Lucky for us, Bill Beach rose from the dead Benson Hotel's basement and went to Brazil.
This spring the pianist released his energetic Brasil Beat (yes, Brazilians spell it that way) on his label, Axial Records. Six of the 12 tracks feature Beach's breathy baritone-bass shaping original Portuguese lyrics. Cross-checked with Portuguese linguists, the lyrics are precisely articulated and beautifully phrased. Beach is a stickler for details and authenticity, as relaxed as his vocals sound. Read More
Portlander Ben Darwish and his quartet stepped it up a notch at the caramel-corn-scented Palace Theater as part of the Silverton Wine & Jazz Festival. If you missed this gig, you lost out on the most innovative of the day, though certainly the sexy mid-century couple of bass genius Glen Moore and the inimitable crooner/scatter/partner Nancy King, accompanied by pianist Dan Gaynor, attracted a way bigger crowd later in the evening. Read More
OK. Dr. Lonnie Smith and Gil Scott-Heron, even Nicholas Payton, reaped the lion's share of publicity for the Soul'd Out Music Festival continuing through this week in Portland. Read More
Mozart's music, as singers say, is medicine for the voice. Light, lyric, and a century ahead of its time with its compositional cohesiveness, the maestro's melodies shaped a full-throttle comedic "Cosi" in Portland. Read More
If you were hoping for a red-hot Latina performance at the Portland Jazz Festival's opener Thursday, you didn't get it. Read More
In patent-leather shoes and tails, every hair slicked into place, Max Raabe led two hours of wit, elegance and impeccably presented music from the '20s and '30s at Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Read More
Just when you think a Valentine’s date with the Oregon Symphony and glamorous jazz singer Dianne Reeves is shaping up to be utterly predictable and sentimental, the night throws in a few surprises. Read More
When Terence Blanchard, trumpet in hand, asked the Arlene Schnitzer audience to chime in on a chorus of “A Tale of God’s Will,” bassist Derrick Hodge smiled sweetly.There was little chance that the audience, as ardent as it was, could capture the deep emotion that New Orleans’ Blanchard did when he composed this music based on his hometown’s tragedy. Bets are, “A Tale of God’s Will” will stick around in the archives for years. Portlanders were truly lucky to hear it. Read More
When the harnessed “flying” dancer floated dreamily behind the blue scrim to signal the pearl harvest in a far-off country, we were invited into a visually arresting show of “The Pearl Fishers,” if not into the most compelling story. Read More
Opera, as the hype goes, promises high drama and grand emotions. Oddly, I can’t remember an opening night soaring to such heights when I take along a date.
I’ve reviewed the opera for a dozen years from the best seat in the house. I dis a few. But mostly I swoon, even over a warhorse, like Verdi’s “Otello” where a fat baritone writhes on the floor in deep emotional pain.
Once an opera-lover, always one. Read More