The goings-on at the Chiles Center today and tomorrow may or may not be known to the general University of Portland community, but the next few days will be a huge celebration and coming together of the jazz community around here. It’s that time of year again – the University of Portland Festival of Jazz – a two-day extravaganza of hot hot swing, oh-so-hip grooving, and that cool sound that is unmistakably… jazz. Sure, it’s no archbishop confirmation, but it’s just as awesome, not as crowded, and there will be more parking available (hopefully).
If you make your way to the Chiles center on Tuesday or Wednesday starting from 8 AM, you will see jazz’ next-generation perpetuating this made-in-America musical artform. Middle and high school stage bands and big bands from all around the Portland metro area will be showcasing what they’ve accomplished. It’s really an amazing thing to witness in my opinion. The solos are actual improvisation and some ensembles would really make me nervous if I was called to sub. Yes, these young guns are good! In addition to performing on the main festival stage, ensembles will be judged on their facility in sight reading a piece by a contributing jazz composer or arranger.
To wrap up each day of great jazz music, our own University of Portland Jazz Ensemble will be playing some tunes that will have you at the edge of your seat, scanning the audience for someone to swing dance with!
I encourage anyone who has the time to make it to the Chiles Center to invest some time and support in the next generation of find jazz musicians. If that doesn’t already tug at your heartstrings, just come out and support your peers In our jazz ensemble. You’ll come in wondering what this is all about and leave knowing with certainty that you made the right choice. I’m sure of it!