY scene and one of the most exciting groups to keep tabs on in the Northwest. They've developed a singular musical voice grounded in melody and explosive improvisations--marking off their unique microcosmic territory in post-jazz circles.
The members of the quintet--Reed Wallsmith on alto saxophone, Joe Cunningham on tenor saxophone, Rebecca Sanborn on keyboards, Jon Shaw on bass, and Ji Tanzer on drums--bring a unique array of experiences to their group-centered aesthetic, including work with AU, The Decemberists, Laura Veirs, Wayne Horvitz, Rebecca Gates, Laura Gibson, Ethan Rose, Pete Krebs, Black Prairie, and Portland Cello Project.
In June 2013, the band took an evolutionary step forward with the release of Swim, their fourth full-length album, on the Washington, D.C.-based Cuneiform Records. Swim is a departure from Blue Cranes' previous, and in some ways simpler, albums. Steered dutifully by producer Nate Query of The Decemberists, it is a window into the sometimes messy emotional space of a group struggling with and celebrating the ephemeralness of life. This work is the culmination of several between-album projects, including a 30-day crowd-sourced Amtrak train tour in 2011, and a seven day group composition retreat, supported in part by a grant from Portland's Regional Arts and Culture Council. However, the heart of Swim lies in indelibly profound life events--the passing away of two dear friends, a serious injury, two weddings, and the birth of a child--events at tragic and uplifting extremes, both cathartic and celebratory.
Wayne Horvitz's Sweeter than the Day
Formed in 1999, Sweeter than the Day began simply as the acoustic incarnation of Zony Mash. The band played a series of weekly shows at Seattle's Baltic Room (curated by Reggie Watts), and quickly became Wayne's Horvitz's first piano-based ensemble in over 10 years, and one of Wayne's longest-running groups, as well as one of his favorites. Despite the shared personnel, the ensemble is quite distinct from the electric Zony Mash and the Repertoire is almost entirely different. The band has toured throughout the US, Candada and Europe. Sweeter than the Day also presents double bills with Robin Holcomb, where it serves as Robin's backup band.