Bill Royston: The History of a Festival
AAJ: Let's talk about the 2010 festival coming up in February. What can we expect?
Don Lucoff, Portland Jazz Festival Managing Director
BR: Just re-reading the first portion of this interview from ten months ago, I have to laugh at my comments about never working with a deficit. We confronted our first deficit after the Blue Note festival, but we spent five months creatively resolving it and now moving forward. The management priority for 2010 was to find new leadership, and we've brought in Don Lucoff, an old friend from back east. Don knows jazz and he knows the business. If nothing else, there's another jazz-head in the office! We have put together a new team that has taken a lot of the pressure off of me.
Artistically, this may very well be it for me, but I had one more project in mind. I want to explore the new music coming from Scandinavia, and especially Norway. We've taken our title from Stuart Nicholson's book, Is Jazz Dead (Or Has It Moved to a New Address)? (Routledge, 2005). The question is rhetorical. Of course, jazz is very much alive, but it has spread globally and Americans need to recognize that. This is no longer just America's music. How could it be? As a culture, we have stopped supporting the art form, but in other areas like parts of Asia and Europe along with Central America it has been embraced with regional and cultural stylization. That's what jazz is.
Programmatically, we're hopefully creating a point-counterpoint, presenting such Norwegian artists as Christian Wallumrod, Trygve Seim, Frode Haltli, and the trio In The Country along side such great American masters as Dave Holland, Pharoah Sanders, Dave Douglas, and others.
As in the past, there will be outreach events to address the question along with Jazz Conversation with most of the major artists, plus school performances celebrating Black History Month and dozens of free performances showcasing regional artists. In the future, my role will decrease but I'm more optimistic that the Portland Jazz Festival will continue.
Page 2: Guri Dahl, courtesy of In The Country
Page 3: Courtesy of Trygve Seim
Page 4: Tyler Olson, courtesy of Christian Wallumrød
Page 5: Jimmy Katz
Page 6: Mike Zacchino, courtesy of The Oregonian