‘Jazz Fest’ returns to Montavilla

Find out what’s in store, as this weekend-long music festival gets underway on August 20 …

A sellout crowd enjoys a performance during the 2015 Montavilla Jazz Festival, held in outer East Portland at Portland Metro Arts. East Portland News archive image

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

When a group of Montavilla residents decided to host a festival of jazz music three years ago, many were skeptical about its potential for success.

Even some of the organizers wondered if they could accomplish their goal of establishing a top-notch music festival in their outer East Portland neighborhood.

> To read our coverage of the first Montavilla Jazz Festival,
held at MilePost5: CLICK HERE.

“While we were putting together our first festival, there were times we had doubts about the effort,” acknowledged Managing Director Fritz Hirsch.

“But now we have a lot of it dialed-in; thanks to a great volunteer group that is growing faster than ever,” Hirsch said.

> To see the story about the 2015 event, CLICK HERE.

Tina Granzo and Montavilla Jazz Festival Managing Director Fritz Hirsch talk up this year’s event during the 2016 Montavilla Street Fair.

Talking up this year’s event, Hirsch said that four things make the Montavilla Jazz Festival unique:

  • It’s community-based, put on by local people who live in the Montavilla neighborhood, with a neighborhood festival feel, and it is a project of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association;
  • The festival features top-notch Portland area musicians;
  • It makes the music accessible, offering up creative progressive jazz for a wide audience to enjoy; and,
  • It’s affordable, at $10 to $25 (sliding scale) per-day pass; kids 12 and under are free.

 

A total of twelve acts will be performing at this year’s festival on Saturday and Sunday, August 20 and 21, starting at 1:00 p.m. and ending at 9:30 p.m. each day.

 

Performing both days at this year’s festival is headliner George Colligan. Performer-provided promotional image

“What’s new this year is that, unlike past festivals, our ‘headliner’, George Colligan, will be appearing for both nights, playing in two different sets,” Hirsch told East Portland News.

“In one of the sets, world renowned New York City based musicians Boris Kozlov and Rudy Royston will jam with George Colligan; during the other, he’ll sit in with some of the best Portland musicians, with the Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble,” explained Hirsch.

It’s also noteworthy, Hirsch added, that a portion proceeds goes to the Montavilla Schools Music Fund, which makes small grants to Montavilla neighborhood public schools to further music education. “We have funded three such school music programs this year,” he commented.

Promoting the 2016 Montavilla Jazz Festival at the Montavilla Farmers Market are Sharon White and Suzanne Bader.

This music festival isn’t just for the well-to-do, Hirsch pointed out. “We’re partnering with Arts for All, so every person who presents an Oregon Trail Card can buy up to two one-day tickets for only $5 each.”

And, like last year, there is a student stage outdoors, where young jazz artists perform throughout the day. Food and beverage (including alcoholic beverages) will be available for purchase.

“And this year, there’s a ‘jam session’ happening on Saturday night, after the program concludes, at East Glisan Pizza, on NE Glisan Street at NE 80th Avenue,” Hirsch pitched.

Laura Dreyer, with Batida Diferente, will play Brazilian jazz standards and originals with an exciting jazz twist. Photo by Kendra Heisler

General admission day passes are available for purchase only at the box office during festival hours on both days. Passes are $10-$25 on a sliding scale.

To see the stellar lineup of talent, hours and more, see their official website: CLICK HERE. Or, check out their Facebook page: CLICK HERE.

You may want to come early, last year’s festival was a sell-out. You’ll find them grooving on cool jazz at Portland Metro Arts, 9003 SE Stark Street, 97216, Saturday and Sunday, August 20 and 21.

>> On our FRONT PAGE: The Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble plays during the 2015 Montavilla Jazz Festival. Photo by Aaron Hayman

© 2016 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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