Hats off, including those floppy Renaissance berets, to Portland Opera for setting its first 21st-Century opera. A West Coast premiere, Philip Glass’s chamber opera, Galileo, appropriately was staged at the 880-seat Newmark Theatre, an intimate venue compared to PO’s usual place, the sprawling 2,992-seat Keller Auditorium. Read More
After jazz musician Wynton Marsalis watched the love duet “Spring Yaounde” in rehearsal, he tore up the music he’d written for that section of “Griot New York.”
The duet was the most beautiful dance he’d seen, Marsalis told Garth Fagan, “Griot’s” creator. And the third dance in the full-length piece, “Yaounde” features a novel kiss that travels from chin to mouth to forehead while dancers pull off leg extensions demanding Herculean off-center balancing. Marsalis was blown away. Read More
The Portland Jazz Festival brings a single dance event to its lineup when it joins with White Bird at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. Read More
Dee Dee Bridgewater, as huge a name in jazz vocals as Roy Haynes’ is in drumming, is doing more than headlining the 2012 Portland Jazz Festival.
She is honoring Lady Day, aka Billie Holiday, one of jazz’s pioneering singers and influences. Read More
Giacomo Puccini created stunning music and synched it precisely with unfolding drama. He drew characters with staying power — after he revised and revised. Even world-weary music critics love his work, and love it over again when the opera is well done. Madame Butterfly, winding up this week with final Portland Opera performances Thursday and Saturday at the Keller Auditorium, sold out both previous performances this week because the piece is among the best-known and beloved in the canon, but also because it has heartbreakingly lyrical music, a heartbreaking story — and because of Butterfly. She is a helluva character. She’s tough. She’s sweet. She’s complex. Read More
Peter Yarrow of the former culture-shaping Peter, Paul and Mary still sings, still protests, and still believes in music’s power to change the world. Read More
There was exuberance – the kind among families who all know the same joke — Saturday afternoon on the Crystal Ballroom. stage as the 3 Cohens lit up the big, airy Portland music space with their new-wave originals and updated standards. A new, and yet unnamed CD, will follow soon, and it was clear some of the pieces we heard came from that. Read More
How were we to know that Portland would be the first audience to hear SF JAZZ Collective’s interpretation of the great Stevie Wonder, who as vibes man Stefon Harris says, “played the sound track of my life.” Read More
Gary Houston has been hand-pulling silkscreen collectibles since he began Voodoo Catbox in 1995 in Portland. It was born from his 8-year-old graphic design and screen-￼printing business, so he was poised to find a place in the rock ‘n’ roll poster world. He doesn’t use a computer. He does everything by hand – from lettering to drawing to silk-screening. Many of his posters go for $30, but some bring in $450. He’s sold one piece for $600. The Chinese invented screen-printing 2000 years ago, he says, and nothing much about the craft has changed. He calls the work hands-on, physical, creative and romantic. “It’s leaving a little bit of history.” Read More
Portland’s long-lived and much-loved Nu Shooz has turned its band into an orchestra and its musical talents to its newly released CD, “Pandora’s Box,” a mix of tunes described as “James Bond meets James Brown.” Expect a lot more than that — including a honeyed version of the 1955 jazz standard, “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most.”
ndeed the recording is packed with surprises, musical leaps and 14 tunes, many originals by Nu Shooz’ songwriter John Smith, who happens to be lead singer Valerie Day’s husband. Day is the face and the voice of the two-decades-plus-old group, who burst on the scene with its breakthrough mid-‘80s hit, “I Can’t Wait.” An anniversary edition of that song is the final cut on the new CD.
I talked with Day to find out what’s up with the new and the old Shooz. Read More