2010 Portland Jazz Festival
Brass Ecstasy includes players of major talent and voices and for me, was the high point of the festival. Every player ripped into their solos with majestic authority and power and turned the event into a festival all in itself. As impressive as the latest CD, Spirit Moves might be, it doesn't do justice to the actual spirit that comes roaring off the stage from these magnificent players. Luis Bonilla was a blur of epic proportions taking the trombone through the history of jazz at lightning speed while on tuba; Marcus Rojas continues to develop new possibilities in tone and color while never diminishing his power with his instrument. Vincent Chancey, like Bonilla is a former member of Lester Bowie's original Brass Fantasy but also spent time with the great visionary, Sun Ra. I was completely moved by his patience and sense of freedom in allowing the sound to grow and mature within the setting of the hall. Complete all-embracing intelligence realized through emotion and sound.
It's also worth noting the song selection in this set as it swung from Otis Redding's, "Mr. Pitiful" to Hank Williams, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." I'm not sure there is another drummer other than Nasheet Waits who could seamlessly reinvent himself stylistically and rhythmically tune after tune. What a force. Then there is Dave Douglas, the leader, innovator and creative architect who never ceases to surprise whether pushing through new territories or reinventing approaches to creative universes previously traveled.
This was a festival that will be long remembered and it's important to note that the time frame of the festival was with respect to February being Black History month. Without those previous innovators along with the spirit of African American culture, we wouldn't have festivals such as this to enjoy and appreciate. A sincere thanks should go to all those that made the Portland Jazz Festival such a great success!
Jordy Freed, Courtesy of DL Media