Cathedral Park Jazz Festival July 19-21

Heart-stopping rhythms. Soulful voices. Pulsating beats. All can be enjoyed at the 44th-annual Cathedral Park Jazz Festival returning to North Portland the weekend of July 19-21.

The event is the longest-running free annual jazz festival west of the Mississippi River and Portland’s oldest music event. The Jazz Society of Oregon sponsors the yearly concert on the grassy slopes of Cathedral Park beneath the St. Johns Bridge.

The four-piece Jr. T Blues Band with Tevis Hodge Jr. kicks off the festival from 4:30-5:30 pm, Friday, July 19. Johnny Wheels and the Swamp Donkeys top off the evening from 9-10 pm with a fusion of blues, soul, jazz and rock. On Saturday, the AJAM Student Ensemble opens with straight-ahead jazz from 1-2 pm. Tyrone Hendrix & the PDX Soul Collective will be the headliner at 8:30-9:45 pm.

The five acts on Sunday include the Yugen Music Project from 1-2pm, the Mel Brown’s B-3 Organ Group playing between 5:30-6:30 pm, and Jujuba Nigerian-American Afrobeat concluding at 7-8 pm.

See a brief schedule for the event below. More details are available in the pull-out the four-page insert starting on page 7 of the North Peninsula Review.

Friday, July 19:

  • 4:30pm-5:30pm – The four-piece Jr. T Blues Band with Tevis Hodge, plays an eclectic mix of Piedmont, Delta, Texas, urban and country blues, jug band, jazz, and folk music.
  • 6pm -7pm – the soulful R&B band, Fenix Rising led by saxophonist/blues vocalist Fenix Sanders, has performed weekly for nearly 20 years at Portland’s Blue Diamond.
  • 7:30pm-8:30pm – Ms. Vee and a Badass Band, led by singer, musician, writer and comedienne, Valyria Lewis and under the direction of jake Koprowski, will play a Soul Blues-Souther Soul sound that marries soul, funk, and R&B. Ms Vee has won numerous awards in the US and internationally.
  • 9pm-10pm – The five-member band of singer/songwriter/harmonica player Johnny Wheels and the Swamp Donkeys plays Blues blended with R&B, soul, jazz, funk and rock. A childhood accident that left Wheels paralyzed from the neck down did not deter him from pursuing his love of music.
Ms. Vee and the Badass Band

Saturday, July 20:

  • 1pm-2pm – Junior Slam AJAM Band will play straight-ahead jazz (genre of jazz that developed in the 1960s, with roots in the prior two decades). The seven-member band, led by Kiran Raphael, is part of The Alan Jones Academy of Music, a private music education institution for all ages in Portland, founded by drummer, composer, and Berklee alumni Alan Jones. 
  • 2:30pm-3:30pm – Alan Jones’ Social Music Born in Portland, drummer/composer Jones started touring in Europe at age 16 with Amsterdam-based organist Count Dutch. Jones has recorded with international stars like Kenny Wheeler and Lee Konitz, as well as local Portland legends such as Jim Pepper and Ralph Towner.
  • 4pm-5pm – Jazz singer and composer Lauren “Lo” Steele incorporates soul, gospel, blues and modern R&B and will sing original songs from her first album, “Happy Girl”.
  • 5:30pm – 6:30pm – Cojunto Berretin is a group of top tango musicians, playing traditional Argentine tangos, milongas, and valses for social dancing. Among its members are some of Portland’s top jazz musicians, members of the Oregon Symphony, and Tango Berretin founder/dancer/teacher, Alex Krebs. The group has performed at tango festivals across the country and has released seven albums.
  • 7pm-8pm – Onion, an instrumental quintet creates an orchestrated jazz fusion sound of original compositions with layers of jazz, rock, hip-hop, and funk, inspired by groups like Return to Forever.
  • 8:30pm – 9:45pm – Tyrone Hendrix & the PDX Soul Collective: Innovative drummer/multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Tyrone Hendrix, cousin of Jimi, blends soul, funk, and jazz. Hendrix performed with artists, such as Prince and Stevie Wonder.
Lauren "Lo" Steele, jazz singer, composer, and actress will perform at the Jazz Festival.
Lauren “Lo” Steele, jazz singer, composer, and actress
will perform at the Jazz Festival.

Sunday, July 21:

  • 1pm-2pm the Yugen Rashad Soul Jazz Project, led by self-taught musician and award-winning Portland broadcaster Rashad, who performs from behind his keyboard while playing bass with his left hand emphasizes improvisation.
  • 2:30pm-3:30pm Internationally renowned jazz pianist and multi-instrumentalist, composer, teacher and bandleader George Colligan will play with his trio, featuring Zyanna (new vocalist).
  • 4pm – 5pm – Bobby Torres Ensemble, led by percussionist, songwriter, session musician and record producer Torres, who toured for 10 years with Tom Jones, then formed his own Latin jazz group in Portland.
  • 5:30pm-6:30pm – Mel Brown B-3 Organ Group will perform a Tribute to Les McCann. Nearly every member of the group led by Portland’s own “Gentleman of Jazz” Brown played with the late McCann.
Mel Brown's B3 Organ Group
Mel Brown’s B3 Organ Group will perform on Sunday, July 21