38th Annual Cathedral Park Free Jazz Festival in Portland
Announces Performance Schedule and Lineup for July 20-22, 2018
By Chris Lazarus, Chris Lazarus Associates
Portland, Oregon, May 1, 2018 – The Jazz Society of Oregon’s Cathedral Park Jazz Festival (CPJF) has announced its lineup of jazz, blues, R&B and soul performances for the three-day free event, Friday, July 20, Saturday July 21, and Sunday July 22, 2018, held in Cathedral Park under the historic St Johns Bridge in Portland.
“This is the 38 th consecutive year of the festival, which was started by a group of volunteers looking to commemorate the construction of spectacular Cathedral Park – one of the city’s most beautiful settings,” said Rita Rega, CPJF artistic director. “It has evolved into a celebration of Portland’s diverse music scene. It’s an ‘old Portland’ hang where everyone is welcome because it’s still free and still run by volunteers. It is also the longest-running community event in the Greater Portland area.”
In all, 15 jazz and blue bands will be performing. Youth groups open each day of the festival.
Friday afternoon and evening performances feature some of Portland’s top blues artists, including Norman Sylvester, Reggie Houston, Timothy James, and the NW Women Rhythm
Saturday is a showcase for the women of the Portland jazz community, featuring five female-led groups from the big band of Jessika Smith to the country swing of Becky Kilgore.
Sunday opens with a young jazz guitar hero and ends with a tribute to Ray Charles.
The CPJF planning committee is still looking for community sponsors and volunteers to fill a variety of positions. Sponsors may contact the festival planning committee by emailing
email@example.com. Also check Jazz Oregon website sponsorship page.
Volunteers may sign up by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or register to volunteer online.
3-day performance schedule
Friday, July 20
5:00pm: Timothy James and the Portland Blues Revival – Strong vocals, instrumentals and arrangements got this talented group of young artists to the prestigious International Blues
Competition in Memphis in January this year.
6:00 pm: Reggie Houston – Former long-time band leader for Fats Domino and Charmaine Neville, Houston is a world-class artists of Blues, New Orleans Jazz and R&B.
7:30 pm: NW Women Rhythm and Blues – Sonny Hess brings together a powerful band of award-winning NW performers, including Joanne Broh, Lady Kat, Leah Hinchcliff, Kathryn Grimm and Kelly Pierce.
9:00 pm: Norman Sylvester Band, featuring Lenanne Miller & Renato Caranto – Show-stopping energy from Oregon Music Hall of Fame member, multiple CBA Muddy Award-winning, Norman “Boogie Cat” Sylvester and his 6-piece band.
Finale sees Timothy James and Taylor Newville join the “old dogs”.
Saturday, July 21
1:00 pm: Roosevelt High School Jazz Band under the direction of Jason Margolis.
2:30 pm: Becky Kilgore & the Cowhands (presented by JoBar)- Nationally recognized interpreter of the Great American Songbook, Kilgore brings her playful approach to Western swing and country with a taste of gypsy jazz. James Mason on fiddle, Doc Stein on Hawaiian steel guitar, Pete Lampe on upright bass.
4pm: Jessika Smith Big Band – Composer, saxophonist and music educator, Smith was lead alto saxophonist in the award-winning Oregon Jazz Ensemble and has performed at the Montreux, Vienne, Umbria and La Spezia jazz festivals. Here she has hand-picked 17 outstanding musicians from around the Northwest to fuel her powerhouse big band.
5:30pm: Catarina New & Brazilian Touch – Swedish-born saxophonist and vocalist, Catarina New’s sound is a perfect match for Brazil’s sultry Bossa Nova beat. Performing with her are some of Portland’s top Latin musicians, including her husband-percussionist Al Martin and Cuban born electric bassist Al Criado.
7pm: Quadraphonnes – This all-female saxophone quartet delivers both the sweetest harmonies and the hottest dance music. Spirited playing and dynamic vocals break all the boundaries of the usual sax quartet.
8:30pm: Tahira Memory – Following in the footsteps of her Grammy-winning father, Thara Memory, vocalist and band leader Tahira Memory is one of the most popular vocalists to come out of Portland. She has been praised as having “a love for old Soul, an open ear for all music, and a respect for current Rhythm & Blues.”
Sunday, July 22
1pm: Enzo Irace – Young composer-arranger, jazz guitarist and student of Dan Balmer.
2:30 pm: Under the Lake: On the heels of their success at this year’s PDX Jazz Festival, Under The Lake will satisfy those fans of funk, neo-soul and jazz with their groove and attitude. The 6-member group has four internationally-distributed albums.
4pm: Randy Porter Trio with Nancy King – Portland’s Randy Porter and Nancy King were both nominated for Grammys again this year and are two of the country’s best improvisers. They will take us on a trip through the music of Cole Porter, sampling the material from the recent release, “Porter Plays Porter”
5:30pm: David Evans Quartet – Portland saxophonist and clarinetist David Evans has shared the bandstand with Pete Fountain, B.B. King and Mose Allison, among others, but here he will lead his own quartet, including Randy Porter (piano), Tim Gilson (bass) and Charlie Doggett (drums).
7pm: Remembering Ray- Something audiences won’t experience anywhere else, this tribute to Ray Charles, “the father of Soul” is led by soul singer, Sean Holmes, and backed by Ray Charles sideman, saxophonist Dan Wilensky and organist King Louis.
Background – Cathedral Park Jazz Festival
This year marks the 38 th consecutive year of the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, which has been managed for the past five years by the Jazz Society of Oregon.
“This is a free, non-profit festival that provides the best jazz, blues, R&B and soul music from around the region to the greater Portland/Vancouver community,” said Rega. “In fact, the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival is both the longest-running free annual jazz festival west of the Mississippi – and Portland’s longest-running annual community event.”
About the Jazz Society of Oregon
The Jazz Society of Oregon is an all-volunteer non-profit organization 501(c)(3) whose mission is to promote the local jazz scene in Portland and the rest of Oregon. The Society supports jazz education, as well as fostering a greater appreciation of this thoroughly American art form. Information on the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, including news on sponsorships, poster contest, volunteer opportunities and talent, can be found at Jazz Oregon.